As the carousel of coaching changes continues, Husker fans have started to get a clearer picture on the shape of Frost’s staff as its come together. Several coaches flew in with Frost to Lincoln Saturday night and through various updates we’ve started to piece together the puzzle. The AD released a list of the 7 new assistant coaches this morning and they all fall in line with what we’ve heard up until this point.
The new assistants will have two-year contracts running through December 31st, 2019. All of the coaches are currently “part-time” employees which allows them to coach UCF in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and will become full-time employees afterward.
“This is an outstanding group of coaches and men of tremendous character who have played a key role in our success at UCF the past two seasons” said Frost. “They are excellent teachers, mentors and recruiters and have earned a great respect from the young men who play for them. I am proud they have chosen to join our staff as we get started at Nebraska.”
An interesting note is former OC/Wide Receivers coach Troy Walters appears to be a candidate to succeed Frost as UCF along with a few others but no decision has been made in that regard at UCF. It’s unlikely that he joins the Huskers staff. That leaves an opening for Keith Williams to potentially return to Nebraska if there is interest between Frost and coach Williams.
Offensive Coordinator –
Quarterbacks Coach- Mario Verduzco
Wide Receivers Coach –
Running Backs Coach – Ryan Held
Offensive Line – Greg Austin
Defensive Coordinator – Erik Chinander
Defensive Line Coach- Mike Dawson
Linebackers/Special Teams – Jovann Dewitt
Defensive Backs- Travis Fisher
Barrett Ruud – Formal role unknown, but currently on the road recruiting for the Huskers.
Strength and Conditioning – Zach Duvall
Director of Player Personnel – Sean Dillon
Assistant Director of Player Personnel – Ryan Callaghan
Associate AD of Football – Matt Davison
– Updates –
Barrett Rudd named a linebackers coach per Steven Sipple of the LJS (added above)
Barrett Ruud will be Frost's linebackers coach, I'm told. I think Ruud could quickly become a dynamic coach and move up quickly in the business. He was a master technician as a player and is a Grade-A communicator. Great guy for kids to be around. Happy as hell for him. #Huskers
— Steven M. Sipple (@HuskerExtraSip) December 3, 2017
Frost has roughly $5 million in salary for ten total assistant coaches and a head football strength coach with performance incentives added for winning their conference division, BIG Titles, and other various achievements.
Frost's MOU also states a salary pool of up to $5 million for 10 assistant coaches and head football strength coach, with up to a two-year term for each. Assistants can increase salary by 5% for winning or tying for division, and by 15% for winning B1G title, among other things.
— Brian Christopherson (@Husker247BC) December 4, 2017
Brief Bios on Nebraska Staff
Greg Austin—A former Nebraska offensive lineman, Austin brings eight years of coaching experience to the Husker staff. Austin has spent a total of five seasons working on offensive staffs with Frost, including the past two seasons as UCF’s offensive line coach. Austin helped the UCF offensive line rank among the national leaders in fewest sacks allowed in 2017, while heading into the bowl season ranked first in the nation in scoring and fifth in total offense. Austin also has three seasons of NFL coaching experience, working on Chip Kelly’s Eagles staff from 2013 to 2015. Austin made 18 career starts as an offensive guard at Nebraska and was an honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick in 2006.
Erik Chinander—Chinander has spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at UCF. A 2016 Broyles Award nominee as the nation’s top assistant, Chinander comes to Lincoln after leading a dramatic defensive turnaround. His UCF defense allowed 12.5 fewer points in 2017 than it did in the season before his arrival. Chinander’s defense also ranked fourth nationally in takeaways in 2017. Chinander spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as the outside linebackers coach at Oregon, after serving on the Philadelphia Eagles defensive staff in 2013. Chinander has been on the staff of one FCS and two FBS teams that have played in a national championship game.
Mike Dawson—Dawson brings 19 years of coaching experience to Nebraska, including the past two seasons on the UCF staff and three years of experience in the National Football League. At UCF, Dawson’s defensive line ranked fourth in the AAC in rushing defense in 2017 and two of his three starting defensive linemen earned all-conference honors. Dawson spent three seasons on Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles staff from 2013 to 2015, working with the defensive line. Dawson also has college coaching stops at several schools, including Boston College, Akron, New Hampshire, Pittsburgh and Maine.
Jovan Dewitt—Dewitt brings a wealth of experience to the Nebraska staff, with 18 overall years of coaching experience, including nine seasons as a defensive coordinator and four years as a special teams coordinator. Dewitt spent the past two seasons as the associate head coach at Central Florida, where he worked with the linebackers and served as special teams coordinator. In 2017, Dewitt’s linebackers helped UCF rank third in the AAC in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. Dewitt has previous college FBS experience at Army and Florida Atlantic and worked on the staff at Northern Iowa from 2009 to 2011.
Travis Fisher—A former NFL cornerback, Fisher join’s Frost staff after working on the UCF defensive staff for the past two seasons. Fisher’s defensive backs were a big reason why the Knights recorded 55 takeaways and scored eight defensive touchdowns over the past two seasons. In 2017, UCF ranked fifth nationally with 18 interceptions. Fisher had two defensive backs earn first-team All-AAC honors and UCF ranked in the top 20 nationally in interceptions. A former Knight cornerback, Fisher was selected in the second round of the 2002 Draft by the St. Louis Rams and played eight seasons in the NFL. He began his coaching career at UCF in 2013, spent one season at Southeast Missouri State and has been in Orlando the past three seasons.
Ryan Held—Held returns to his alma mater with 17 years of college coaching experience, including 12 seasons as a head coach. On Frost’s staff at UCF the past two seasons, Held has coached the running backs as the Knights led the nation in scoring offense in 2017, while ranking fifth in total offense. Held previously made a name in the coaching community as a successful junior college, Division II and NAIA head coach. Held served as a head coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Highland (Kan.) CC, Southwestern Oklahoma State, Oklahoma Panhandle State and Peru State. Held was a part of two national championship teams in 1994 and 1995 as a walk-on receiver for the Huskers, and began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant on Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team.
Mario Verduzco—Verduzco brings 41 years of coaching experience to the Nebraska staff, including serving as both a junior college and high school head coach. Verduzco served as the UCF quarterbacks coach the past two seasons and directed the development of McKenzie Milton who was one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in 2017. Milton completed better than 69 percent of his passes this season, while throwing for 3,795 yards and a school-record 35 touchdowns. Verduzco was Missouri State’s offensive coordinator in 2015, after a 14-year stint with Northern Iowa, working on the same staff as Frost for two seasons. Verduzco spent five seasons at Rutgers from 1996 to 2000, and prior to that coached for 19 season at various levels in his home state of California.
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