Mickey Joseph wants Nebraska head coaching job beyond this season

Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports
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LINCOLN, Neb. — Mickey Joseph said Tuesday that he wants to be Nebraska’s next head football coach and not just the interim guy for the next nine games.

Joseph met with the media for the first time since athletic director Trev Alberts asked him to lead the program the rest of the season following the firing of Scott Frost on Sunday.

“I think when you accept the job as interim head coach, that’s the opportunity you’re working for, to become the head coach,” Joseph said. “But we understand what goes along with this profession. It’s wins and losses, and that’s what it’s going to depend on.”

Joseph, 54, opens his stint as interim head coach with a home game against former conference rival and sixth-ranked Oklahoma (2-0) on Saturday. The Huskers (1-2) have lost 18 straight against Top 25 opponents.

Joseph played quarterback at Nebraska under Tom Osborne from 1988-91, has worked at all levels of college football and was receivers coach and assistant head coach at LSU before joining the Cornhuskers’ staff this year. He’s best known for his abilities to recruit and develop NFL talent.

Alberts said he told Joseph he planned to do an exhaustive coach search. The expectation is that money will be no object because of the huge increase in cash coming to Big Ten schools when the $1 billion-per-year conference television contract begins in 2023.

“We will see how the season unfolds, but I think we have an opportunity to hire an outstanding coach to lead our program,” Alberts said. “I would love to see Mickey grow into that, and we will just see where it goes. We will do a national search and if at that point, if Mickey is an obvious candidate, he will be part of that conversation as well.”

Joseph is the first Black head coach at Nebraska, interim or permanent, in any sport.

“I haven’t really thought about that because I’ve been a football coach, I’ve been a Black football coach, all my life,” he said. “I’m more concerned about the boys and getting the boys ready to play on Saturday. It’s bigger than me.”

Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida, told The Associated Press he expects Nebraska to take Joseph’s candidacy seriously.

“Nebraska should give him a hard look with the understanding that turning the program around that quickly is a difficult situation,” Lapchick said. “Measuring his success can’t only be measured on the wins and losses he has but the relationships with the players, how hard they play, how the team congeals under his leadership.”

Turner Gill, also a Black former Nebraska assistant and quarterback under Osborne, was a finalist for the Cornhuskers’ job that went to Bo Pelini in 2007. Gill went on to become head coach at Buffalo, Kansas and Liberty.

Lapchick said the Nebraska athletic department has done diversity and inclusion training since the 1990s. Most other schools, he said, didn’t provide such training until after the death of George Floyd in 2019.

“I know the fact (Joseph) is the first doesn’t mean they weren’t trying to do that before,” he said. “I am very personally pleased – both wanting the best for Nebraska football but also changing what’s going on around America in general in light of the racial reckoning of the past several years and just the history of sport in America.”

Lapchick, who in 1984 helped found the pioneering Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, publishes an annual report card on racial and gender hiring practices and is a leading voice on diversity and inclusion in athletics.

Not including Joseph, there are eight Black head football coaches this season among the 65 Power Five schools, including Notre Dame. There are three in the Big Ten.

The fact Joseph has not been a head coach or coordinator at the Football Bowl Subdivision level doesn’t work in his favor, Lapchick said.

“If that disqualifies him, that would tell me his candidacy was not genuine from the beginning,” Lapchick said, noting that Joseph will have at least nine games of experience at the end of the season.

This week’s NCAA strength-of-schedule report shows Nebraska has the 20th-toughest remaining schedule based on its opponents’ combined record of 15-4.

“We’ve got nine games left, right?” Joseph said. “As a coach, you’ve got to stand up and say we’re trying to win nine games. But we’re not worried about nine games right now. We’re worried about this game this week.”

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.