It has been 13 years since the University of Nebraska has won a conference championship. They won the Big 12 Conference in 1999, and since then went 0-3 in Big 12 Championship games, then failed to make it to Indianapolis, for the inaugural Big 10 Championship Game. A lot of sites tell you what each player needs to do, here is what the Husker Coaching Staff, will have to do to get to Indianapolis, and win.
Defensive Back Coach
1st Year at Nebraska
Terry Joseph enters his first season in Lincoln, and has already made waves. He pulled Alabama native Jonathan Cook to Nebraska, and has landed Auburn cornerback transfer, Jonathan Ross from the Tigers. As Nebraska fans know all to well, recruiting ability is not everything. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini stated at Big 10 Media Days, he did not love his secondary last season. With the addition of Mohammad Seisay, the secondary should be improved. The problem is, the other cornerback spot is still a giant question mark. It will be Joseph’s job to turn that question mark into a exclamation mark.
I am excited to see what Joseph can do to help the development of Daimion Stafford. The 6-foot-1 senior, could be the key to the 2012 defense. He is a junior college transfer in his second season in Lincoln, and made huge strides at the end of last season. He is also the only proven safety in Nebraska’s defensive backfield.
If Joseph can develop a cornerback on the other side of Seisay, and find a solid safety opposite Stafford, Nebraska’s secondary could see huge improvement.
2nd Year at Nebraska
Ros Els may have most work ahead of him in 2012. Yes Nebraska has three senior at each linebacker spot. The challenge is to build up the 5 talented freshmen behind those three seniors.
The biggest question mark is, who will step in if senior middle linebacker Will Compton gets hurt. Compton has been a staple in Nebraska’s defense for three straight seasons in Lincoln, and has done so with out being seriously injured. He will be the glue that holds this defense together. It will be Els’ job to make sure that the defense doesn’t take a step back if Compton goes down, and build a guy to take control of the defense in 2013.
Els’ has landed FanSided 150 linebacker Josh Banderas, and still has several top talented prospects he is recruiting.
If El’s can coach a freshman to be his coach on the field, like Compton has become, Nebraska future will be very bright.
Defensive Line Coach
1st Year at Nebraska
Coach Kacz comes to Nebraska from the schools boarder rival, Iowa. Kaczenski has developed, and placed several guys in the NFL during his time at Iowa. He comes in looking to fix the main problem that Nebraska has faced on defense in the last 5 years under Bo Pelini. How to stop a mobile quarterback. Nebraska has not had an elite pass rusher on the outside since Adam Carriker in 2006. It will be Kaczenski’s job to develop a defensive end who can get after the quarterback, or at least keep a running quarterback contained.
He will have three senior defensive ends to work with, and then a group of talented underclassmen. The biggest question mark going into the 2012 season is can Nebraska find a defensive end that can contain continuously. I think under the tottalige of Kaczenski Nebraska can find that guy.
Kaczenski has received a commitment from multi-talented, four star defensive end, Christian Lacouture. The 6-foot-5, 270 lb. Texas native could come in and be that elite pass rusher down the road for the Huskers. If Kaczenski can not get that defensive end position figured out this year, it could be a long season for the Huskers.
Barney Cotton & John Garrison
Co-Offensive Line Coaches
Combined 9 years at Nebraska
Maybe the toughest coaching job on the entire team, falls on Cotton and Garrison. In the last two weeks, four star prospects Ryan Klachko, and Tyler Moore have left the program. This leaves some pretty blank spots at the tackle position. It will be Cotton, and Garrison’s job to mold a couple young players into a rotation that will be the key to the Nebraska offense’s success.
The Huskers enter the season with a first year center in Cole Pensik, and two former walk on players in the starting rolls. Seung Hoon Chooi, Spencer Long , will be the starting guards for Nebraska. Both have been awarded scholarships, and both saw significant playing time last season.
There is a lot of talent behind the starters, but it is raw talent. There is a lack of playing time behind the starting five, but it will be Cotton, and Garrison’s job to get the younger linemen ready. A couple names to look out for are Nick Ash, and Brent Qvale.
Tight End Coach
1 Year at Nebraska
Marrow has already proven to be one of the best recruiters on the staff. He has landed four prospects for the 2013 class. One being Marcus McWilson, one of the top defensive backs in the country.
