So I leave the state for ten days and the whole place turns into an Elmo Fire GIF? Nebraska Cornhuskers, it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.
I took off for Colorado to do some hiking and naturally it turned into several days of day hikes while dodging high country severe storms. After a Saturday morning hike, I toddled over to a Durango sports bar called Steamworks , befriended an aTm fan and his wife and we got to know each other in grief while both losing to Sun Belt teams on the same day.
And then news of the firing broke on Sunday morning as I was leaving town in search of better weather in the mountains up north and got to listen to radio and try to read texts while making the terrifying drive over Independence Pass on Highway 82. (Some people aren’t shaken by 1000’+ drops with no guardrails. I am not them.) This was followed by finding myself on a trail two days later looking at a worse drop.
It was time to come home.
Enough with the nature show, let’s just dive right in. There’s a few topics in which I want to dip my toes and the only thing of which I’m sure is that none of these opinions are going to have universal agreement. Feel free to fire away below, it is why we have a comments section and I am 100% serious when I tell y’all it’s more than once I’ve read one and thought, “I’ve never looked at it from that angle.”
WHO GONNA BE DA’ COACH?
Sure, let’s go for the low-hanging fruit first.
I dipped into this in a Q&A with Oklahoma’s Crimson & Cream Machine last week and with minimal fiddling from that, here’s what I said I’d be looking at - some combination of several of the following - for Nebraska’s next highest paid state employee:
- 1 - D1 head coaching experience
- 2 - A low-floor, high ceiling guy whose hire will generate excitement (take a shot, things can’t go much lower)
- 3 - A track record of fixing broken things
- 4 - A proven recruiter - Nebraska requires actual recruiting ability
- 5 - Being such a great coach AND horrible human being that I consider selling my soul to the devil for a potential return to glory (Sorry, had to include for Urbs)
- One caveat - Nebraska connections are not a positive nor negative. No one is included because he has a Nebraska connection or eliminated because we need to avoid it. The worst two tenures had one of each. It’s not a factor.
So here’s my list in order without surfing to see who may be serious or not.
- Lance Leipold - Checks #1, most of #2 (especially with Kansas 3-0) and #3. His teams are fundamentally sound which most of us don’t really recognize anymore. Also, throw in a history of winning championships repeatedly.
- Matt Rhule - Already on thin ice in Carolina which is fine, he belongs in college. Checks all boxes and what he did at Baylor after that disaster was amazing.
- Dave Aranda - No, I didn’t just surf Baylor, thank you. But here’s a defensive-minded Baylor coach who would definitely bring back a hard-nosed attitude which has been on indefinite vacation.
- Mickey Joseph - Obviously, something special will have to happen over the next few months which at least passes a massive eye test if the record doesn’t turn around. I’m listing him here mostly out of hope because he’s definitely got #2 & #4 with two months to accumulate a few games of #1 and no better chance to show he has #3 in his arsenal.
- Jamey Chadwell - Coastal Carolina is just fun as hell to watch and those teams play with boundless joy and energy. We need a few CC’s of that.
Wild Card - Da Coach O - Ed Orgeron - Hell, who even knows if Ed wants to coach again? Like he said when they told him his buyout was $17.1 million and they were gonna give it all to him? “What time you want me to leave and what door you want me out of, brotha?”
But he wanted to come here once before, he’s got #1 and is the very Webster’s definition of #2 and #3. The only question is has he gotten the women out of system yet? I’m not kidding - a huge reason for his Baton Rouge nosedive after the title was literally getting divorced and launching the single life. I’m not making that up and yes, it is just Ed Orgeron as hell. If he came here only in search of fresh game, we’d see that low floor.
Matt Campbell, Bill O’Brien, Chris Klieman, Gary Patterson? Many may disagree and that’s OK, but I just don’t feel excitement or a high upside from these guys. Oh well, we’ve got a few more months to think this over.
Please no. And I truly hope he has taken himself out of consideration.
I hear the cries of people terrified we might lean toward trying to find an Osborne clone and requiring a coach who will be leading prayer circles at midfield after every game while fighting the notion of selling warm overpriced beer at Memorial Stadium. For those who don’t know me, I hope the Coach O vote quickly quells any notion that sort of shit scores points with me at all.
But that doesn’t mean I want to bring Urb’s brand of nonsense to Lincoln. A list of the litany of scandals at Florida and Ohio State and his always slithering out of them with a pile of lies and fake sicknesses for “retirement” should be enough to make a person’s skin crawl. Just Google it all some time and give some focus to Ohio St. where he helped cover for wife-beating pervert assistant coach and actually leaned on the victim not to go to the cops. While Jacksonville hiring him was beyond stupid, at least his complete failure to win coupled with more odd and offensive behavior earned him a boot in the ass before he could start claiming back problems and roll around in a wheelchair before another “retirement”.
I promise you - drawing the line at hiring a giant, steaming pile of shit doesn’t mean I’m insisting on another Osborne.
FROST AND CHINANDER
If there’s 2 things we do well & consistently, it’s have a chunk of the fan base take a big dump on every QB since Frazier and every outgoing head coach since Ozzy and try to find ways to make it personal. I’ll pass on that, so here’s my eulogies.
I really thought he might get a longer leash, but the firing after Georgia Southern probably both made sense and gives a little weight to some of those lack of commitment stories. His history of success prior to Lincoln will find him on staff somewhere next season if he wants and honestly it sounds like him getting the hell out of Nebraska for a fresh start is the best thing for the man.
I wish it would have worked. It felt like it was potentially just around the corner last year as hard as they played in those close losses. And man, it was not. Many thanks to all who were there to tell us they knew “THE REAL STORY” after the fact. But no knives in the back from me - just hope he finds his way back because failing on giant stage, even if self-inflicted?
For Mickey to have any kind of fair shot, this had to happen and the bye week was probably the time to do it. I heard it suggested that Chins was being “punished” for the failings of Frost. Nothing could be farther from the truth. My guess following the Southern game was that Chins would be cut loose to give Frost a last gasp. Oh well, wrong again.
But it wasn’t punishment, Chins was just bad at his job and was fired for that reason, nothing more. The numbers don’t lie after 4 games. Also consider 3 of them were against not great competition to put it generously and Venables took his foot off the gas mid-3rd quarter in the Okie game:
- 114th out 131 teams in D1 in scoring defense
- 128th in yards given up per game
- 130th in 1st downs allowed
- 68th in red zone scoring percentage
- 124th in rushing yards allowed
- 115th in passing yards allowed
- 83rd in pass efficiency defense
Over 4+ years, he was average at his best - think Mark Banker - and godawful at worst. It doesn’t make him a bad person, but this was inevitable. Best of luck in the future.
IRELAND AND WEEK 0
I’m sure everyone had fun in Dublin but given the kicks in the teeth or lower regions served up by Northwestern and Illinois the last two years….maybe we just leave that stuff alone for the foreseeable future until when/if we get our feet back under us as a program?
The Ireland thing didn’t treat Northwestern too well either. They are 0-2 after a bye week with losses to Duke - which may look okay down the road - and Southern Illinois which will not. SIU was 0-2 going into that game with the losses coming against Incarnate Word and SE Missouri St.
Just saying. Let’s keep game one in Week 1 and against someone like Akron or -
Shit. Never mind. Curses are real.
Go Big Red.