Nebraska Football: Coaching Chaos in Lincoln Leaves Cornhuskers Scrambling

Brandon CavanaughCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2011

Now that national signing day is all of 48 hours old, let’s get to the real story.

While Nebraska fans were elated over the unexpected addition of defensive tackle Todd Peat, Jr. to the Cornhuskers’ latest recruiting class on Wednesday, rumors started to swirl.

Defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders had allegedly left the program.

As the day progressed, talk of two more coaches being let go began to surface. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Ted Gilmore had supposedly been released along with Sanders.

Recently hired Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson announced on Wednesday that then-Hoosiers defensive backs coach Corey Raymond was leaving for Nebraska. Raymond held the Indiana position for a mere two months.

What was dismissed as speculation by many was rapidly becoming more concrete.

At an annual recruiting dinner held the evening of national signing day where all coaches are usually present, four coaches were absent: Sanders, Watson, Gilmore and the head coach himself, Bo Pelini.

On Thursday, Pelini released the following statement:

“Marvin Sanders has resigned his position on our coaching staff for personal and family reasons. Marvin has decided the most important thing for him at this time is to take a break from coaching and spend more time with his family.”

When reached for comment about his current employment on Thursday by Fort Wayne, Indiana's Journal Gazette, Raymond responded, “You’ll have to ask Coach Pelini about that.”

The absence of a linebackers coach at Nebraska still remains, but the position may soon be filled.

A source informed the Lincoln Journal Star that Bo Pelini was meeting with Ohio Bobcats assistant coach Ross Els regarding the position on Thursday.

Bobcats head coach Frank Solich was reached by the Journal Star, but declined to comment on Els’ visit.

With two holes in the Nebraska coaching staff potentially filled, what of the mysterious disappearances of Watson and Gilmore? To not be present at an event that every assistant coach attends speaks volumes considering the rumors flying. For the head coach to be absent truly gives a reason for pause.

Should Watson be dismissed from the program, speculation has been that current running backs coach Tim Beck would step into Watson’s former role. Another hot topic has been that a former Cornhusker may be looking to return to his alma mater.

Scott Frost has experience coaching several positions during his budding career including wide receivers, a position that requires filling at Nebraska.

George Schroeder, a columnist for Eugene, Oregon’s The Register-Guard tweeted about a comment from Frost regarding talks with Pelini. “'I'm not gonna say a word,'" was Frost’s response to him.

Regardless of any potential promotion or hires, Sanders is now officially no longer a part of Nebraska’s program. Pelini seems to be circling the wagons while ducking any and all questions from the press regarding the current coaching situation.

Mid-afternoon Thursday, Omaha World-Herald reporter Dirk Chatelain tweeted, “Husker players receive mass text requesting they don't talk about coaching changes.” He later tweeted, “I spoke to a departing senior who said he received mass text requesting no comment from players. Apparently not everyone got it though.”

While no other official coaching changes have happened aside from Sanders’ departure, Pelini did release a statement that he was "working toward finding a replacement for coach Sanders."

The Nebraska head coach also said that an announcement could be expected "when the hiring process is completed."

While the puzzle pieces of the Cornhusker coaching staff seem scattered across the table, one has to think that the picture might clear up in as little as a week or two.

Offseason? What offseason?

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