Big 12: Marvin Sanders
“He’s excited about being able to show his new coach or whoever they fill the position with what type of player he is,” Parker said. “He wants to basically come out there and be a member of the Blackshirts and throw some bones around.”
Jackson, an ESPNU 150 signee and the Huskers' only cornerback in the class, expressed some unhappiness at not being told his position coach, Marvin Sanders, had an uncertain future before signing with the Huskers on Wednesday.
“I think they should've told me before I signed,” Jackson told the Omaha paper on Thursday night. “I didn't have any idea. They broke the guy code.”
Jackson's father said he was contacted by coach Bo Pelini after the paper spoke with his son earlier in the evening. Jackson also said he probably still would have signed with Nebraska had he been told about Sanders' departure before he signed his letter of intent.
I don't think any of this news ever jeopardized Jackson's future at Nebraska, but he's certainly got a complaint that he at least wasn't given a heavy hint that his future coach's job was in jeopardy. Sanders had been off the road recruiting for several weeks, but Jackson himself said he didn't have any idea he would be leaving.
Was it the best idea to air those grievances publicly? Probably not. But it's easy to see why he's at least slightly perturbed when a fan of another program breaks the news to him via Facebook, and not a member of Nebraska's coaching staff.
Ndamukong Suh was the Big 12's best player in 2009. Sam Bradford was its best player in 2008.
Both were the best players in their 2010 rookie class.
The NFL honored Suh and Bradford as respective defensive and offensive rookies of the year.
Suh, already an AP All-Pro and a Pro Bowl starter at defensive tackle (though an injury kept him from playing), earned 48 of the 50 votes for rookie of the year.
“I was fortunate to be able to grasp my role in our scheme and to flourish in it,” Suh said. “I'm just going to keep working hard to improve because I'll never be satisfied.”
Suh finished with 66 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. His 10 sacks were the most among interior linemen.
Bradford, meanwhile, set NFL rookie records for pass completions (354) and attempts (590) and only Peyton Manning topped Bradford's 3,512 yards in his rookie year.
He threw 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
"It means a lot to me when you look at this award and see who has won it in the past." Bradford said. "It reflects what we were able to do as a team this year."
Yet another college all-star game took place on Saturday, the NFLPA All-Star game, formerly known as the Texas vs. The Nation game.
Two Texas products, of course, helped Team Texas beat Team Nation 13-7.
Former Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts led his offense on scoring drives the first two times he played, earning offensive MVP honors for his 9-of-15 passing performance for 105 yards.
Texas defensive lineman Eddie Jones won the game for Team Texas, however, when he stuffed former Miami running back Damien Berry at the 1-yard line with less than a minute to play.
Potts is an interesting case in regards to his NFL future. Tech quarterbacks have had marginal success at best in the NFL, but surely he has to impress a few people with a performance like that.
You'll see the "system" tag thrown on Red Raiders quarterbacks almost reflexively, but don't forget, Potts beat some decent quarterbacks in the passing accuracy competition at the Manning Passing camp before the season. What does that mean when it comes to his NFL future? I guess we'll find out in the next few months. His arm strength and mechanics are far from elite, he wasn't invited to the scouting combine and looks unlikely to be drafted, but I'd be surprised if someone didn't invite him to a minicamp after the draft and gave him a solid look.
Huskers signee Charles Jackson, an ESPNU 150 member and the only cornerback in the 2011 class, found out on Facebook from a stranger on Thursday morning, according to a report by Dirk Chatelain in the Omaha World-Herald.
Thursday night at 8, Jackson still hadn't heard from Sanders, Bo Pelini or anyone else at Nebraska.
“I think they should've told me before I signed,” Jackson said. “I didn't have any idea. They broke the guy code.”
Jackson, one of the nation's top cornerback recruits, looked forward to playing for Sanders, the former Blackshirt whose secondaries the past two years ranked among the best in the country.
Jackson hadn't spoken to Sanders in about three weeks, but Sanders talked to Jackson's dad “about two days ago,” Charles said.
Here's a bit more background on the circumstances surrounding Sanders' resignation on Thursday.
Jackson says he still would have come to Nebraska if he had been informed of Sanders' departure beforehand, but admitted that he didn't "think that was right" and he wanted to know "out of respect."
