As key Husker DBs get healthy, Fisher says he ‘couldn’t be more proud’ of the group. He’s got a competition on his hands, too

Nebraska cornerback Braxton Clark (17) tackles Purdue wide receiver Amad Anderson during the first half in November 2019 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

All the way back in September 2018, late in Michigan’s colossal 56-10 beat-down of Nebraska in Ann Arbor, secondary coach Travis Fisher had a somewhat peculiar concern about putting then-true freshman Braxton Clark in his first game.

Fisher worried that Clark would come down with an interception right away.

“What I wanted for (Clark) was to have them run the ball his way and get his first hit,” Fisher said then. “I wanted a tackle first. I didn’t really want him to try to go get a pick because that’s probably what he’d go do, but I wanted him to make a tackle and let him see how it feels and get his juices flowing that way.”


Two years later, against Northwestern last fall, redshirt freshman safety Myles Farmer saw his first extensive action in the secondary for Nebraska and logged a pair of picks in the first half alone.

What must Fisher have thought of that?

“He wanted three,” Fisher said with a laugh on Wednesday. “He wanted three real bad.”

That never materialized for the young safety, though. Farmer played sparingly over the next couple of weeks and then suffered a serious injury in warmups on the field at Purdue on Dec. 5.

“That was his game,” Fisher lamented of the ill-timed injury. “It was his game to play more than probably the other guys that had started, if not the same amount of reps. That was the plan, he knew it, and that was what bothered me most when he got hurt in pregame.

“He’s fine now, spirits are great now.”

Both Clark and Farmer are well past rookie status now. They each find themselves in similar situations this spring, getting back into the swing of things following injuries. Clark’s 2020 never got off the ground at all after he suffered a preseason shoulder injury that cost him the entire campaign.

“(Farmer)’s been here every single day. He’s been great. He’s been great in his rehab, he’s back running around,” Fisher said. “Just seeing Myles come a long way. First we didn’t see him at all, then we saw him on special teams, then we see him in a game get two interceptions in a game. He’s just been grinding. He’s still the same way and he still has that same attitude.”

Redshirt freshman Javin Wright, too, is working back from a knee injury that cost him all of 2020.

Farmer’s role was blossoming at the time he went down. Fisher said Clark would have had a role and might even have pushed for a starting job at corner. Wright? He would have played a lot of snaps, too, according to the fourth-year secondary coach.

All of that adds up to an extensive infusion of competition for playing time. The only obvious full-time job that’s open is a cornerback spot opposite standout junior Cam Taylor-Britt, the competition for which is likely to feature Clark, junior Quinton Newsome, sophomore Nadab Jospeh and freshman Tamon Lynum.

“Those guys are competing and sometimes you say Cam Taylor-Britt (has a job) and they’re competing for one spot. No. They’re competing for both spots,” Fisher said. “We’ve got to make Cam Taylor better by competing against Cam Taylor.”

Fisher lauded the work of junior college transfer Joseph, an early arriver to the facility who “worked his butt off” over the winter, and he also is high on Lynum and midyear enrollee Marques Buford, too. 

At safety, Farmer and fellow redshirt freshman Noa Pola-Gates will try to push seniors Marquel Dismuke and Deontai Williams, while Wright and freshman Isaac Gifford could see time at safety or behind JoJo Domann at Sam/nickel linebacker.

Fisher, then, has an enviable situation to work with this spring. He must replace senior Dicaprio Bootle, but he’s got three starters back, three experienced players getting toward healthy and young talent to turn loose. Not only that, but it’s clear he likes the group’s approach.

“These guys are so close in the DB room. I couldn’t be more proud of how close they are,” Fisher said. “I’ve probably got 15-16 guys in my office during the day, hanging out, watching film. …

“They’ve watched practice three or four times before it’s time to watch practice, which is a good thing.”