Mickey Joseph coached one of the best wide receiver groups in college football history. In five seasons at LSU he tutored six NFL draft picks. He won a national championship in 2019.
So the new Husker assistant brings credibility to the wideout room in Lincoln.
“The only way you’re going to play as a receiver for the University of Nebraska is you’re going to earn it,” Joseph said. “And you’re going to earn it during the week.
“You’re not gonna practice bad Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then come Saturday, oh, here comes Superman. That’s not happening. We’re gonna practice. We’re gonna work. We’re gonna do things the right way. And then we’re gonna get on the field on Saturday.”
NU’s receivers coach, passing game coordinator and associate head coach said players who practice lazily and think they’ll perform on game day are like two-by-fours. “They’ll win you two and they’ll lose you four.”
Joseph spoke to Adam Carriker on The World-Herald’s “Carriker Chronicles” in his first interview as a Husker assistant and shared his philosophy on a variety of topics, including recruiting.
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“I do believe that Kirby Smart said it best: ‘Coaching can’t outcoach recruiting.’”
Joseph said “we had dudes” at LSU.
“We had a Heisman-winning quarterback (Joe Burrow). We had a Biletnikoff-winning receiver (Ja’Marr Chase). We had a first-round running back (Clyde Edwards-Helaire). We had another first-round receiver (Justin Jefferson). We had a second-round receiver (Terrace Marshall). ... So recruiting is a big thing.”
Joseph said he works hard to build connections with recruits and their families.
“I stress to them that everybody is gonna have buildings, everybody is gonna have stadiums. It’s about the people in the building. It’s about the secretary. It’s about the video guy. It’s about the nutritionist. It’s about the strength coach. It’s the people in the building that make the football team go. I try to open up their eyes to that.”
In more than 20 years of coaching, Joseph has also learned to evolve and modify his methods.
“Seven years ago, I wouldn’t take a phone call from a parent. Then I thought about it. I said, ‘You know what, I sat in this parent’s house and told them I’m going to take care of their kid. But when their kid doesn’t play well or doesn’t get in the game, how many snaps that the parent wants, I don’t take the phone call.’ You know what? That’s not fair.
“Let me man up.”
At Nebraska, Joseph sees a special place worth selling. During his introduction this week, he reconnected with old friends like Kenny Wilhite and Ron Brown, who’s barely aged in 30 years, Joseph said. He met the returning Husker receivers.
“What I got from that meeting was that they were eager,” Joseph said. “It was a fresh start for them, just like it’s a fresh start for me.
“We agreed up front that we’re gonna be totally open with each other and not hold anything on our chest. If something happens, we immediately address the problem and we don’t leave the elephant in the room. We want to be the engine that makes this team move.”
Joseph regretted LSU’s struggles the past two seasons — 5-5 in 2020, 6-6 in 2021 — but looks forward to coaching at his alma mater. His parents always appreciated how Nebraska took care of him when he came to Lincoln in 1988.
Joseph said Scott Frost is moving the program in the right direction.
“I wanted to come back and I wanted to help him.”