Marrow inherits two of the best tight ends in the country. Seniors Kyler Reed, and Ben Cotton, are the best tight end combination in the Big Ten. Reed is so athletic he has seen time at slot receiver this fall. Cotton is the perfect combination of power and speed. Having both of these guys on the field at the same time will be a huge benefit for the Husker offense.
The biggest challenge facing Marrow is, to develop anyone behind Cotton and Reed. There is a lack of depth at the tight end position. Although he has landed some very talented recruits verbal commitments, only one of those players is a tight end. The Huskers will need to add another tight end to this class.
Wide Receiver Coach
2nd Year at Nebraska
Fisher gets an A+ for his first season in Lincoln. He helped develop Nebraska’s young receivers into the best receiving core in the Big 10, and maybe one of the best in the country. His biggest challenge is getting everyone playing time. With burners on the outside like Jamal Turner and Kenny Bell, and solid possession receivers in Quincy Enunwa, and Tim Marlowe, playing time will be limited. The wide receiver rotation in Lincoln, will be one of the on going story line of the 2012 season.
The one wildcard will be Taariq Allen. Allen is a redshirt freshman who is 6-foot-3, 220 lb. He is the big body receiver Nebraska has not had since 2006. He was recently carted off the field at practice, but Pelini said he will be back before the end of fall camp.
Fisher has a stable full of horses, and they are all ready to run, and can run with the best of them. If Fisher can keep a solid rotation of talent on the field, a big play is a possibility on every snap.
23 Years at Nebraska
Ron Brown gets the most fun job of any coach on the staff. He has the most proven player on the team, senior running back Rex Burkhead. He has the most intriguing player in sophomore Ameer Abdullah, who can return kicks, but can he be a big time running back in the Big Ten? Then there is Imani Cross. 6-foot-2, 220 lb. runs patiently, and is not afraid to drop his shoulder into a linebacker, Imani Cross.
The combination of speed, size, and experience in Nebraska’s backfield will make Brown’s coaching job one of the easiest on the coaching staff.
The biggest task is going to be who will fill Burkheads shoes next season. The most interesting headline to follow is the development of Braylon Heard. The Ohio native moved from running back to corner in the spring. Heard moved back to running back this fall. It will be interesting to see how his playing time is handled.
5 Years at Nebraska
John Papuchis enters his first season as Nebraska’s defensive coordinator. Last season, the Blackshirts were the weak spot of Nebraska’s team. Papuchis, with the addition of Kaczenski, and Terry will need to mold this defense into a group that is proud to throw the bones on Saturdays.
With question marks all over the defensive line, and linebacker spots outside of Will Compton, Papuchis and company have a lot of work to do. With Bo Pelini still ultimately calling the shots, there will not be any big of a change in scheme on the defense, but it will definitely have a little bit of Papuchis’ flavor on it.
5 Years at Nebraska
Beck enters his second season as Offensive Coordinator. Last season Becks offense finished 58th in the country in total offense, and 50th in scoring offense. The one thing Nebraska can hang there hat on is, they did finish 16th in total rushing offense. This will be the identity that Beck will have to build this offense around.
With that in mind, Bo Pelini said at the start of fall camp, that he would like to be more dedicated to the pass this season. Beck’s quarterback Taylor Martinez, returned to his home-state of California, to work with his high school quarterback coach. Martinez for all purposes seems much more focused, and his footwork has improved greatly. With the weapons at receiver, and the solid running back play, Beck may open up more play action plays passes in 2012.
5 Years at Nebraska
This year is the measuring stick for Pelini and company. He is in the 5th year as head coach. Every coach, and player are guys he has hired, or recruited. This season will show how much true progress has been made since Pelini has taken over.
He is one of six FBS coaches who have won at least 9 games in every season he has coached. Pelini’s success has not come with out a little bit of controversy. The thing that he will have to work on is controlling his emotions. There has not been one time where Pelini has gone on a sideline rant, yelling at a referee, and had his team pull together and get the “W”. Controlling his emotions, has not been Pelini’s strong point.
If he wants to help lead his team to the first conference championship in 13 years, Bo Pelini must first get his emotions in check, then the sky is the limit for this football team going forward.
By Jimmie Allen
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