Dennard ready to lead secondary

Senior cornerback Alfonzo Dennard knows the time for him to step up and lead the secondary is now.

As Nebraska begins practicing tomorrow, there are not many questions about the Huskers defense.

Up front, Jared Crick is not only the Big Ten's best defensive tackle, but also possibly the countries best. At linebacker, Lavonte David figures to build on a 152-tackle season – proving he is one of the best in the nation.

Then there is Alfonzo Dennard. Often considered one of the top cornerbacks in the country, yet often talked about the least out of the Nebraska big three.

Dennard decided to forgo the NFL this spring, returning for his senior year. Now senior is working on his leadership skills, as he has taken the reins of captain of the secondary.

"I'm trying to be a leader in the secondary like Prince was," said Dennard. "It will feel pretty bad (not having former teammates out there). I looked up to Prince. I looked to DeJon, I looked up to Hagg. I'm losing brothers out there. Everybody has to go on though.

"People think our secondary is not going to be very good, with guys graduating and everything. I think guys are going to step up."

So what has the cornerback been working on this off-season?

"My technique and getting my hands off the receiver," said the All-American candidate. "Last year, I tried to be physical and push guys out of bounds and stuff. With the Big Ten, it's going to be different – they will throw a flag. "It's hard to break that habit. But now it's a whole different ball game."

"I think the Big Ten has some pretty talented receivers, that I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Dennard admits that its taken extra work studying this season for his new opponents. In the Big 12, they had seen receivers multiple times through the years. Now everything is new.

"I'm trying to win a National Championship. It's all I'm thinking about right now. After that, our goal is to win the Big Ten.

"It's going to be a tough schedule, but Coach Bo says, they have to play us as well."

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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