January 29, 2015

Riley continues to round out his coaching staff

Danny Langsdorf (photo/New York Giants)

Danny Langsdorf, NU’s new offensive coordinator (photo/New York Giants)

Nebraska Head Football Coach Mike Riley added four assistant football including offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf, running backs coach Reggie Davis, defensive line coach Hank Hughes, and secondary coach Charlton Warren, who will return for his second season. Warren helped put together a defense that was pretty solid against the pass. Langsdorf was quarterbacks coach for Eli Manning of the New York this season, but prior to that he was Riley’s offensive coordinator for nine seasons at Oregon State. Reggie Davis worked the last four seasons under Jim Harbaugh at San Francisco. Hank Hughes is a 36 year coaching veteran.

Langsdorf’s Oregon State offenses were regularly among the most productive in the Pac-12 Conference, and nine of OSU’s top 13 single-season yardage outputs came under Langsdorf’s coaching. Langsdorf also worked with Riley at Oregon State in 1997 and 1998, before stints in the professional ranks with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos and the New Orleans Saints.

Warren will be in his second season at Nebraska as the secondary coach in 2015. His 2014 secondary helped the Huskers rank among the nation’s top defense against the pass. Nebraska ranked fifth nationally in pass efficiency defense, and held nine of 13 opponents to less than 50 percent passing and ranked second nationally in opponent pass completion percentage.

Davis spent the 2014 season as San Francisco’s offensive line coach, following three seasons working as the tight ends coach.

Hank Hughes comes to Nebraska after spending the 2014 season as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Cincinnati under Head Coach Tommy Tuberville. A 36-year veteran of the coaching profession, Hughes has served as a defensive line coach for 27 of those seasons.  Hughes’ one season at Cincinnati followed a 13-year tenure on the defensive coaching staff at the University of Connecticut. With the Huskies, Hughes served as the defensive line coach for all 13 seasons and was the defensive coordinator for four years, while he also served as assistant head coach from 2005 to 2010.

Suh emotional after loss, Burkhead breaks big run as both former NU stars lose playoff games

Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh

It was not a good day yesterday for former NU players in the NFL.

Earlier in the day Rex Burkhead and the Cincinnati Bengals were another first round exit team. The Bengals have yet to win a playoff game since 1990. 26-10 loss at Indy. Burkhead had one carry for 23 yards. Also had three catches for 34 including a 26 yard gain. Burkhead had nine carries during the regular for 27 yards. Almost topped his season total with his one playoff run.

In the late game, Detroit let Dallas come back for a 24-20 win. Ndamukong Suh, reinstated after winning his appeal for a one game suspension, had two of the Lions six sacks, two tackles for loss and two hits on Tony Romo. Suh was emotional after the game.

Watch Suh’s press conference

Cotton led Cornhuskers face biggest test of the season

Barney Cotton says he has his team ready for the Holiday Bowl

Barney Cotton says he has his team ready for the Holiday Bowl

With Bo Pelini gone and the Mike Riley era set to begin at Nebraska football following the Holiday Bowl, interim coach Barney Cotton is set to leave his stamp on Cornhusker football for one game.

All eyes will be on the Husker tonight to see how they respond to a 2014 football season that brought hope early in the year, only to see continued disappointments in the big games which led to the firing of Bo Pelini.

The task for 25th ranked Nebraska when they face 24th ranked USC will not be easy.  The Trojans (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) ended their regular season with a 49-14 home win over Notre Dame on Nov. 29. Cody Kessler threw for 372 yards and six touchdowns.  As we’ve mentioned, Kessler completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 3,505 yards, 36 TDs and four interceptions, finishing with the nation’s fourth-highest passer rating at 168.8, breaking Mark Sanchez’s school record of 164.6 from 2008.

Are the Huskers pass defense numbers as good as they look on paper?  Nebraska finished third nationally with a 100.6 opponents’ passer rating, giving up 12 TDs while coming away with 12 interceptions. However, eight of the 11 FBS teams they faced finished 51st or worst in pass efficiency.

Nebraska is 25-25 in bowl games, including a 2-1 mark in the Holiday Bowl. It lost its last appearance 19-7 against Washington in 2010.  USC is 32-16 all-time in bowls, excluding two vacated games, and 8-2 in its last 10.

Kickoff for the Holiday Bowl is set 7 p.m. CT and can be watched on ESPN.

USC’s offense will provide plenty of challenges for NU’s defense (AUDIO)

Nathan Gerry and the Nebraska secondary will be challenged (photo/NU athletics)

Nathan Gerry and the Nebraska secondary will be challenged (photo/NU athletics)

USC QB Cody Kessler, a finalist for the Unitas Golden Arm Award and Manning Award, is having the most efficient season ever by a Trojan quarterback, and is among the nation’s leaders in passing efficiency, completion percentage, TD passes, completions and passing yards while hitting over 70% of his throws with 36 TDs and just 4 interceptions.

USC has their version of Ameer Abdullah. All-Pac-12 first team TB Javorius Allen, a 1,000-yard runner who has 8 100-yard rushing outings this year, leads the league in all-purpose yards and is the only player in the nation with 12 games of 100-plus yards from scrimmage

Defensive coordinator John Papuchis points to three things that make Kessler a good quarterback and while the offensive numbers are definitely impressive for USC, but Papuchis says his secondary is pretty darn good.

Listen to the Big Red Report

Gregory and Pierson-El named FWAA All-Americans

De'Mornay Pierson-El

De’Mornay Pierson-El

Junior defensive end Randy Gregory and freshman wide receiver/punt returner De’Mornay Pierson-El were both named second-team All-Americans by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

Nebraska had a pair of players selected to the FWAA All-America teams for the first time since 1997, when three Huskers were honored. The FWAA has released its All-America teams for 71 seasons and Pierson-El is the first Husker freshman to be recognized by the organization. Overall, Pierson-El is just the second Nebraska underclassmen to earn FWAA All-America honors, joining halfback Bobby Reynolds, who was a first-team selection as a sophomore in 1950. Pierson-El and Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine were the only two freshmen named an FWAA All-American.

Pierson-El earned a spot as the second-team punt returner after leading the nation with 589 punt return yards, more than 200 yards higher than any other player in the nation. He returned three punts for a touchdown, which tied for the national lead. Pierson-El was also named a second-team All-American by USA Today, in addition to earning freshman All-America accolades from several organizations.

A two-time All-Big Ten selection, Gregory was honored by the FWAA one day after garnering third-team All-America accolades from the Associated Press. Despite battling injuries throughout his junior campaign, Gregory totaled 50 tackles, including 7.0 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He also blocked two field goals, broke up three passes and had an interception while becoming Nebraska’s first two-time all-conference defensive lineman since Ndamukong Suh.