I get the other side of the argument here from Nebraska's perspective. The circumstances around any coach's departure are going to be sensitive. In Sanders' case, reports indicate it may be especially sensitive.
Additionally, if a coach doesn't know his status but his boss does, it's equally questionable ethics to ask a recruit to keep that kind of a secret from a coach who is recruiting him.
It's an awkward line for sure, and one with a ton of room for debate. It's easy to be sympathetic to both sides. Both are in difficult spots. Was it right or wrong not to tell Jackson that his position coach was leaving? I don't think enough details are definitively known to make any sort of black or white distinction in that area.
But this is no longer about Bo Pelini's sometimes contentious relationship with the media, a topic that resurfaced during Wednesday's awkward teleconference when reporters asked Pelini directly about Sanders' future at Nebraska and he declined to answer.
This is about his relationship with recruits, their families and their coaches, relationships that are infinitely more important to the program than those with persons who cover the team.
I can't speak to the prevalence of negative recruiting in the Big Ten, but if coaches wanted to employ the tactic, situations like this certainly provide ammunition, especially for a coach readying for the fourth year of his first head-coaching job, still gaining a reputation for how his program operates.
It's easy to lose details that complicate the situation like I mentioned earlier when time and distance from the incident grows.
There are still plenty of unanswered questions surrounding Nebraska's coaching staff, but Jackson's comments on Thursday night answer one of the biggest ones.
The answer to why Jackson wasn't told will have a lot to do with how much those relationships are damaged moving forward.
Questions first arose on Wednesday after Indiana coach Kevin Wilson announced that his assistant, Corey Raymond, was leaving to coach the secondary at Nebraska.
Nebraska, however, still employed Sanders at the time. Now, presumably, Raymond might soon be announced as Sanders' replacement.
Pelini declined to answer questions about Sanders' status on Wednesday, but the Lincoln Journal Star reported later in the day that Sanders "may face disciplinary action by the school for a nonfootball issue."
For Nebraska, Sanders might only be the first of a few assistants to leave Pelini's staff after signing 20 recruits on Wednesday.
Sanders, along with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, receivers coach Ted Gilmore and Pelini, did not make their annual appearance at a recruiting dinner in Omaha on Wednesday night.
It should be a very interesting few weeks before spring practice begins in Lincoln.
Earlier this afternoon, Huskers coach Bo Pelini declined to confirm or comment on the supposed hire during his signing day teleconference with local media.
"I have not hired any coaches up to this point," Pelini told reporters. "It's been obvious that we've had a defensive position open for awhile now, but I can say now that no one has been hired yet."
Pelini declined to comment on the status of current Huskers secondary coach Marvin Sanders. Raymond, a former NFL assistant, worked with Pelini at LSU in 2006-07.
- Former Oklahoma State and Oklahoma coach Jimmy Johnson (he also coached some NFL team) is scheduled to be a contestant on the next season of "Survivor," reports Mark Francescutti and Barry Horn of The Dallas Morning News.
- Incoming Kansas State defensive end Adam Davis suffered a back injury in junior college and is facing surgery. He may not make it back on the field.
- Nebraska may be flying more after it moves to the Big Ten, but that doesn't necessarily mean higher expenses, reports Kris Knowlton of the Lincoln Journal Star.
- Colorado made a small profit the last fiscal year, but its new budget will be getting a slight trim, reports Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera.
- This year is Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson's time, writes Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register.
- Ned Seaton at the Manhattan Mercury sheds some light on the legal issues surrounding the Ron Prince buyout case.
- Colorado's thinning receiving corps may get some help in USC's Travon Patterson, who is considering a transfer to Colorado in light of the recent NCAA sanctions, reports Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera.
- The Waco Tribune-Herald has more on Baylor's big offensive line commit, Spencer Drango.
- Bill Haisten at the Tulsa World, with Sam Bradford on the cusp of signing a record-breaking contract, catches up with another Oklahoma quarterback, 2003 Heisman winner Jason White, who is out of football.
- Texas Tech running back Baron Batch could be set up for a big year in the Red Raiders' new offense, writes Terrance Harris at AOL Fanhouse.
- Nebraska DB coach Marvin Sanders says if he held a defensive fantasy draft from his team, he'd draft the center of the Peso defense, Eric Hagg, first.
