Nebraska Football: Meet John Papuchis, Huskers Defensive Coordinator
The Nebraska sideline will look a little different in 2012, as former defensive coordinator Carl Pelini has moved on to head the Florida Atlantic program. In Carl Pelini's place is a face that's both fresh and familiar: John Papuchis, who is all of 34 years old and is in his first season as a defensive coordinator at any level.
But opposing fans seeing such a young coordinator with a commensurately short resume shouldn't expect the Nebraska defense to struggle, because Bo Pelini can trust Papuchis about as well as anybody on the planet.
First off, Papuchis is a Bo Pelini disciple.
Per his official bio, Papuchis joined the Nick Saban LSU staff as a graduate assistant in 2004, a year before Pelini arrived as defensive coordinator. When Pelini took the reins at Nebraska in 2008, he brought Papuchis with him, naming him defensive line coach and special teams coordinator. In 2011, Pelini added "recruiting coordinator" to Papuchis' list of tasks, and sure enough, Nebraska's special teams excelled.
At Nebraska, Papuchis has excelled.
Nebraska's defensive lines were as ferocious as could be under Papuchis, with Ndamukong Suh leading a stellar group of players through the years. Jared Crick, Cameron Meredith and Pierre Allen were all named at least second-team All-Conference under Papuchis, with more linemen garnering honorable mentions.
As Papuchis' career as a special teams coordinator goes, he was named one of the four finalists for the FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year Award in 2010. Nebraska has also had two great kickers in Alex Henery (three-time All-Big 12 kicker, fourth-round NFL draft pick) and Brett Maher (first-team All-Big Ten as punter and kicker, Lou Groza finalist).
In short, whatever John Papuchis coaches becomes a strength for Nebraska. That is probably not an accident.
So when opposing teams see Papuchis across from them on the sidelines as Nebraska's defensive coordinator, they shouldn't feel an ounce of optimism about it. They should be very, very worried. The guy has seven seasons working under Bo Pelini already, he coaches all-conference players and he's only 34.
Now it's just time to wonder how much longer it'll be before the head coaching offers come for Papuchis. Because they are coming, and they're coming sooner than you think.
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