Video: Been a long journey for Cassidy

Senior Austin Cassidy ran with the opportunity he was given last year, collecting 40 tackles in his last seven games.

Lincoln, NE – Senior safety Austin Cassidy has been through a lot in his college career at Nebraska. The firing of Bill Callahan, Big 12 Championships, and now the jump to the Big Ten Conference.

A major special teams contributor in 2009, the Lincoln Southwest product got his big chance midway through last season.

The coaching staff inserted Cassidy into the starting lineup for the Missouri game and the junior at the time ran with the opportunity. In his first two starts, he collected 18 tackles and one interception. By the end of the season, Cassidy was a key component on one of the nation's best defenses.

With five seniors graduating from last year's squad with major experience, now Cassidy is being called upon again. This time, more on the leadership role.

"I really haven't changed what I do, but I have tried to make a point to communicate with the young guys, giving them tips," said Cassidy. "I really just make it a point that we are all communicating, not as a 1st or 2nd team group, but also with the guys learning it below us – some day they are going to be in the same position."

Just five practices into the season, Cassidy is facing stiff competition from underclassmen. A total of six to seven players figure to be competing for the two safety spots.

"In practice we have a good time with it," said Cassidy. "It's a healthy competition, we are all friends, nobody takes anything to personally.

"All those younger guys, they really want to play. They have had a year off, either being on the scout team or not playing in any competitive games. I really think they are ready to put the pads back on and get back out there. Nothing is set in stone for anyone."

A former walk-on before 2010, Cassidy was an all-state quarterback at Lincoln Southwest – leading them to a 14-1 record as a senior in 2006.

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