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Nebraska Recruiting: How Mickey Joseph Sees Talent Versus Coaching

August 04, 2022

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Hail Varsity recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

Mickey Joseph said something on Monday that caught the attention of many.

“Coaching can’t overcome recruiting.”

Joseph told reporters following Monday’s practice that you can’t win with bad players. You need good players for that.

“I always joke with them and say that I’m not that good of a coach,” Joseph added. “I need talent. I need you to be a talented kid because at the end of the day you’re playing Power Five football.’

“It’s not like kids who give the most effort and the least talented kid is going to win. Most of the time who wins on Saturday is who has the most men but also who has the most talent. You need talent to win. That’s why I’m down in Louisiana.”

Brandon Vogel looked at Joseph as a coach—and the talent he’s recruited since arriving at Nebraska—in a recent recruiting notebook. It’s worth the revisit if you’re curious about the talent discussion that Joseph brought up on Monday.

It’s the age old question, though. Which is more important: talent or coaching?

Pages upon pages of Google searches are dedicated to the topic. The first result when searching “recruiting talent versus coaching” is from 2014, so it really is a question that has been on the minds of many for some time.

The reality is that one cannot exist without the other. While Joseph may joke that he isn’t that great of a coach, he clearly is. His resume speaks for itself. At LSU, he was responsible for developing some of the best receivers in the country. In 2019, for example, he brought together the best group of receivers in SEC history. Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall—LSU’s three starting receivers—combined for an impressive 241 receptions for 3,991 yards and 51 touchdowns.

Let’s look at Chase specifically. He was a 4-star recruit when he arrived at LSU in 2018, but he ended up the 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner, earned first-team All-America honors and set SEC records for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Jefferson was a 3-star prospect who ended up setting an LSU record with 111 receptions and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award alongside Chase.

During his time at LSU, Joseph ended up coaching four receivers that were later selected within the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. That included Jefferson, the 22nd pick in the 2020 draft and Chase, who was the fifth pick in the 2021 draft.

One of the Google searches on talent versus coaching comes from Ohio State’s 247Sports site. It’s titled, ‘In football, talent is crucial; coaching makes the difference.’ That’s probably the best way to put it. Talent is important, as Joseph pointed out, but coaching is too. There’s a reason players followed him from LSU to Nebraska when he made the decision to join the Huskers’ coaching staff.

Good coaches bring out the best in their players, no matter how talented they are when they walk in the door. Do you need talent to win? Sure, Joseph isn’t wrong there. He should give himself more credit though.

Coaching may not be able to overcome recruiting, but it certainly can make a difference.

Recruit Watch

>> Not really recruiting related, but Omaha North was out to see one of its former players at practice.

>> As discussed in yesterday’s notebook, Nebraska is in the running for a commitment from kicker Simon McClannan. Fans will know soon where he is headed.


>> Special teams and Rahmir Johnson. Those were two of the bigger topics of the Huskerspost-practice availability on Thursday.

>> Versatility goes a long way with Huskers running backs coach Bryan Applewhite as he tries to sort through his options this fall camp.

>> Barrett Ruud said he did a poor job of spelling starters Luke Reimer and Nick Henrich in 2021. With the emergence of Eteva Mauga-Clements and Ernest Hausmann among others, he’s hoping to change that in 2022.

>> You can check out all of the videos from Thursday’s post-practice availability here.

>> To mark the return of the I-80 Preview podcast for another season, Brandon Vogel took this very long preview of Nebraska’s offense and made it a podcast.

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