- The Dallas Morning News had five reasons for optimism yesterday. Today, it's five reasons for concern in regards to the upcoming season for Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
- Oklahoma and Colorado have two of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country, according to The Sporting News' Matt Hayes. Meanwhile, Missouri and Baylor have two of the easiest. (Missouri's a given, but I can't say I agree with Baylor there, considering it's traveling to TCU.)
- Russ Lande at Sports News ranks Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson as the No. 6 QB prospect in the 2011 NFL draft. Four Big 12 running backs are in his top 10: DeMarco Murray, Daniel Thomas, Roy Helu Jr. and Kendall Hunter.
- Von Miller and some of his teammates fired up a few fans in College Station on Tuesday night, reports Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News.
What a perfect way to get out of your post-Christmas blahs than some Big 12 lunch links?
You'll thank me for it later, trust me.
- A panel of 15 college-football players surveyed by the Sporting News unanimously picked Alabama to beat Texas in the Citi BCS National Championship Game.
- The Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton expects a messy divorce in the Mike Leach/Texas Tech suspension saga.
- Former Texas Tech players were vehement in their support for Leach, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal’s Adam Zuvanich reports.
- The Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten writes that Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young, the architect of the Cowboys’ dramatic improvement this season, is in line for a salary bump after the season.
- Urban Meyer’s on-again, off-again situation at Florida has impacted Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma program, the Tulsa World’s Dave Sittler writes.
- Alabama starting cornerback Marquis Johnson and starting offensive lineman James Carpenter missed practice time Monday because of illness or injury, the Tuscaloosa News’ Chase Goodbread reports.
- Blaine Gabbert’s development could help him become the best quarterback in the Big 12 next season, the Kansas City Star’s Mike DeArmond reports.
- Cornerback Ter'ran Benton's comeback from a broken leg and an automobile accident back into Iowa State's starting lineup is detailed by the Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson.
- The Lincoln Journal-Star’s Steve Sipple provides his “Cram Session” Coach of the Year honors to Nebraska secondary coach Marvin Sanders.
- The Omaha World-Herald’s Tom Shatel reflects on the last decade in Nebraska sports.
- Former Nebraska players Tyrone Hughes and Mickey Joseph and Kansas assistant Louie Matsakis are among the applicants for the vacant head-coaching position at Nicholls State, Ken Trahan of New Orleans.com reports.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Bo Pelini's new contract received much of the buzz Monday as the Cornhuskers' second-year coach received a hike that will push his yearly contract to $1.851 million per season.
Lost in that fanfare was the 22.2 percent boost that Nebraska assistant coaches received in the new deal.
The highest-paid assistant will be offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, who will receive a whopping 66.7 percent increase from last season. Watson's new yearly salary will be hiked to $375,000, according to figures obtained by the Lincoln Journal Star. It will make Watson the highest-paid assistant coach in Nebraska football history.
Here's a look at the salaries of Pelini's staff for the 2009 season.
Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson $375,000
Defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Carl Pelini $208,360
Running backs coach Tim Beck $208,360
Tight ends coach Ron Brown $208,360
Offensive line coach/associate head coach Barney Cotton $208,360
Wide receivers coach/assistant head coach Ted Gilmore $208,360
Secondary coach Marvin Sanders $208,360
Linebackers coach Mike Ekeler $150,000
Defensive ends coach John Papuchis $150,000
The collective package will pay Nebraska assistants a total of $1,925,160 -- the highest collective total ever paid to Nebraska assistant coaches. The school said the assistants' new salaries rank sixth among Big 12 teams.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
With several teams taking off for spring break this week and most of the Big 12's attention diverted to the basketball tournaments, it would be easy to turn away from football.
But not here, where lunchtime links are a daily obsession.
- Rich Kaipust of the Omaha World-Herald writes that Nebraska secondary coach Marvin Sanders vows to make his concepts simpler in his second season on Bo Pelini's staff.
- The Lawrence Journal-World has a video report about quarterback Todd Reesing wanting to finish his senior season strongly.
- Former Kansas State coach Ron Prince has a simple explanation for Matt Hayes of the Sporting News on why his program struggled last year. "The reality is, we didn't give Josh (former KSU quarterback Josh Freeman) a lot of help," Prince said.
- Heralded Missouri defensive end Brian Coulter talks to the Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter about increased competiton for playing time among the Tigers' defensive linemen after losing three starters from last season.
