It's official. Nebraska will now be seeking its fourth defensive backs coach in just five years.
The Lincoln Journal Star has confirmed that Huskers defensive backs coach Terry Joseph will accept the offer to be Texas A&M's secondary coach.
Current Nebraska players expressed their disappointment in Joseph leaving through Twitter.
However, head coach Bo Pelini now has to think beyond just the current players on his roster. In fact, he needs to move quickly to replace Joseph for the sake of recruiting, as current Nebraska commits have started to react.
With roots in the South, Joseph was a big key in Nebraska's recruiting plan. He joined the Huskers in 2012 after two seasons with Tennessee, where he was the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator.
Joseph also coached under Derek Dooley at Louisiana Tech.
A native of Louisiana, Joseph has strong ties to the state football programs in the South. He's known as a strong recruiter, something Nebraska definitely benefited from.
He was also the factor in five of Nebraska's 19 commitments.
Due to this, Pelini will likely want to wait to fill the vacant position. In fact, the head coach has had time to start putting some thought into possible outcomes.
Prior to interviewing, Joseph did tell Pelini he would talk with him before accepting any position. That means Pelini has had some idea of what could possibly come.
So what will Pelini do?
There is a lot of message board fodder discussing the potential of Pelini taking over the defensive backs. This would then free up a spot to hire former Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz as an assistant.
While many fans would like to see Ganz stick around, he unfortunately does not offer Nebraska what it needs after losing Joseph.
Plus, many fans worry about Pelini spreading himself too thin by taking on the responsibilities of overseeing the defensive backs. While the head coach has been actively involved in this area, many feel his role shouldn't require him doing too much himself.
Pelini would also still be missing the help that's needed for recruiting in the South.
That means he will likely look to hire someone to replace Joseph. The question then becomes who that will be.
Pelini probably has a long list to consider. However, there are three names that are likely on his shortlist. Those names are former Nebraska defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders, UNI defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks and Ole Miss defensive line coach/defense recruiting coordinator Chris Kiffin.
Each of those three names offers something unique to Nebraska.
For Sanders, it's the familiarity with the program. He was the defensive backs coach in 2003 and from 2008-2011. He then followed Carl Pelini to FAU to be the defensive coordinator. After two months on the job, he left to be the defensive backs coach at USC.
However, Sanders was later relieved of his duties by the Trojans once Clancy Pendergast was hired as defensive coordinator. After a turbulent couple of years, Sanders settled in as the head coach at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, Calif. on February 25, 2013.
If Sanders were to be hired back by Nebraska, he would bring his ties from his time in North Carolina with him. He was also a successful coach for the Huskers, and fans seem to be open to his return.
Another candidate familiar with the program is Bullocks. In his second season with NIU, Bullocks is a Nebraska alum. He played safety for the Huskers and was a co-captain his senior year.
Bullocks went on to play for the Detroit Lions for five years.
While young, Bullocks does provide a lot of potential for Nebraska. A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Bullocks possesses the ability to connect with young recruits in the South. With his experience on and off the field, he would be able to bring a lot to the table.
As for Kiffin, he has the least amount of exposure to Nebraska, but he is still very familiar with the program. He spent two years in charge of offensive quality control from Feb. 2008 to Feb. 2010. This means he has also worked directly with Pelini.
Kiffin has since spent time as Arkansas State's defensive line coach. There is no denying Kiffin's ties in the South. Those could prove to be very beneficial in replacing Joseph.
Additionally, Kiffin is good at what he coaches. In his first year in Oxford, he helped Old Miss rank first in the SEC and fourth nationally in tackles for loss (7.9 per game), per OleMissSports.com.
The list likely doesn't end there for Pelini, but Sanders, Bullocks and Kiffin are likely near the top.
Replacing Joseph won't be easy. However, the Huskers have had to make replacements at the defensive backs coaching position before.
Building stability will be key, so Pelini will want to seek a candidate that will wish to stick around a while. That will be crucial for both recruiting and developing players once at Nebraska.
Junior Corey Cooper valued the two years with Joseph.
"It meant a lot to me," Cooper told the Lincoln Journal Star. "I finally had the same DB coach for two years straight for the first time, so that helped me a lot with improvement in my game."
Younger players will be hoping for a more permanent coach. While good assistants have a tendency to get snatched away, Pelini needs to focus on someone who will want to stay at Nebraska for a decent amount of time.
Whether it's one of the three candidates listed above or someone else entirely, Pelini needs to move quick.
Recruiting and the 2014 season will rely on it.
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