My reaction to the Chinander firing

Well, down goes another UCF connection, as we learned on Sunday that Interim HC Mickey Joseph fired Nebraska and Scott Frost’s DC.

First, let me go a bit “ugh” with this. Part of me just wonders what on earth we are going to accomplish doing this. As Alberts said, we fired Frost for the kids to give them hope and renew some energy into a very young season. But at some point you are getting rid of all of the guys they pledged to play for. You’re also cutting the nuts off guys like Fisher, Dawson, and Ruud and putting them in a no win situation with their coaching. For me, there’s only so much you can change in the season to get this corrected and respectable. So it’s a little tough for me to get there. Lastly, guys that are on some peoples short lists are really going to pay attention to how Alberts handles things, and it’s not going great in some areas…

Last thing on this. I said in my preseason preview that the defense absolutely was going to take a step back this year. Chinanders unit was the only one that improved every year from 2018 to 2021 while here. Not the offensive staff that was going to make the B1G adjust to them, not special teams, the Blackshirts. For everyone who said “we were close” in 2021, the entire reason that happened was because of our defense. It was pretty lights out considering the positions our offense put them in. So I struggle with firing him based on this season.

But what the heck were we supposed to do? I mentioned we were going to take a step back, but this is basically running a marathon in reverse. While the 2021 team was helped by covid seniors, they were guys that helped us be who wanted on defense. But once some of those guys left it was just awful. I hate to reference it, but we mentioned how awful our line was going to be, and if we take out Domann you lose 4 of your 5 starters in the secondary.

On top of that, our lack of depth at DL makes it so we have to run certain fronts. And how new we are in the secondary make it so we have to run certain coverages. It just wasn’t working. And if you want to see what i’m talking about with that, check out my Georgia Southern review about gap fitting:

There were so many alignment mistakes that seemingly happened for our defense from the time Chinander was here, we just didn’t have the dudes to make up for it except for maybe 2021. You have to align correctly, and at some point you have to take something away from the offense. We can’t stop them throwing on us, and we are letting non-running teams like Oklahoma and Georgia Southern rush for 10 yards per carry on us.

There is also some tension between new staff and old. Look, we all saw what happened in 2017 when they made Riley hire Diaco, it just didn’t mesh. Now there’s an entire offense hired butting heads with the defense. Did Chinander even want to be here anymore after that? Besides staying for the kids, he’s not going to look good through the year. And i’m sure things finally came to a head on Saturday night and Sunday watching film with the new head coach.

I’m sure Joseph was asking why we were a bend but don’t break defense with a two high shell even while the opponent is in the redzone but we don’t just break we shatter into 1,000 pieces. We just weren’t aggressive and had our players in some tough spots from time to time.

So allow us to do what Alberts talked about during the Frost firing, moving ahead and looking forward. What is Bill Busch going to bring us? Busch comes from a bit of what I love to do and what I thought Chinander would do a bit more of. Take some risks, blitz some more, more one high and more man to man on the edge while trying to create some havoc rushing the passer and disrupting rushing lanes. I mean really what do we have to lose? This is an audition for Joseph and Busch to show the new coach or other teams what they are capable of. Our offense can keep up with “normal” teams (not Oklahoma, Michigan, etc.). Go try to create some havoc behind the line of scrimmage, no reason to sit in a 2 high and give up 50 points a game.

Staff shift

Speaking of an audition… we have moved Kenny Wilhite from director of high school relations to an analyst role within the staff. Dan Dillon will take over Wilhite’s spot from his Assistant Director of Player Personnel spot he was in.

If any of you read my stuff on the other message board, Wilhite is up there with Verduzco and Duval for me in terms of what I think about them. I don’t blame Joseph for promoting him and giving him a chance as Wilhite has wanted to get into a coaching role for a bit, he just was part of the problem when it came to our in-state recruiting. So not sure I like it as much. But as I said on twitter, that coaching bench is getting thin in a hurry.