- Jeremy Maclin caught the attention of NFL scouts at Missouri's pro day with a strong performance that included faster times in the 40-yard dash than he had at the NFL combine, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
- Matt Hayes and Dave Curtis of the Sporting News analyzes whether Bill Young's arrival will push Oklahoma State's defense to a championship level.
- The Lincoln Journal-Star's Steve Sipple and Brian Christopherson break down Nebraka's battles for playing time at skill positions heading into spring practice.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
|AP Photo/Nati Harnik|
|New Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has been rebuilding the confidence of his defensive players.|
LINCOLN, Neb. -- New Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has lit a fire under his team.
The Cornhuskers were demoralized last season after a disappointing 5-7 season. Their defense particularly struggled, allowing opponents to score 172 points in the final three games.
Nebraska's beleagured defense ranked among the nation's worst teams in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense, turnover margin and sacks. It got so bad at one point that the tradition of awarding "Blackshirt" jerseys to first-team Nebraska defenders was halted.
But Pelini made moving forward his prime emphasis during an introductory session with his team before it began its first fall practice. As such, he said he hasn't watched much game tape of his defense's struggles from last season.
"I know that I'm not a psychologist," Pelini said. "I'm not a guy who can just get them into a room and wipe out any bad feelings or bad memories they've had. As they're taught and they get more comfortable in our system and they develop confidence those things go away."
After the first meeting of the fall camp, it appears that Pelini's magic is working.
"Everybody is pretty excited," junior free safety Ricky Thenarse said. "Last night I couldn't even sleep. That pretty much says it all."
Pelini worked as the Cornhuskers' defensive coordinator in 2003, helping that unit become No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency defense and turnover margin and second in scoring defense.
Secondary coach Marvin Sanders told his group Sunday night that he believes his current group has got as much talent as that storied group.
"Coach Pelini was saying the sky is the limit and the championship is out there for us to go and grab," junior safety Larry Asante said. "He's saying it's not going to be easy and we'll have to put in some hard work. But if we do that, I believe we can get it accomplished."
Asante didn't specify what kind of championship his team could win. But he did say that Pelini's inspiration has helped point them that way.
One of the more interesting items to watch this season will be the Nebraska coaching staff. New coach Bo Pelini seems intent on rebuilding his staff to look like the one he left after his one-game stint as the Cornhuskers' coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl.
Tight ends coach Ron Brown, offensive line coach Barney Cotton and secondary coach Marvin Sanders all coached with Pelini on Frank Solich's final Nebraska staff. None of them has coached at Nebraska since then. Pelini's older brother, Carl, now the Cornhuskers' defensive coordinator, was a graduate assistant on that 2003 Nebraska staff. He worked under Bo, who was the Cornhuskers' defensive coordinator.
Brown will return to coaching after spending the last four seasons as the Nebraska state director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His comeback will begin his 18th season on a Nebraska staff, a figure that ranks him third in coaching service at the school.
Here's a list of the coaches who have worked at their current schools for the most number of years:
And here's a list of coaches who will be making debuts at new schools this season.
Baylor: Phillip Montgomery, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/running backs; Randy Clements, co-offensive coordinator/offensive line; Dino Babers, outside wide receivers; Kendal Briles, inside wide receivers; Brian Norwood, defensive coordinator/safeties; Theo Young, defensive ends; Chris Achuff, defensive tackles; Kim McCloud, cornerbacks.
Kansas: David Beaty, wide receivers; Jim Bob Clements, defensive line.
Kansas State: Warren Ruggiero, quarterbacks; Cornell Jackson, linebackers; Jeff Rodgers, special teams coordinator.
Nebraska: Tim Beck, running backs; John Papuchis, defensive ends; Mike Ekeler, linebackers
Oklahoma: Jay Norvell, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers
Oklahoma State: Trooper Taylor, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers; Glenn Spencer, defensive line; Jason Jones, secondary.
Texas: Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator/linebackers
Texas A&M: Nolan Cromwell, offensive coordinator/wide receivers; Tom Rossley, quarterbacks; Randy Jordan, running backs; Jim Turner, offensive line; Joe Kines, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator; Charles McMillian, co-defensive backs.
Texas Tech: Dennis Simmons, wide receivers; Matt Moore, offensive line; Clay McGuire
, special teams.