When you are trying to figure out who the linebacker coach of the future will be, at Nebraska it's always good to start with those who have familiarity with the program, and just as importantly, people who Head Coach Bo Pelini has familiarity with right now.
One candidate could be T.J. Hollowell, who serves as an intern with the football team right now. He came to that position at the beginning of this season. Hollowell played under Pelini in 2003, where he saw his best season as a linebacker for the Huskers. During his senior campaign Hollowell notched his career bests in every major category in his final year, outside of total tackles in a game. His 80 tackles on the season almost matched his total from the previous three years combined.
Hollowell is 29 years old
Another candidate and perhaps the one who is considered the odds-on favorite to get offered the position, is former Husker and current Tulane linebackers coach Doug Colman. Before going to Tulane this year Colman spent two seasons at Nebraska as a defensive quality coach.
Prior to Colman going to Tulane, the Green Wave hadn't seen a tackler eclipse the century mark since 2005. That trend was smashed this year by linebacker Trent Mackey, who notched an impressive 124 total tackles, 7.5 of which went for sacks.
Colman was a standout linebacker himself, playing for the Huskers from 1991 through 1995. During that time Nebraska won five conference titles as well as back-to-back national championships. All four bowl games Colman played in were for national titles.
As a pro, Colman became well known for his prowess on special teams as he was voted his rookie year the Special Teams Player of the Year in his first season with the New York Giants. He received the same award from the organization in 1997 and 1998. Perhaps his greatest moment as a special teams weapon was when he, along with the rest of the Tennessee Titans, produced what is still one of the most memorable plays in the history of the AFC playoffs, when the Titans, down by one point with 16 seconds to go in the game,engineered what is now referred to as the "Music City Miracle."
|Colman (right), standing alongside Jason Peter during their 50-10 win over Michigan State.|
On the Bills' kickoff to the Titans, the ball was received, taken to the far right hash as they were facing the end zone, at which point the ball carrier threw the ball back across the field to a waiting player, who along with a convoy of blockers, galloped to the end zone, sealing the miraculous comeback win.
The Titans would face St. Louis in the Super Bowl, where they almost did it again, only this came on a regular play, a pass reception that came just two yards shy of going into the end zone and giving the Titans a shot at the extra point, which if made, would have sent the game into overtime.
In regard to his coaching background, before Colman went to Nebraska, he was an assistant coach in NFL Europe for the Amsterdam Admirals during the 2007 campaign. For five years prior he was the head coach at Absegami High School in Galloway, New Jersey. During that stretch he took the team to 40 wins in five years, the most in that span in school history; three conference championships, at that time the first conference titles that school ever held in football - and a state title in the New Jersey South, Group IV, obviously the first one in school history, as well.
Colman was recognized for his team's success by being named the 2004 and 2005 Cape Atlantic League Conference Coach of the Year, the 2004 National Football Foundation-New Jersey Chapter Coach of the Year and the 2003 Press All-Area Coach of the Year.
It's hard to argue with the credentials of Colman, who also has a solid track record when it comes to being at almost every level of play there is, either as a coach or a player. This year at Tulane proved to be a fine example of his individual prowess, as well.
There will no doubt come a few more names which may be quality, but when you are talking about connections to the Huskers and a pedigree, these two seem to be the most logical first choice. But Colman looks like the clear choice as of right now.