Whipple Affects

Nebraska hires new coaches


Photo by Logan Moseley

These three coaches, Mickey Joseph, Mark Whipple and Donovan Raiola, are the three most recent hires for Nebraska football. All three have coaching or playing experience at a higher level, and it is a great sight to see these men as the new faces in Husker Football.

Logan Moseley, Striv Co-Executive Producer

Near the end of the season, Nebraska fired a good chunk of their offensive coaching staff. Four coaches, Matt Lubick, Greg Austin, Ryan Held and Mario Verduzco, all were relieved of their duties, along with head coach Scott Frost taking a massive pay cut. This off-season lined up to be a massive one for the program. 

The firing led to some of the best offensive production the team had seen in a while. While there was some questionable play calling near the end of both the Wisconsin and Iowa games, resulting in a loss, it provided hope for the future of the program.

Then, Husker Nation was hit with a heartbreaker.

 Senior quarterback Adrian Martinez announced that he would be entering the transfer portal. While it was somewhat expected, it confirmed that it would be the end of an era. The team would be rid of Mike Riley, and it would be Frost’s team from here on out. But Martinez leaving was not a huge problem, as redshirt freshman Logan Smothers showed incredible talent against Iowa, going 16/22 with 198 yards. 

To help mature Smothers, Frost brought in the perfect person. Just a day after resigning from his position at Pitt, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Mark Whipple signed with Nebraska, and Whipple’s experience is such a huge asset with over 40 years of coaching.

He also was the coach for Hiesman finalist quarterback Kenny Pickett. It is very easy to compare Pickett to Smothers. Both have arm talent, but can scramble for huge plays in the ground game. While Pickett is just a bit bigger than Smothers, 6’3 220 pounds to Smothers 6’2 190, they both have very similar styles of play. This can be great for the team, as Pickett put up 4,319 total yards, with a 42/7 TD/INT ratio. He also had a 59 yard touchdown in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game, where he did a fake slide, in which the move got banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, similar to Tom Osbourne’s “Fumblerooski.”

To complement the passing game, the school brought in another former Nebraska player, Mickey Joseph. Joseph will be filling the wide receiver coach role, along with the passing game coordinator and assistant coach. This is a huge higher for the Big Red, as Joseph has coached elite talent and his recruiting skills can attribute to that. In his time at Louisiana State University, he coached wide receivers Justin Jefferson, JaMarr Chase, Russell Gage, D.J. Chark and Terrance Marshall, all of whom are carving out solid pro careers. The main reason he got those players was because of his likable personality One of which was, who has the best name of all time, Decoldest Crawford. Crawford was an LSU commit, but with a new regime coming in and Joseph leaving, he has since decommitted. Many people believe that he left because Joseph himself left, and the three/four star receiver has been crystal-balled to be a Husker, with around a 67% chance according to Rivals.com. But Crawford could just be the start of age of receivers, and would be a huge piece in Nebraska’s chance for a championship. 

The final hiring in the start of the remix is offensive line coach Donovan Raiola. Raiola was hired away from the Chicago Bears. While that may not be what you want to hear if you pay attention to the National Football League, this was a great hire. Raiola is a prime example of a coach that is great at the college level, but struggles at the NFL. Raiola played in the physical Big Ten, spending his collegiate career at Wisconsin, so he can bring in experience to help the team. Raiola was then picked up by the then St. Louis Rams, bounced around a few teams, but then began his coaching career. Raiola also brings us an untapped market. Being from Illinois, and his nephew being a highly sought after recruit, Nebraska can finally get into the rust belt for football, which can produce some of the best talent. This is huge for Nebraska, as they can try and snag some high value players right under the bluebloods of the Big Ten, like Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St. and Penn St. 

While there are still a few more spots needed to be filled like a special teams coordinator, not seen since 2020, this coaching class is looking great. The problem many people saw was all of Frost’s staff were yes men, and bringing in fresh blood can help with that problem. This will also help the defense, as Nebraska had struggled with time of possession. The bar has been set high for the Cornhuskers, and for the first time in a long time, I am excited to watch Nebraska football.