Open ends in Lincoln

It's a big official visitor weekend with five visitors in Lincoln and one of Nebraska's own commitments on the road to another school. Plus there is the matter of the open defensive coordinator position and Bo Pelini as a possible replacement to Joe Paterno at Penn State. And there's more...

It's always a little crazy going into the dead period, but Nebraska is a little crazier right now than it has been before in years passed. Here are five things that have got me thinking about everything going on in Lincoln.

1. Official visitors:

Yes, this weekend isn't as big as anticipated. There are three names that were on the list that in the end didn't make the trip, but all in all a solid weekend for Nebraska and who they are hosting:

4-Star Linebacker, Torshiro Davis from Shreveport (La.) Woodlawn,

6-foot-3 and 210-pounds committed to LSU

3-Star Defensive Tackle, Vincent Valentin from Edwardsville (Ill.), 6-foot-4 and 315-pounds

3-Star Defensive End, Polo Maukainiu from Euless (Texas) Trinity, 6-foot-6 and 255-pounds

3-Star Linebacker, Jared Afalava from South Jordan (Utah) Bingham, 6-foot-3 and 220-pounds

3-Star Cornerback, Raymond Ford from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra, 5-foot-9 and 165-pounds committed to UCLA

The three that didn't make it are linebacker Brian Nance and cornerbacks Daniel Gray and Kentrell Brice. The chances are good that Nebraska finds a way to get all three in on later weekends in January. It seems that Nance has some issues surrounding not having an ACT score yet, Gray said that he couldn't miss school and Brice would like to make the trip with family.

Westerkamp taking a trip
But not all recruiting news is good news. Nebraska commitment Jordan Westerkamp is taking an official visit to Notre Dame a day after an in-home visit with the Nebraska staff that included Bo Pelini, Tim Beck, Rich Fisher and John Garrison. Westerkamp always talks about Nebraska and it seems that this visit to Notre Dame might have some pressure or appeasement tied to it. First of all, Westerkamp comes from a Catholic school and it seems that some of Westerkamp's family, in particular his mom, is a lifelong Notre Dame fan. There seems like more of a need to make the trip to satisfy those around him. My take is that he will end up a Husker.

2. Announcement of new Defensive Coordinator soon?
Looks like J.P.
This will be a head-scratcher, not because of who is being named as the replacement defensive coordinator following Carl Pelini being named the head coach at Florida Atlantic, but the timing is unusual.

More and more the signs are there that current recruiting coordinator, special team coordinator and defensive line coach John Papuchis will get the nod from Bo Pelini to become the defensive coordinator.

The timing is odd because this seems like a move that is natural despite all of the big time names that Nebraska could have made by bringing in a guy from the outside. There were names like Mike Stoops and Ron Zook out there whose names have been thrown around as possible replacements. Still, nothing really tied them to even interviewing for the job or being in Lincoln to check anything out.

The promotion of John Papuchis makes sense in that he's been brought up in the system under Bo and falls in-line with the recent hires under Bo and that Bo typically hires from people he knows first and could be called loyal to Bo. Like it, love it, hate it, it seems that this is the way that this is going.

Who gets hired?
With the promotion from within there will still be a hire that needs to be filled with the hole on the current staff. Odds on favorite here might be Vince Marrow, who is currently a graduate assistant in Lincoln, helping out with the tight ends. Marrow knows Bo Pelini personally having played football with Bo back in Youngstown at Cardinal Mooney High. Marrow might be better suited to coach tight ends, but he does have prior high school head coaching experience.

3. Bo on the move?
I am not creating the news, I am only reporting it. A recent article by, lists Bo Pelini at number three on thelist of candidates and as one of seven possible head coachingcandidates at Penn State to take over for Joe Paterno. This has been met with mixed reactions however the writer, Mike Poorman, uses some interesting language when it comes to describing Bo as a possible coaching candidate. Poorman reports about the interest by Bo in the job at Penn State is: "interest is supposedly earnest." Hate to say it folks, but I seriously doubt on the first two candidates the Poorman lists so listen close to Bo's name being possibly thrown around.

Another head coaching search
I am not saying that Nebraska will be filling a head coaching vacancy anytime soon in Lincoln...but I can say that I don't like the idea of it. I remember Lincoln being a career job and being a job that people wanted to have. What further adds to what I would call a general disappointment from me is the news of Paul Rhoads at Iowa State inking a 10 year, 20-million dollar contract extension. Now that is a career job contract. That is a job that a person wants to have.

4. NCAA expands on total number of Graduate Assistants
New rule will expand number of G.A.'s on staff
Starting in August of 2012 a staff can now carry four graduate assistants as opposed to two. The two positions are currently being filled by Marrow and also by T.J. Hollowell. Both Hollowell and Marrow are in their first seasons as G.A.'s in Lincoln and Marrow is a name that I threw out as a possible full-time hire to backfill for Carl Pelini if John Papuchis gets the defensive coordinator position. That would make room for three possible G.A. spots. Here are three names to pay attention to: Joe Ganz, Brendan Stai and Eric Warfield. All three are working as either paid or volunteer coaching positions right now in Lincoln in some degree. All three could provide help at positions that could be used immediately.

5. Nebraska recruits in search of back to back titles
State finals this weekend in Texas
What a season for Tommy Armstrong. The signal-caller and Nebraska commitment from Cibolo (Texas) Steele enters the state championship with a streak of zero interceptions and zero fumbles lost all season. That is just incredible to think about and not even mentioning the level of competition that Armstrong plays at in Texas.

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