Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts sat down with Greg Sharpe on Wednesday’s episode of Sports Nightly on the Huskers Sports Network to answer questions and deliver updates. He addressed the elephant in the room right off the bat.
Alberts didn’t have a name or an announcement regarding the current head football coach vacancy. He knew when he fired Scott Frost on Sept. 11 that fan anxiety throughout the season would be high. The search is going as planned and they’re “where we hoped we’d be,” going into the final two games of the season.
“Really pleased with the process, really pleased with the amount of data, the amount of work we’ve been able to do, and looking forward to the day that we can (make an announcement),” Alberts said. “I think we’ve made very good progress.”
Alberts shared candidates and coaches brought in for assistance all pointed to fan support as the No. 1 selling point for the head coaching job. Feedback he received showed there’s more respect for the University of Nebraska than anticipated. The athletic director fielded a fan concern about finding a bargain hire. He assured them that the university is concerned with finding the right person without focusing on price.
“We’re looking for the right fit and we’re not going to make decisions on who we can hire to cost us the least amount of money,” Alberts assured fans.
Another concerned fan called in to ask what the issue has been at Nebraska in the last 20 years. Alberts said it comes down to getting the right people in place and getting them aligned with each other. Alignment and communication are his two focuses with correcting the trajectory of Husker football. The university is consistently reevaluating itself in order to ensure the return of a successful football program.
Alberts hopes to have complete plans for renovations at Memorial Stadium done by next summer. He wants to eventually meet with the executive committee and see what ideas develop. Alberts said it’ll be a while before any new developments come out.
All of those updates followed Alberts’ pride and admiration for current interim head coach Mickey Joseph. The athletic director proudly acknowledged the difficult work Joseph and his staff undertook the last nine games.
“I have been really impressed with his ability to lead in a challenging time,” Alberts said before adding the work on future recruiting is “very meaningful to me.”
Joseph also joined Sharpe on the radio for an hour. He thought the Huskers played hard against a top-tier team in Michigan and thought quarterback Chubba Purdy finally found a rhythm before sustaining his season-ending high ankle sprain. The interim head coach said Logan Smothers is progressing well and Casey Thompson looks like he’ll be ready to play against Wisconsin on Saturday. Thompson missed the last two games with nerve damage in his throwing hand but practiced to some extent every day this week.
All of the freshmen on the team who won’t play in more than four games will take this as a redshirt year, Joseph said. That includes quarterback Richard Torres, who offensive coordinator Mark Whipple previously said has the strongest arm on the team. Joseph likes Torres, and a lot of the freshmen, but want to develop them more. Joseph wants to keep those with more eligibility in the program longer to develop them. He wants to embolden walk ons to push themselves in order to see the field after a few years.
Joseph said the offensive assistant coaches will make sure offensive personnel are in place while Whipple coaches from the booth for the final two games of the season. Whipple, who has coached from the sidelines the majority of his career, said earlier Wednesday he saw the game better in the second half of the Michigan game from upstairs but didn’t feel the rhythm of the game as well.