Quantcast

Huskers promote Papuchis to defensive coordinator

By Eric Olson

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 22 2011 5:16 p.m. MST

LINCOLN, Neb. — John Papuchis was promoted to defensive coordinator at Nebraska on Thursday and Rick Kaczenski of Big Ten division rival Iowa was hired as the new defensive line coach.

Coach Bo Pelini announced the moves Thursday, more than two weeks after former coordinator Carl Pelini was hired as head coach at Florida Atlantic.

The 33-year-old Papuchis has been at Nebraska four seasons and is an original member of Bo Pelini's staff. In addition to coaching the defensive line, he has been special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator.

"John Papuchis is an outstanding coach in every area — on the field, in the meeting room, as a recruiter — and he is more than prepared to take the next step in his coaching career," Pelini said in a statement. "He has worked alongside me for seven years, going back to our time together at LSU, and I have complete confidence in his coaching abilities."

Kaczenski coached Iowa's defensive line for five seasons. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz announced Tuesday that Kaczenski had left the Hawkeyes for another job but didn't say where.

Kaczenski, 36, will coach for No. 21 Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl against No. 10 South Carolina on Jan. 2.

"I have great respect for the program at the University of Iowa and their defenses have annually been among the best in the nation," Bo Pelini said. "Rick's track record of developing defensive linemen speaks for itself. When I've watched Iowa's defense and in particular the defensive line, I see players that have great technique and fundamentals, who also play with a high level of intensity."

Injuries decimated Nebraska's defensive line this season, but Papuchis coached a front four that ranked among the nation's best in 2009-10. Ndamukong Suh was Associated Press national player of the year in 2009, and Jared Crick was a two-time all-conference selection before getting hurt this year.

Papuchis also oversaw special teams that included Alex Henery, the most accurate kicker in NCAA history, and Brett Maher, the first player since 2001 to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors as both a place-kicker and punter in the same season.

Kaczenski coached a defensive line that helped Iowa rank sixth nationally in rushing defense and seventh in scoring defense in 2010. The Hawkeyes were in the top 10 in four defensive categories the year before.

Kaczenski helped develop consensus All-America defensive end Adrian Clayborn in 2010. Clayborn and Iowa defensive linemates Christian Ballard and Karl Klug were taken in the first five rounds of the 2011 NFL draft.

Seven of Kaczenski's defensive linemen have been drafted or signed an NFL free agent contract over the past four seasons.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS