Joseph talks Chinander, changes, confirms Allen out for season
LINCOLN - It may be a bye week for Nebraska, but there was no shortage of talking points at Mickey Joseph’s Tuesday press conference. Just after Nebraska’s 49-14 loss to Oklahoma, Joseph relieved defensive coordinator Erik Chinander of his duties and also confirmed running back Ajay Allen is out for the season.
When it comes to the firing of Chinander, Joseph said the decision was made for the players.
“For four weeks I didn’t see us getting better from week one to week four,” Joseph said. “I had to make the best decision for the kids because it's about the boys, so I had to make a decision for the boys.”
Nebraska’s defense is ranked 128th in total defense out of 131, allowing nearly 370 yards per game. Joseph said to fix that, the group needs to hone in on the fundamentals, like tackling and staying in their gaps. Special teams assistant coach Bill Busch will now be taking the role of defensive coordinator.
“Bill is built for this,” Joseph said. “He’s sharp. He’s going to be detailed in his qualities. He’s a really good football coach.”
Joseph confirmed that Nebraska’s run game will suffer a big blow, as freshman running back Ajay Allen is out for the year after undergoing surgery. Allen ran for 190 yards and two touchdown’s on 33 carries. Gabe Ervin Jr. will now slide up the depth chart behind lead back Anthony Grant.
“He’s back home. His mother’s in town. He came out of surgery well and he’s going to miss the rest of the season,” Joseph said “It’s going to hurt us, but Gabe’s capable of getting it done.”
Nebraska now gets some time to reflect and regroup after their 1-3 start to the season with bye week. Joseph emphasized that the bye week is “Nebraska vs. Nebraska” and that it came at a good time.
“We needed this bye week just to reset,” Joseph said. “These kids had to go from here to here, it wasn’t Oklahoma-Panhandle coming in here, it was OU. So it was a good bye week.”
Joseph announced that Joey Connors, who worked in Special Teams Quality Control, will take over the duties of Bill Busch of coaching special teams. Nebraska’s next game is homecoming on Oct. 1 against Indiana , a 6:30 kickoff time for that one was announced on Monday.