Carriker Chronicles: Getting to know Scott Frost’s assistants

December 5, 2017 GMT

All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the “Carriker Chronicles” video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X’s and O’s and more.

In Tuesday’s episode, Carriker does a background check on Scott Frost’s incoming staff.

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Here’s a transcript from the show:

Welcome, everybody, to the Carriker Chronicles, the people’s show, where we’re checking the pulse of Husker Nation — brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital.

Yes, I’m fully aware that I have the pink eye. My kids have finally decided to start sharing.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow before I forget to mention to check out my interview with Tom Osborne, but for today let’s dive into the seven new assistant coaches that have been hired here at the University of Nebraska.

They were all with Scott Frost at UCF. Let’s dive into these fine individuals, shall we?

Before we get into the seven, I should not forget to mention that former Husker great, Nebraska linebacker Barrett Ruud, is a part of Frost’s staff, is currently on the road recruiting with Frost at this very moment for the Huskers, but he’s not a part of these seven that we’re gonna go through today.

First off is Greg Austin, somebody that I know very well. I played four years with Greg at the University of Nebraska. Let me tell you something about Greg. He hurt his knee his very first year with the Huskers, and basically, he played four years at the University of Nebraska on one leg. Ladies and gentlemen, he knows what toughness is all about, and you kinda need that as an offensive line coach. He was all-Big 12 honorable mention in 2006 he also has 8 years of coaching experience as well.

Next up, Mike Dawson, defensive line, now, we will not be retaining John Parrella as our defensive line coach going forward, but Mike Dawson has 19 years of coaching experience including 3 years in the NFL. In 2017, his defensive line ranked fourth in the conference against the run and two of his three starting D-linemen earned all-conference honors as well.

Next up Jovan Dewitt, outside linebackers and special teams coach. He has 18 years of coaching experience, including nine years as a defensive coordinator, four years as a special teams coordinator. Ladies and gentlemen, I prefer having a special teams coordinator versus dispersing special teams responsibilities amongst all the assistant coaches, and I’ll tell you why.

For example, last year Bob Diaco was in charge of the punters. Do you think Bob Diaco was gonna get a raise or be fired based on how the punters did? No, his primary focus was on the defense. You wanna put emphasis on the special teams, and you want a coach whose emphasis is on the special teams, and that’s what I like about they’re doing with Mr. Jovan Dewitt here.

Next up is Travis Fisher, the defensive backs coach. He was a second-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2002, he played eight years in the NFL. In 2017, UCF ranked fifth nationally with 18 interceptions and he had two DBs that earned first-team all-conference honors as well.

Next up is Ryan Held. He is the running backs coach. He has 17 years of coaching experience, including 12 years as a head coach as well. Now it’s kind of a cool homecoming for Ryan. He was a walk-on receiver for the Huskers when they won their national championships in 1994 and ’95, he was also a part of that 1998 Tennessee coaching staff that won the national championship as well.

Next up is Mario Verduzco, the quarterbacks coach. He has 41 years of coaching experience, including multiple seasons as a head coach. UCF’s quarterback McKenzie Milton’s past season under Mario’s direction was one of the top quarterbacks in the entire country, especially when you look at his stats. He completed better than 69 percent, almost 70 percent of his passes. He threw for 3,795 yards and a school-record 35 touchdowns.

Before I get into my biggest question mark, which is the defensive coordinator, I wanna talk quickly about one of my favorite players in all of college football this past year, a UCF defender, his name escapes me at the moment, so I apologize for that.

A UCF defender who is missing a hand. The reason I bring this up, number one, he was not going to be denied. I loved watching him, but also you need your hands to get after the quarterback. He was a defensive player, but he was obviously very well coached because he has a wide variety of moves in getting after the quarterback. That’s the reason I bring him up, loved watching him, obviously very well coached.

But let’s talk about our next defensive coordinator, Erik Chinander, he’s gonna be making $800,000 in 2018 being the Blackshirts defensive coordinator. Now, doing some recon on him, I discovered that in 2016 he was a Frank Broyles Award nominee as one of the top assistant coaches in the entire country. My initial reaction was ‘We’re gonna be moving back to the 4-3.’ After watching UCF, they appear to be a 3-4 team.

In 2017, UCF gave up 12.5 fewer points under his command than they did the year before he became their defensive coordinator. Now, he has been a part of three national championship games, two on the FBS level, one on the FCS level as well, and the Golden Knights ranked fourth nationally last year in takeaways.

It’s a very aggressive defensive scheme that he runs, almost the opposite philosophy and play calling that Bob Diaco ran and liked to do.

Now this coaching staff as a whole has a lot of experience, ladies and gentlemen, a lot of years of experience, a lot of head coaching experience, a lot of experience in title games, a lot of experience winning championships as well.

Now I’m excited for this offensive staff, I wouldn’t mess with it in any way, shape or form. On the defensive side of the ball, I have some question marks, but I feel a little bit better after learning some more information about these guys.

I’m not gonna lie, part of me wanted the Huskers to go after one of these big schools, go after a big name d-coordinator, throw a bunch of money at him, bring him in. But I am curious to see how this turns out under this staff. They gave up a lot of points at UCF, but I love the aggressive attitude and attitude is everything on defense.

Can’t wait to see how this turns out. As far as this staff as a whole, they’ve had a lot of success. As the old saying goes, my version of it anyway, if it ain’t broke, don’t break it.

Go Big Red, and always remember to throw the bones!