Senior P.J. Smith and sophomore Harvey Jackson are engaged in a neck-and-neck race for the starting job at the safety position opposite Daimion Stafford.
The battle is too close to call, Nebraska secondary coach Terry Joseph said after Monday's practice.
"I think those guys have really pushed each other to the limit," Joseph said. "Nobody's outdoing the other, (and) nobody's outworking the other. I think those two have really stepped up to the challenge, probably more so than the corners, in my opinion."
Asked to expand on that thought, Joseph said, "Those guys have answered the bell. Those guys have really said, 'You're not taking my job.' But it's been a friendly competition."
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Jackson is more athletic than Smith (also 6-2, 210), Joseph said, but Smith is the savvy veteran who knows the tricks of the trade.
Meanwhile, no fewer than five corners are in the hunt for starting jobs.
"It's still the same," Joseph said. "Nobody has really stepped forward. But I still think we have five guys who can play."
He said it's time to start having practice repetitions reflect playing time in a game.
"Tomorrow or the next day, we'll start locking it down a little bit."