Husker DL Damian Jackson a Finalist for the Armed Forces Merit Award
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Hot Reads: ‘A Direct Correlation with How Much You Win’

January 25, 2019

We're going up-tempo in Hot Reads this morning. In this era if you don't try to use tempo to your advantage at least a little bit you're viewed as a dinosaur. Nobody wants that.

Also, I happened to have four news items I wanted to share a thought or two on rather than one main entry, so here we go. Four for Friday. A four-play drive, but the good four-play drive not the one where you get a first down on the first play then go three-and-out.

At least that's the the hope.

1. DAMIAN JACKSON'S STORY: It's entirely likely that you've already seen the video produced by the U.S. Navy on Huskers defensive lineman Damian Jackson. If you take part in the Nebraska football internet, it was impossible to miss. But if you haven't, go ahead and give it a look.

Jackson's story remains remarkable, and there's some really good visual storytelling going on here, too. Outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt, who spent two years as a coach at West Point, offers some valuable insight on Jackson as do strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval and defensive line coach Mike Dawson. But it was something that Scott Frost said that actually forced me to grab a notebook and pencil.

"How tight a team is has a direct correlation with how much you win," he says at around the 6:20 mark of the video.

Given all the time a coach has to spend giving interviews, it's hard for them not to repeat themselves. (You could also argue it's a good thing if they do. If you're constantly hearing the same thing, it's probably a good indication there's an underlying philosophy there.) I don't think I'd heard that one from Frost before, but it's a keeper.

And one obviously modeled by Damian Jackson.

2. A FAMILIAR PATH: Bob Diaco is headed to Louisiana Tech to be the Bulldogs' new defensive coordinator. Something about this move felt familiar to me.

To recap, Bob Diaco was hired as Nebraska's defensive coordinator on Jan. 14, 2017. He was basically brought in to revive a coaching tenure that was trending downward. When that tenure didn't turn around and the head coach was fired, Diaco lost his job as Nebraska's defensive coordinator after just one season. Sound familiar? There's more.

Diaco's next stop is Oklahoma, where he eventually becomes the Sooners' co-defensive coordinator. That gig, too, is just one season long. Feeling the deja vu yet?

Next stop: Louisiana. Maybe there have been others, but I only know of one other person who has been a defensive coordinator in the states of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Louisiana within about a 25-month window.

Aaron Babcock
One of the Nebraska-to-Oklahoma-to-Louisiana pioneers.

The only logical conclusion to draw here is that Diaco is on the path to becoming Nebraska's head coach.

3. GIVE IT A GRADE: Athlon's Steve Lassan handed out grades for college football's first-year coaches in 2018. Frost and Nebraska earned a B+.

That feels about right to me, though it is sort of hard to quantify the 2018 season when you stop and think about it. A 4-8 record made the whole grade range realistic for Nebraska depending on who was doing the grading. In Lassan's case, he stuck with everything outside the raw win total, even citing the Huskers' jump in the S&P+ rankings, which is probably the more accurate view.

Just like with most of the way-too-early top 25s, Nebraska is the only team with a losing record to rank this high. Florida's Dan Mullen finished at the top of the class, Florida State's Willie Taggart the bottom.

4. DECISION TIME: 3-star wide receiver Charles Njoku‍ of New Jersey is set to announce his college choice at 6 p.m. CT tonight. The Huskers are in the mix here and I think getting a wide receiver is still a priority for Nebraska in what's left of this 2019 recruiting cycle, but the Huskers will have to beat out UCLA and Chip Kelly.

Nebraska hosted Njoku on Jan. 11. UCLA, however, got the more recent visit on Jan. 18. Red pill or blue pill, Njoku's decision will at least offer the Huskers a little clarity as the days remaining in this cycle dwindle.

And it certainly looks like, based on the resources devoted, that they have another wide receiver they are pretty high on. 

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