Published Monday, October 31, 2011 AT 6:04 PM / Updated at 6:22 PM
Huskers get their Blackshirts
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Nearly two dozen Nebraska defenders found black practice jerseys in their lockers right before Monday’s practice.

The NU coaching staff told the players after Saturday’s 24-3 win that they’d earned their Blackshirts. They wore them for the first time Monday.

Unofficially, the count stands at 20 — though that number has not been confirmed by the coaches, who are normally vague when discussing their approach to the Blackshirt tradition anyway.

Among those wearing black after practice Monday were four defensive ends, Cameron Meredith, Jason Ankrah, Josh Williams and Eric Martin; three defensive tackles, Baker Steinkuhler, Chase Rome and Terrence Moore; three linebackers, Lavonte David, Will Compton and Sean Fisher; three safties, Austin Cassidy, P.J. Smith and Daimion Stafford; and five other defensive backs, Alfonzo Dennard, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Andrew Green, Lance Thorell and Justin Blatchford. Thad Randle, out with a knee injury, reportedly earned a Blackshirt. As did Ciante Evans, who left Saturday’s game with an injury.

Got all that?

Traditionally, black jerseys go exclusively to the first-team defense, but it’s clear this season that Nebraska’s relying on more than just 11 guys.

As always, the Husker players spoke reverently about the Blackshirts as they talked to reporters after practice.

>>> Said David: “It’s an honor. But it was earned. We’ve got to stay with it.”

>>> And Dennard: “I feel like we’ve got to earn the Blackshirts because that’s a statement. If he gave it to us early in the season and we’re not doing a very good job, it really wouldn’t mean anything.”

>>> And Jean-Baptiste: “It’s overwhelming. … It’s a big deal on the defense. Looking at other people who don’t have it and how they feel — I know they want one. It’s a big deal having one.”

>>> And Thorell: “Once I finally did see it, the feeling that I had was tremendous. The tradition that’s behind this shirt, I couldn’t have been more happy.”

>>> Both Cassidy and Compton tweeted photos of their black jerseys before Monday’s practice.

We’ll have more on the Blackshirts in Tuesday’s edition of The World-Herald.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: He welcomes feedback.


  1. power OF red says:


    1. UltimaRatioRegum says:

      They need to play that at the game Saturday – that would be so perfect.

  2. Nick G. says:

    Did Crick get one? He may not be an active player, but he deserves one for a being a leader.

  3. Bryan says:

    If we do not overlook a capable (even though only 3-5) Northwestern sqaud, We should be able to finish the season at 11-1 and be playing for the B1G 10 Championship Game. With leaders like Dennard on the field and Crick on the sidelines, I beileve that they will manage to keep the other guys from getting a big head with their new found Black Shirts. My confidence is growing with each passing week now. I do believe that our D earned their Black Shirts with that very impressive showing over Sparty. Keep the fire burning guys. GO BIG RED!!!!

  4. The Big Red One says:

    Am I the only one that thinks this is premature? I understand carrot & stick motivation as well as anyone…The MSU game was the first sincere effort against a ranked team the defense has posted in so long I can’t remember the last time they did. The first Washington game last year maybe?…One defensive showing does not a Blackshirt make….

    Lets hope last week wasn’t a fluke…Otherwise the “Blackshirts” & the coaching staff are going to have a lot of egg on their faces..