Join us tomorrow when we go over an Oklahoma recap. Friday we will have our Toilet Readings as we had a massive gambling day (hopefully you are following the picks on Friday’s).

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19 thoughts on “My reaction to the Chinander firing

  1. I’m with you on the Chins firing. He was obviously gone at the end of the season but I’m not sure this is the best thing for the players. Crazy to think that the HC, DC and OC are all new since the end of last year or end of the GS game SF calling more plays than Whip.
    I hope this works out for TA. I’m really worried. Things seem much worse imo since the firings began. Saw arguments just on TV between MJ and Hill, MJ and Yant and Rahmir Johnson disengaged on the bench. Our newer staff members in leadership roles, trying to build their own culture around their own beliefs during the season to players they have mostly not recruited scares me. If we do not have success on the field things could head south very badly. This really worries me and I’m not usually a pessimist. TA almost has to meddle if this happens and that isn’t a good look.
    SF being fired has united the fan base more than I thought it would. Though I wish it happened last year, I can support the timing of the events. Firing Chins really rips the bandaid off. We will know who is N. Either way the portal will be busy for us both ways.
    Do you feel that the potential candidates look at the on field play/results much? Or does the portal change everything. Also, I’m not a booster, just a teacher from NY that doesn’t give the program a penny but hope to go to Lincoln once I’m retired. …will the future TV contract $ allow our athletic department to make the needed moves without letting the opinions and wants of boosters get in the way?
    Sorry for the lengthy randomness, I’m on jury duty. Last question- how important is it to preserve red shirts since none of the staff is guaranteed to be back next season?

    1. First, sorry about the jury duty, that sucks. But you’re right, with how the season has gone and all of the stuff coming out about the HC, I think people are pretty on board with what happened.

      I don’t think a head coach will care a ton about the on field results. If anything I do think it validates the firing and when. As opposed to firing Bo after 9 wins or Riley after forcing him to change DCs year 3. That didn’t go well.

      B1G money will help us start to distance ourselves from some boosters for sure, but at the end of the day with NIL stuff we need boosters. The University can’t pay for that stuff.

  2. I think up until this season chin did a decent job. Chin is kind of a scapegoat here but he clearly had a bad D this season and its hard to stand up for him at this point
    Talent is WAY down on D
    Im not sure if firing him was good or bad bit this is mickeys ship and we sail or sink on his decisions
    I do think it was unlikely chin turned it around so for me its a you have nothing to lose deal

    1. I mean he’s been the DC here for 5 years. If the talent is “way down” that’s on him as well, no? I was so frustrated at the Georgia Southern game that I left before half time. No offense to them, but if a team like that is scoring at will, which they were, it’s a lot more than a talent issue. If our offense wouldn’t have been moving the ball down the field so well they would have scored 50-60 points. Thankfully Venables was all class and called off the dogs because they could have hung 70 on us if he wanted to as well. It’s been downright embarrassing.

      1. I would say it’s on him for sure. But he basically made the talent better each year and had a down year this year. That stuff happens in my opinion. You can’t just constantly churn out talent year after year after year when the team is sub .500. I think that’s my biggest issue with it.

        Now… shoudl it ever get this bad? Probably not, and if the response is terrible scheme and out of position players then it just magnifies it.

      2. I was just saying talent was down. Its on him and on the staff as a whole. He did a decent job up to this year, but this year obviously was pathetic.

    2. I have a hard time believing Chin could have made things look any better. We are bad schematically and talent-wise. I get doing it but also could have been ok with them keeping him.

      I hope Busch just says “screw it” and gets ultra aggressive.

      1. I think that’s his only option at this point in time. You have to be able to get some stops even if it means taking big risks. I mean our supposed “bend don’t break” defense is giving up huge plays constantly already as you said. It also has to be mentally agonizing for those defensive players so maybe letting them be aggressive and a chance to make some splash plays will give them a spark as well.

