Nebraska Football: Why Bo Pelini's Staff Will Take Huskers To Next Level

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIFebruary 14, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04:  Head coach Bo Pelini (R) of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and defensive coordinator Carl Pelini lead their team against the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Sooners beat the Cornhuskers 23-20.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Tim Beck. Ron Brown. Corey Raymond. Ross Els. Rich Fisher. John Garrison.

When Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini officially announces his brand new coaching staff, these will likely be the six men who are either being hired or getting promoted.

Throughout Husker Nation, many fans are saying the same thing about five of the six names:


Before I go any further, my fellow siblings-of-the-corn, I understand that Tim Beck is now a hot name in Nebraska, well-known for his recruiting efforts in signing big names such as Aaron Green, Tyler Moore, Jamal Turner and Ameer Abdullah.

But before Beck was hired by Bo Pelini in 2008 to coach the running backs, he was all but non-existent as far as Husker fans were concerned.

When his name was announced along with the rest of Pelini's staff, many wondered who he was and why he was chosen.

Nobody's questioning the head man's decision today. 

Beck has proven to be a solid running backs coach and superior recruiter, and when Bo Pelini unveils his new staff, chances are Beck will have earned himself the role of offensive coordinator.

So, what does Beck's emergence tell us about the rest of the staff?

It's quite simple: Bo Knows.

While many of the names seem random and underwhelming, they all have three things in common:

They are all unknown and underrated, but have ties to Bo Pelini.

Before Beck came to Nebraska, he coordinated the Jayhawks passing game that hung 76 on the 2007 Blackshirts (I use the term "blackshirts" loosely when describing the '07 defense). Kansas went on to finish 12-1 that year, including an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

Ron Brown is a legendary name in the state of Nebraska. He coached Nebraska's receivers from 1987 to 2003 and returned to coach tight ends in 2008.

During his first stint in Lincoln, Brown was a part of Nebraska football's greatest years, including three national championships in four appearances. 

Based on the overflowing tight end talent that has wasted away for the past three seasons under Shawn Watson, Brown should inherit the receivers as well, which will most likely be the case.

Corey Raymond worked with Bo Pelini at LSU and went on to coach the secondary at Indiana. While Indiana had a poor defense in 2010, there's no question Raymond will inherit a much more talented group of defensive backs at Nebraska.

Ross Els, linebackers coach at Ohio, will fill the departed Mike Ekeler's shoes. While Els is a very unknown coach, Pelini will be taking him off the same staff that produced one of Nebraska's best position coaches, Carl Pelini.

Rich Fisher is perhaps the most obscure hire of the bunch, but a quick look at his coaching history eases any doubts. Currently the head football coach of the Massachusetts school that produced Husker recruit Taariq Allen, Fisher inherited a joke of a program and instantly turned it into a state powerhouse.

As a Husker fan, I don't care what that guy does as long as he's part of the staff.

John Garrison, currently a NU intern, will be charged with coaching the interior offensive linemen. Barney Cotton, a great recruiter who has come under scrutiny as a result of inconsistent O-line play, will welcome the help.

A two-coach system for the offensive line, as suggested by Sam McKewon of the Nebraska State Paper, worked very well for Nebraska during the Milt Tenopir/Dan Young years.

In the modern world of college football, where flashy resumes reign supreme, Bo Pelini bucks the trend.

Pelinknows a football mind when he sees one, and as McKewon points out, a great mind trumps great experience.

Fortunately, there are also those with great experience and a great mind. Ron Brown instantly comes to mind. 

But while most of Nebraska's assistant coaches don't have such experience, guys such as John Papuchis, Carl Pelini, Beck and Ekeler provide excellent evidence to McKewon's argument.

Shawn Watson has great experience; Tim Beck has a great football mind. To see which is more important, you need to look no further than Nebraska's current coaching carousel.

Who was holding back the Huskers? The two coaches that Pelini didn't hand-pick.

When it's all said and done in a few days, Nebraska will collectively have one of the most unknown coaching staffs in the nation.

But it will also be one of the most underrated, as evidenced by the success of those previously hand-chosen by Bo.

Will this staff push Nebraska over the hump and win a championship?

Maybe, but if it does its job, it may dissipate too quickly to do so, as those rising stars of the coaching industry will be moving on to bigger and better opportunities; after all, most teams in need of services will come calling once a budding coach has a seasoned resume.

Then again, if the staff really does its job, Nebraska will have a sixth crown next to its name come January 2012.

While that's an unlikely scenario, Bo Pelini's staff is finally his own, and it could trigger a leap to the next level—a National Championship.


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