Bill Busch is a constant change. He’s a familiar face rarely in the same position. He’s logged thousands of miles on a perpetual return to Nebraska.
On Sunday he received his latest position: defensive coordinator at Nebraska.
Busch started the year as the Huskers’ special teams coordinator. He shifted to defensive coordinator this week when Nebraska fired former defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
“Chinander is a good man and a good coach, but the numbers did not add up,” head coach Mickey Joseph said on Tuesday. “I did not see us getting better. For four weeks, I did not see us getting better from week one to week four. I had to make a decision, the best decision for the kids because it is about the boys, so I had to make the best decision for the boys.”
Busch will detail the defense, working further on fundamentals, Joseph said. He’ll also take over coaching safeties and nickels, just as Chinander did in the week after former head coach Scott Frost’s firing. Joseph said he trusted Busch based upon experience.
The Pender, Neb., native and Nebraska Wesleyan graduate was a defensive analyst at Nebraska in 2021 before moving into the special teams coordinator role. Before that he spent three seasons as the safeties coach at LSU. He was at Rutgers for two seasons before that, serving as defensive backs coach both years and co-defensive coordinator one season. In 2015 he was in charge of defensive quality control at Ohio State. He was at Wisconsin the three seasons before that coaching defensive backs and special teams. Busch was at Utah State for four seasons total, two as defensive coordinator and two as special teams and safeties coach.
All that followed his initial stretch as special teams coordinator and assistant coach at Nebraska from 2004-07.
“I met Bill in 2018 when he came to us at LSU,” Joseph said on Tuesday. “He spent a lot of time with Dave Aranda. Dave Aranda is probably one of the best D coordinators in the country. He is going to detail it. He is going to take it step-by-step. He is going to make sure the fundamentals are solid.”
Busch worked with Aranda at Utah State, Wisconsin and LSU. Aranda took over as the head coach at Baylor before the 2020 season.
Schematically, the defense won’t see wholesale change at this point. There’s simply not enough time for that. Coaches and players alike just have this first bye week before preparing for a home tilt against Indiana on Oct. 1. Joseph anticipates terminology remaining consistent and the defensive playbook to possibly shrink under new leadership.
“Bill is built for this. He’s sharp, he’s going to be detailed, and his qualities – he’s a really good football coach, and he’ll take care of it,” Joseph said. “I understand and Bill understands what I want. We spent time together at LSU and we talked a lot when we were at LSU.
“He was the safety coach, I was the receivers coach, so we got to compete against each other and share notes and get at each other on the field. Some people think we don’t like each other, but we do. We just get after each other on the field.”
There’s a lot for Busch to get after. Nebraska is ranked No. 128 out of 131 FBS teams by allowing 514 yards per game. The Huskers allowed over 1,200 offensive yards between the most recent losses to Georgia Southern and Oklahoma.
This move comes with beneficial bye-week timing. Players get an opportunity to reset without game preparation and learn, along with coaches, in new roles. Joseph said he challenged the Huskers to compete in practice this week.