      2. I just wonder how many kids may check out now that the DC they signed up for and HC they signed up for is gone? I get giving the kids a chance and don’t get me wrong Chinander struggled this year, but there are some guys that really believed in what they were selling. A couple starters even.

  3. I admit I was never a huge Chinander fan, I’ll give him he has had some good stretches and the defense early on held up way better than the offense. Part of me wonders how closely tied our success on either side of the ball has just been experience/personnel vs. coaching acumen. Like Frost, never thought he adjusted or adapted very well. I felt he was a decent ‘gatekeeper’ of sorts, but was never going to be a difference maker. I know we are handcuffed by personnel and depth, but just felt like we just sent out the same thing over and over the last 2 weeks.

    As far as the firing, I’m cool with it. I can see the other perspective of how it’s not going to do us any good now and other ramifications. I guess I’m at the point where I think this year it was going to be/will be a dumpster fire regardless, so I’m just hoping for a better future.

    Have to say I don’t really gel with Leonhard’s statement… I agree in theory, but not something I’d pick a bone about. If there were rules in place for students to not commit until after the season was done and signing was late spring, I’d say I sympathize with that more. But having people commit to a coach you know is dead in the water doesn’t help either. I could argue it benefits some students and future recruits about whether the coaches will be there next year or not and they can make informed decisions, if you know you’re going to fire them anyway. In our current situation, I think we had to for the program’s benefit to get a jump on our search.

    I think no matter what decisions Alberts makes right now will probably come with criticism either way. I don’t know if he’ll be successful or not as an AD. But I don’t think (most) coaches will have much of a problem with how he’s handled things. I think right now after giving Frost another year to prove himself – whether that was truly his decision or not – you can look at that and say he’s not a trigger-happy AD.

    1. What’s weird is Chinander is the only guy that improved (until this year). Our offense and special teams sucked, and our defense consistently got better.

      Leonhard would understand if he knew everything that went on in my opinion but it is what it is. He’s not an option for us anyway.

      Alberts is screwed no matter what. Hire Meyer and people are pissed due to hiring the same coach off the field that you just fired for off the field stuff. Hire Campbell and people think he isn’t good enough. Hire Kleinman or Leipold and he doesn’t have enough track record in Power 5.

      1. Agree 100% with your last paragraph. I’ll start out by saying I can’t stand Urban Meyer. I’ll just say everything about the guy has always rubbed me the wrong way. I personally would have a hard time rooting for Nebraska if he was our coach. Some people may think I’m not a true fan if I base it on the coach, that’s fine, that’s just where I’m at.

        That said, I was a little shocked in reading other boards how universal people were for hiring Meyer. People said things like how no one’s perfect, other coaches aren’t saints either, etc. It just seems to me to be selling your soul to the devil, and thought Nebraska fans & my perceived values of them would have rejected the idea much more than they have. But I guess I read the room wrong on that one.

        Also was shocked at some people’s complete intolerance for some coaches being thrown out there. Like on Huskermax, there’s a whole thread about Mark Stoops would be an awful hire just like Riley, they both have similar records after 10 years, etc. I know he’s probably not really a possibility, but if Mark Stoops is underwhelming for a lot of people, I got a feeling there’s going to be a lot of complaints who we actually get. My hunch is it will be one of the Big12 coaches. They’re not my 1st choice, but they’re reasonable IMO for our current standing in the CFB world.

        I just have a feeling people are falling back into thinking we should be able to get an A-list coach who’s going to bring us to glory shortly. Not everyone for sure, but a surprising number of people.

  4. I’m totally fine with the firing of Chinander. If MJ didn’t think EC had the capability (or worse the willingness) to think outside the box… get creative… take risks (as SSO) stated, than MJ absolutely HAD to term him and get someone in there that would at least try to help give his players a chance… versus doing that same thing each week (in practice and on the field) and expect different outcomes.

    1. Yeah from Joseph’s perspective I’m guessing he’s figuring if this is an audition for a future HC job, then there’s some proactive moves he figures he can make to put his stamp on things to show he can take initiative. Probably more reward in changing things up and trying things even if they fail vs. just going with what wasn’t working.

