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SSO’s Top Candidates


Just a quick Friday read where I put into tiers what I would feel about the most talked about candidates for the HC job at Nebraska.

Ecstatic about it:

Matt Rhule – I think things are trending this way from media members and former guys I talk to. The longer it drags on the less solid I feel about it, but still the guy I think we end up with. What he did at Temple and Baylor is extremely impressive to me. I’m hoping he could turn into our Saban… a good run at Michigan State and LSU, went to NFL and failed, came back and revitalized Bama’. Could he do that for us? Based on the metrics from this tweet seems like he’s a homerun.

Kalen Deboer – Even though he’s only been at Washington for one year, he’s been a winner pretty much everywhere he’s gone. On top of that, he has local ties coaching at Sioux Falls for some time. Could you poke holes in his coaching tenure? Sure. But I think anyone we get is going to have an asterisk next to them.

Urban Meyer – This may rub some people the wrong way, but i’m not sure we could do better than a coach that has won a national title at two separate places and did well at places like Utah and Bowling Green. I get that there’s some red flags, but he would instantly get us where we want to be. However, this isn’t happening.

Would need to be convinced, but would probably be happy:

Chris Klieman – This guy had a great run at North Dakota State and is now turning around Kansas State. My one hesitation would be his only FBS job is Kansas State, but if you’ve watched them, they are disciplined and well-coached. His ties to the area bump him into a “i’m happy” situation for me.

Dave Doeren – He won a ton of games in two seasons at Northern Illinois, and went to NC State and has been pretty much consistently Bo Pelini there which we would take back in a hurry at this point. My hesitation? What is his ceiling? At this point i’ll take some consistency like Iowa or Wisconsin have and what we had with Pelini over what i’ve seen the last 7 years. So that wouldn’t stop me from hiring him.

Lance Leipold – I like what i’ve seen from him, and what he’s done at Kansas is pretty impressive. His age might frustrate me the most which probably shouldn’t, but I think a young and energetic guy (save Urban) is what we are needing. But someone smarter than me could probably make me end up feeling ok about it.

Dave Aranda – I don’t think this one is happening, but despite how his season is turning I think he could be a good get. I won’t go too much into it since I don’t believe it to be happening, but I think he would be a good get.

Luke Fickell – I don’t see this one happening either, but he’s someone I could be extremely happy with running our program.

On the fence, but would probably end up unhappy:

Jeff Monken – I can hear people mad I put him in the unhappy category. But the reality is he is at a service academy which is nothing like Power 5 college football, people just see they run the ball like we did in the 90s and get excited in my opinion. I think someone could talk me into being happy, he just reminds me a bit of Mickey Joseph in the sense that if it’s him that means a ton of other guys told us no.

Matt Campbell – I’ve flipped on this guy a bit, I was pretty excited to start this season if he would be our guy as I was intrigued with how he ran his program and he coaches within our geography. I do think Trev had this guy in his top 3 in 2021 and even to start 2022, but some better candidates emerged.

Bill O’Brien – I’m against the grain on this one with people. I am super impressed with what he did at Penn State during the scandal and reduced scholarships, but he had a #1 draft pick QB. And they were worse year 2, and he only had 2 years CFB head coaching experience. He would need to develop players here which he didn’t have to do at Penn State (only 2 years) and in the NFL and now at Bama.

Jeff Traylor – This name has emerged a bit the last week or so, but I just don’t see it. No P5 HC experience when we have people interested that do and mostly in the south is where he’s coached. I just don’t see the fit.

Hugh Freeze – Tough one because he’s had some success, but if we are getting rid of a HC that has/ahd some demons that caused issues in his tenure here, not sure we need to go this route. I know what you are saying, “but Urban has demons”, and i’d agree. I’ll just say i’ll overlook demons for conference and national titles.

I would be so mad if we hired them:

PJ Fleck – Luckily this one has died down a bit, but even though he is a really good coach i’d hate everything about it. From reading kids books to the team the Friday before the game to just his overall persona, i’d leap off a building.

Deion Sanders – This is coming from a kid who chose 21 to be like him, but the guy has been a head coach for how long? I would need to see how he could do without his son at quarterback.

Mickey Joseph – If we hire him after basically doing nothing for improvement this year it basically would mean to me that we got told no by everyone. Now, I think there are unreal qualities for MJ that we need to keep him on staff as WR coach at minimum like recruiting and the kids playing for him, but again he can do all of those things as an assistant. Nebraska doesn’t need to be a place for first time head coaches.

Join us early next week where I go into what the biggest challenge moving forward for the new head coach will be and I have to eat crow for us hiring no one I even talked about.

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