August 15, 2009

Blue still bouncing back from knee injury

By his own admission, Anthony Blue is still shaking off some of the rust that comes with sitting out a season because of injury.

The sophomore cornerback from Cedar Hill, Texas, redshirted in 2008 after undergoing surgery for a knee injury that occurred during winter conditioning after his freshman season.

Blue feels fine physically, but said he needs to shore up the mental side of his game during preseason workouts.

"It's been mental errors on my part - me not focusing at the beginning of practice, but picking up toward the end," Blue said. "I need to come out focused right away. Instead of having to mess up and have the coach get on me to get it going, I just have to turn it on myself."

Blue, who earned Freshman All-Big 12 Conference honors in 2007, is expected to compete for playing time in 2009 with juniors Anthony West, Prince Amukamara and fellow sophomore Alfonzo Dennard.

"I feel like I'm in the mix, but we're all out here working hard," Blue said. "Everyone has to keep pushing. Nothing's guaranteed. People are getting hurt, people are coming back and freshmen are coming up."

Nebraska secondary coach Marvin Sanders said Blue is one of several cornerbacks getting reps with the top two units during fall camp.

"Right now, I'm kind of rotating about five or six guys through the ones and the twos," Sanders said of his cornerbacks. "The good thing is we have some options. We have enough guys at that position with some young guys like Andrew Green and (Justin Blatchford) that we can rotate through and really create a competitive environment."

As a freshman, Blue played in 12 games, including starts against Kansas State and Colorado. He underwent his surgery in March 2008, but actually returned to the practice field in October.

Husker coaches decided at that time to redshirt Blue and preserve a full year of eligibility. Sanders said Blue is progressing as a player and showing no physical after effects of the injury and subsequent surgery.

"Anthony Blue has made some progress," Sanders said. "I think he can feel the confidence in his knee. Now, he's just playing football instead of worrying about his knee and the injury. That's something that's tough to come back from, but he's progressing as we continue to go."

Blue said he believes his most valuable asset as a football player is his willingness and desire to be coached.

"I listen to the coaches and do what the coaches tell me - full speed and 100 percent," Blue said. "Athletically, I don't have a lot of strength or quickness. I'm pretty slow, actually. I'm just physical. I like to tackle."

Blue noted that he and his fellow defensive players on the Husker roster are feeling more comfortable this year in fall camp than they did in 2008 because they have a better understanding of what their coaches expect of them.

"Everything's going smooth. We know what to expect. We know every time we come in, it's time to work hard," Blue said. "The team's looking good. I feel like we're going to be strong defensively. We have big goals as DBs. As far as our part, if we do our assignments and not worry about everything else, because everybody else should be taking care of their assignments, we should be strong defensively."

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