  5. Chins seemed like a good guy and I bet the players liked him, so it will be interesting to see how they respond on the field the rest of the year. As you say, his unit had been improving until this year, but the overall talent just isnt up to par. We look much slower and less violent this year than in years past. Either S&C or coaching and recruiting, or more likely all the above. I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes with our players, but it sure seems like we have a lot of head cases or guys with issues that cant either deal with D1 football, dont want to give the effort, or are just coasting. Guy like Nelson isnt any of the above, but he also doesnt have the physical skills of a guy like Randy Gregory for instance. It just seems like we are a complete mess…I honestly wonder if we will win 3 games this year based off the first 4. Trev is in a tough spot…we are not a top destination for coaches, yet we feel we should spend big money to set the market for who??? Urban isnt coming here and he, Dabo and Saban are the only sure things out there IMO (Lincoln Rieley also I suppose…USC looks far, far better than years prior). Stoops isnt going to leave the SEC, especially to come here after what his buddy Bo went through here. Campbell does nothing for me, but I am not sure why? This truly might be the low point of the Huskers in my lifetime (49).

  6. I agree that Trev is in a tough place and I agree with most of what you wrote. During part of the OU game when Urban was in the booth, he commented that we were not even trying to hide what we were doing on Def and he guessed correctly what plays OU was going to call. I get having a down year on talent but by doing the same thing over and over I think is what got Chin’s fired.

    I used to work with a parent of a current player on Defense. She said its been a rollercoaster for him but he is excited as he has several years left to help right the ship. She also said her son has had some great talks with Mickey so it sounds like MJ is holding the team together the best he can.

    As for who he chooses to be the next head coach, no one will make everyone happy, the only thing that will is if the team starts winning games.

  7. I think the “his defenses got better every year” is lacking context. The D was 94th in yards and 88th in points in year 1 so unless he had a Bo or Hoke like massive flip (best D in country year 1 or 2), he was always going to improve for a few years just based on how bad year 1 was. His peak performance came when he had 4 6th yr seniors he wouldn’t normally have starting alongside multi year starters in their 4th year in the system in Daniels, Thomas and CTB. He was 47th in yards and 36th in points with that group which are not numbers we would have bragged about too long ago, Conversely, the offense was 25th and 20th in yards in 2018 and 2022 so the trend wasn’t linear but they had more success moving the ball than the defense ever did stopping opponents. Yes poor scoring efficiency here but Chins’s D had 0 top 25 marks in total yards, passing yards, running yards or points against in his tenure. Without those super seniors I have no idea what last year would have looked like but I think its safe to say we wouldn’t have so many single digit losses based on how well we backfilled those super seniors.

    Im just shocked how ugly it is. We have only played 1 good offense so far and this is where we are so the next 8 needed a shakeup or we will set NCAA records the wrong way. I have no clue what went on behind the scenes but its very telling the interim HC is new to the staff and so is the interim DC. Whatever was going on under Frost, Trev and the new coaches likely had major issues with it and Im sure there has been tension between staff for some time. My guess is Mickey feels he has a good read on his offenses culture but this move helps him begin to flip some of that culture on D. I wouldn’t be shocked if a few more guys on that side get pushed out and none of them would really have much argument in their favor. Total disaster

  8. Knowing or think i know Urb’s past experience, it would be ok knowing that he is probably out of here after 3-5yrs, he always leaves a better situation and look at OSU, Fickell or Day, take your pick.. he left there with them in great shape.. I would also be ok with someone like Campbell or Aranda.. even just getting back to winning 8+ games a year and complaining about not getting over the hump.. 🙂

  9. I’m fine with Chin’s being let go. He and Scott had to be close so taking the head off of the tree is probably Mickey’s only shot to get the players attention. It’s possible Busch can light a fire there. Simplify and become aggressive. Feels like it’s going to be a long year.

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