ORLANDO, FL - First year Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis finds himself in the same place his current job started.
A defensive line coach 13 months ago, Papuchis was promoted to coordinator when Carl Pelini accepted the job as head coach at Florida Atlantic last year, almost a month before Nebraska’s Capital One Bowl matchup with South Carolina. It didn’t take long for Bo Pelini to promote his former graduate assistant, making his first game in a new position against the Gamecocks.
“Everything happened so fast a year ago, I knew there was so much to learn, but I was just excited that first game and opportunity,” said Papuchis. “I was very full of energy in the first game, maybe too much at times. I think a little calm and clarity helps in adjustments that needed to be made.”
Papuchis enters his first year anniversary game with the No. 1 ranked passing defense in the country. While his squad struggled at times with teams like: UCLA, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, they also had runs of solid performances.
“I think one of the roles I never had before was the on the field adjustments that have to take place in a very rapid fashion on game day,” said Papuchis. “I have always been in the box my whole career. That was different and took a couple games to get used to.
“We talked about it a little bit (staying in the box), but the way I saw it, Ross (Els) does a really good job big picture wise with run fits. I think the secondary coach being up in the box to see the routes is important, so it made the most sense for the guy who is making all the adjustments front to back to be on the field and that’s the role I play.”
The first-year coordinator also learned the public spotlight and scrutiny from fans and media would be higher in the new position.
“I made a conscience decision to get rid of my Twitter about mid-way through the year after the Ohio State game,” said Papuchis. “I thought that wasn’t good for anybody for me to read that.
“They can write whatever they want, but I don’t need to look at it.
“The thing is, people think that I deleted it because I didn’t like the negativity after the Ohio State game. That wasn’t really true. It was more about the fact after the Wisconsin game, I read through some of the tweets that were so positive and after Ohio State I read some of them that were so negative – at the end of the day, it’s a waste of time.”