Photo Credit: John S. Peterson.

Nebraska Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander Dismissed

September 18, 2022

Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has been relieved of duties.

Interim head coach Mickey Joseph made the announcement in a statement on Sunday afternoon. Special teams coordinator Bill Busch will coordinate the defense for the remainder of the season.

“We appreciate Erik and the work and dedication he has given to our football program,” Joseph said. “At this time, I feel that it is in the best interest of the Nebraska football program to take the leadership of the defense in another direction and decided Bill Busch will take over as defensive coordinator.”

Nebraska’s defense ranks 128th in the country through four games, allowing 514 yards per game. Oklahoma tallied 580 yards in the 49-14 contest on Saturday.

Following the game, Joseph said no other changes would be made in the coaching staff until he looked at film.

“I cannot see that right now,” he said of changes above the player level. “I do not know if I will be able to see that tomorrow, but I cannot see that right now.”

Joseph and former head coach Scott Frost expressed frustrations with the defense at different points through the first four games. Nebraska allowed 528, 306 and 642 yards, respectively, in the three games before Oklahoma.

In his introductory press conference, Joseph said the team needed to address gap integrity, Those problems were not adequately addressed in the Oklahoma game.

“We have to be in our gap and we have to tackle,” Joseph said after the game. “It is simple. You have to be in your gap and you have to tackle, and it was not there today.”

Chinander was a longtime coaching partner with Frost. They were on staff at Oregon together before Frost was hired at UCF. Chinander followed frost to Orlando to become defensive coordinator. Chinander then followed Frost to Nebraska.

Defenses coached by Chinander ranked in the top 20 nationally in takeaways in the previous eight seasons. Twenty-six Huskers earned All-Big Ten honors during Chinander’s time as defensive coordinator.

In January, Nebraska extended Chinander’s contract through Dec. 31, 2023. That came with a $50,000 raise, upping his salary to $850,000.

But the defense showed vulnerabilities last season. Then came a historically bad start to this season. So Chinander was removed a week after Frost.

This is the first personnel decision Joseph has made as interim head coach. Athletic director Trev Alberts said in his press conference announcing Frost’s dismissal that the athletic department supported Joseph in staffing decisions.

“Mickey Joseph is the head coach, and if he chooses to make some of those additional changes, we will support those changes as well,” Alberts said.

There’s no word on who will fill the new full-time assistant coach vacancy. Joseph will address the media on Tuesday.

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