Old acquaintances

When the Nebraska Cornhuskers play host to Southern Miss this Saturday, Golden Eagles head coach Todd Monken will feel like he's at a coaching reunion.

When the Nebraska Cornhuskers play host to Southern Miss this Saturday, Golden Eagles head coach Todd Monken will feel like he's at a coaching reunion.

Back in 2005 at LSU, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini served as the Tigers' defensive coordinator, Huskers' defensive coordinator John Papuchis was a coaching intern and secondary coach Terry Joseph was a graduate defensive assistant. Patrolling the sideline with those three was Monken, who served as a wide receivers coach.

"I know a number of the guys on their staff and [Pelini] has a great staff," said Monken during Monday's press conference. "Bo does a great job, as good a coach as you'll find and I consider him a friend in the profession. I'm excited to see those guys"

While they all worked together at one point, since departing from the program they all once called home, each coach has taken a different route to where they are now.

This is Monken's first year in charge at Southern Miss. After leaving LSU following the 2006 season, the 47-year old coach went to the NFL where he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars staff as a receivers coach and then took over as quarterbacks coach. He returned to the college scene in 2011 after accepting the offensive coordinator position at high-powered Oklahoma State.

While Monken was navigating the coaching spectrum post-LSU, Pelini's career after LSU featured just one stop – his current job. The Ohio State alumnus took over as head coach at Nebraska after leaving the Tigers in 2007. Since serving as the main guy in Lincoln, Pelini has amassed a 50-20 record and 29-11 conference mark (12-4 in Big Ten, 38-7 in Big 12).

Monken would love to establish himself as Pelini has done, but he'll have a much taller task taking over a program like Southern Miss compared to Nebraska. However, Pelini likes what he sees from his former co-worker.

"Good football coach, I know Todd, obviously I worked with him for three years and I know his family really well," said Pelini during his weekly press conference. "He will do a really good job down there. He has a great attitude -tough guy, so his team will play hard and be sound in what they do."

Similar to Pelini, Papuchis made just one stop after interning as a graduate assistant at Louisiana State University. He joined the staff in 2008 as a defensive ends and special teams coach. He then took over the defensive linemen in 2011 before landing the role of defensive coordinator last season.

Joseph left LSU in 2009 for another SEC school. At Tennessee, Joseph coached the secondary and served as a recruiting coordinator. Following two seasons in Knoxville, the Northwestern State graduate headed to Lincoln to coach the same position.

Saturday will be a cool moment for all four guys to reminiscent about their past days and to catch up, but like every competitive sport, as soon as their two squads take the field, it'll be nothing but business as usual.

*** Posted by Josh Harvey***


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