Interim HC Mickey Joseph focused on Oklahoma, players in first week
LINCOLN - It’s a new era for Husker football. Scott Frost is out as head coach, Mickey Joseph in as interim head coach.
In his first few days at the helm, Joseph said his focus is getting the team in the right mindset for the future.
“My number one focus, and this staff’s focus, is the players. To make sure they’re okay,” Joseph said. “I thank Trev [Alberts] for showing faith in me to lead this program. This is about Nebraska football. It’s bigger than me or anyone else.”
Joseph is the first African-American head coach in the history of Nebraska athletics, but he reiterates, his focus is the team.
“It’s about Nebraska Football. I haven’t thought about that,” Joseph said. “I’ve been a black football coach all my life. I’m more concerned about the boys and getting the boys ready to play on Saturday.”
It’s been a 48 hours with a lot of change for the program, especially the players. Joseph called the players “champs” in how they’ve handled things.
“The guy that recruited them, sat in their living room isn’t there. I’m sure we’ve all been there,” Joseph said. “But they understand they play for Nebraska, it’s time to move on, and it’s time to get ready for OU on Saturday.”
According to Joseph, there will be changes in how the program operates including practice schedule and practicing tackling. Despite the defense struggling mightily to start the year, giving up a Memorial Stadium record 642 yards to Georgia Southern on Saturday, Joseph says they can’t focus on just one thing to see improvement.
“The number one issue the last three weeks, is we haven’t played well in all three phases of the game,” Joseph said. “Now we need to get better in all three phases of the game, you can’t just focus on offense you can’t just focus on defense, everyone has to pull on the same side of the rope.”
Joseph’s first game is both a challenge, yet an opportunity as the Huskers welcome #6 Oklahoma on Saturday. Joseph, having played Oklahoma as a Husker himself, reminisced on what the Big 8 rivalry was like.
“You knew was a big game. You knew they were going to come in an be just as talented as you, because at that time it was OU, Nebraska, and Colorado. Those were the three top dogs,” Joseph said. “You got excited because you knew you got to come out and show the world that you’re a really good football team.”
Trev Alberts said on Sunday that there will be a national coaching search by the university, but Joseph today did admit, when someone takes a job as an interim head coach, the full time job, is what you’re working for.