Nebraska Football: Matt Rhule has his new defensive coordinator


The biggest piece of the Nebraska football coaching staff puzzle that was yet to be placed, has officially been placed. The Huskers finally have their defensive coordinator and it’s safe to say that not many fans saw this particular name coming.

According to Pete Thamel, Matt Rhule has landed on Syracuse defensive coordinator Tony White. One of the reasons why this hire is a bit of a shock is that White doesn’t have any previous ties to Rhule. Finding out just how the new Nebraska football head coach landed on this defensive coordinator pick is going to be an interesting thing to learn in the coming days.

While most Nebraska football fans might not be very familiar with White, it does appear this is a pretty solid hire, if not the earth-shattering name that some people were hoping such as Georgia co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann.

Interestingly, like Schumann, White is both the defensive coordinator and a linebackers’ coach. So that particular puzzle piece does fit the way I thought it might.

The lack of personal ties to Rhule aside, White is a well-traveled and accomplished coach. Before spending the last three years with the Syracuse Orangemen, he was the passing game defensive coordinator for a year at Arizona State. Now he’s the 5th Nebraska football defensive coordinator in the last eight years.

While some might look at Syracuse’s defense and not see someone to get too excited about, it’s worth pointing out that White’s unit has steadily improved since he joined the Orangemen. In terms of ESPN defensive efficiency, Syracuse went from 69th in the country in his first year to 39th this past season.

The team’s pass defense was 29th in the country. It’s also worth noting that White’s approach is known as the Mob defense, which certainly sounds like a nice change over the “Bend but Don’t Break” approach Chinander preferred. It’s also noteworthy that Syracuse’s defensive unit suffered a ton of injuries as the season went on. Prior to becoming the walking wounded, it’s safe to say the Orange had a Top 10-15 ranked defense.

White is well respected by Syracuse faithful and while his name might not move the needle among the vast majority of Nebraska football fans, he’s a defensive-minded coach who has experience coaching at Power 5 schools. That itself is a welcome change of pace,