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Mike Dawson plans to hit the ground running in his return to Nebraska. On Thursday night, he listed all the unique reasons he can.

During a four-minute interview on “Sports Nightly,” the football program’s new outside linebackers coach said he never stopped following the Huskers after leaving them for the NFL’s New York Giants last offseason. And in NU’s 3-4 defense, there’s plenty of blending between linemen — whom he coached in 2018 — and his new group of linebackers.

“Sometimes the D-line can become the edge of the defense or the outside ’backers can become defensive linemen,” Dawson said. “So there’s a lot of crossover that way.”

The one-year return to pro football was a good experience, Dawson said. He worked with talented linebackers in New York, led by Markus Golden and his team-high 13 tackles for loss. Even as the Giants finished 4-12, the assistant said he learned plenty as veteran defensive minds met tirelessly behind the scenes.

“Sometimes when you don’t win as many games, you actually work a lot harder,” Dawson said. “You’re spending your time trying to figure out how to fix it and how to get it right.”

While the coach will be plenty familiar with most of the defensive linemen on the roster — he recruited some of them — the same is true of his new position group, not to mention most of Scott Frost’s coaching staff. He said he’s excited to dive into pass-coverage schemes in addition to the run-based planning that marked his first tour at Nebraska.

“Some (linebackers) will probably be more excited than others,” Dawson said. “I’m OK with that, though. It will be fun getting to work with these guys and getting a different spin on it.”


The 2020 Nebraska football schedule