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Brian Kelly, Mickey Joseph and LSU's impact on Nebraska's search for an assistant coach

Brian Kelly, Mickey Joseph and LSU's impact on Nebraska's search for an assistant coach

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Sam McKewon and Jimmy Watkins dive into a massive week of coaching changes across college football and what may be on the horizon with new hires for Nebraska's staff. They also look at Husker basketball just days away from opening Big Ten conference play.

LINCOLN — Mickey Joseph, near the top of Nebraska’s assistant wish list, will likely at least have a conversation with the new coach at his current school.

As of Tuesday night, Joseph was still on the recruiting trail for LSU, which hired Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame this week. At Kelly’s introductory press conference Wednesday, he said he’d have conversations with the current coaches on staff. That presumably includes Joseph, who is the receivers coach, assistant head coach and one of LSU’s top recruiters.

Though national reports suggest Kelly is attempting to lure Tommy Rees and Marcus Freeman — his offensive and defensive coordinators at Notre Dame — Kelly told reporters Wednesday he hadn’t decided which current LSU assistants would stay at this point.

“Any narrative out there isn’t coming from conversations I’ve had with them,” Kelly said. “I will get an opportunity to vet all the coaches. They’ve done a great job.”

LSU has had consistent coaching turnover since the end of the 2019 season, when the Tigers won the national title.

Passing game coordinator Joe Brady headed to the NFL and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda became coach at Baylor. Former NU coach Bo Pelini flamed out after one year as defensive coordinator in 2020, and one year later coach Ed Orgeron was out, too, as the Tigers went 11-11 in the past two seasons.

According to multiple stories, Orgeron’s commitment to being a head coach — relative to his personal life — played a factor in his dismissal and did not reflect on the quality of the work done by his assistants. Orgeron finished the regular season but said he and administrators agreed he wouldn’t coach LSU in its bowl game.

“I’m not going to sit here and coach when there’s another guy coming in to be the head coach next week, or the week after, I’m not going to do that,” Orgeron said after LSU upset Texas A&M last Saturday to become bowl eligible.

So for weeks, Joseph and other LSU assistants have essentially been free agents, fulfilling their roles as assistants while having one eye on the job market.

Nebraska’s interest in Joseph is clear, and his role at NU would be significant — receivers coach at least, and perhaps some coordinator-level duties.

With Kelly now at the helm, LSU may seek to retain Joseph, who’s scheduled to make $550,000 next season. If Kelly decides to keep Joseph and is successful, it may change Nebraska’s trajectory in the coaching search.

According to a source, the Huskers may know either way by Thursday morning.

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