Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph told media members on Thursday that the Huskers are starting to take on his mentality and buy into a belief of winning.
A month into his stead to right the ship and make the Huskers as successful as possible, Joseph said the team is consolidating under one united vision — the head coach.
“My makeup is to be aggressive and right now they’re believing they can do it,” Joseph said. “They’ve bought into what I’ve asked them to do, what the coaches have asked them to do. So you can see smiles on their faces, you don’t see doubt in their eyes. You don’t see doubt in their body language.”
Joseph once again complimented Purdue and its veteran leadership. Purdue poses Nebraska its stiffest test since Oklahoma and toughest of the Big Ten season so far. The Boilermakers are senior-led and mature in their engine and across the skill positions.
Nebraska, meanwhile, will take a few banged up players to West Lafayette, Indiana. Joseph said cornerback Quinton Newsome and linebacker Luke Reimer will travel with the team but each player’s involvement will be a game-time decision. Rahmir Johnson will be available to play. Tight end Travis Fidone won’t return to the field this season, Joseph confirmed.
“I don’t want to take a chance with him,” Joseph said. “But he’s really moved well right now and he’s in a good spot right now.”
Joseph contextualized comments offensive coordinator Mark Whipple made on Wednesday about the offensive line not practicing well last week ahead of Rutgers. This coaching staff holds a high standard for its players and coaches are honest with players on their abilities. But Joseph agreed with Whipple that the offense bounced back this week and practiced well.
Following a fourth-quarter filled with successful coaching decisions, Joseph said he’s learning something new about being a head coach every day. He also relies upon his family, an assembly of assistant coaches (some with head coaching experience) and mentors like Dr. Tom Osborne for feedback and learning more coaching aspects.
“Every day I learn a lot on the job about this position,” he said. “I’m still not the guy that has all the answers. I think the guys that think they have all the answers know nothing.
“I’m still open to suggestions from my staff because that’s why they’re there. They’re there to help me. And they’re doing a wonderful job of helping me in this position.”
Joseph circled back to a joke Whipple made a week earlier about pushing the head coach out of the coaches’ locker room. He laughed that they won’t kick him out. He’ll poke his head into meetings and want to talk with position coaches because “nobody wants to be your friend when you’re the head coach.”
Despite Nebraska’s harsh opening to the season and the termination of former head coach Scott Frost, just one member of the team has entered the transfer portal so far. Joseph said it shows those here love Nebraska and playing in Lincoln. He also said relationships between assistant coaches, himself and other players build meaningful connections.
“Sometimes it’s bigger than football,” the head coach said. “I think that our kids can see that and be happy that they’re buying in.”
Joseph acknowledged the slogging schedule. The Huskers started the first week of August and hardly faced a normal week since. A second bye week awaits them on the other side of their Saturday business trip.