Stryker Pregame Perspective: Verduzco gets nod as top-performing Husker assistant
Scott Frost has dominated discussion of Nebraska football this season, which is to be expected. But Cornhusker fans — who are among the smartest fans in the nation — always keep their eye on the entire coaching staff.
On a gray, cold, windy morning before the NU-Michigan State game, I spoke to red-clad fans as they put hand and foot warmers into their gloves and boots, asking them this question:
“Which Husker assistant coach has done the best job this season?”
Husker fans were very quick in their answers, for the most part — very little fussing or fooling around, as expected. They are students of the game.
Of course, the offense dominated. Relatively few people voted for the defensive side of the ball, although defensive backs coach Travis Fisher got some support, as did defensive coordinator Erik Chinander because “he had nothing to work with,” and inside linebacker coach Barrett Ruud got a hometown-boy-makes-good vote. But it was clear from the outset this would be a two-man race between offensive line coach Greg Austin and quarterback coach Mario Verduzco, although offensive coordinator Troy Walters and running backs coach Ryan Held (“all-around good job, recruiting and everything”) got plenty of support.
Head-to-head, Verduzco prevailed by a 3-to-2 margin over Austin.
Husker fans were obviously impressed with the progress of freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez, but Austin picked up a lot of votes because of the perception he inherited less talent.
Mario Verduzco (quarterbacks): 45
Greg Austin (offensive line): 30
Troy Walters (offensive coordinator): 9
Ryan Held (running backs): 8
Zach Duvall (strength and conditioning): 3
Travis Fisher (defensive backs): 3
Erik Chinander (defensive coordinator): 1
Barrett Ruud (inside linebackers): 1