LINCOLN — A week’s worth of rumors culminated in a wild afternoon Friday when Nebraska announced a separation with its offensive coordinator then named his replacement three hours later.
The athletic department issued a statement at 3 p.m. that offensive coordinator Troy Walters, who had coached under Scott Frost for two seasons at Central Florida and two at NU, will no longer be with the program. Walters and the Huskers “mutually agreed to part ways,” according to the release.
The mystery of who would succeed the Husker coordinator didn’t last long. The school at 5:59 p.m. tweeted news of the hiring of Matt Lubick, a football lifer who coached with Frost for three seasons at Oregon.
“Matt Lubick is a great addition to our coaching staff,” Frost said Friday in the statement. “I have always wanted to work with Matt again since our days at Oregon together. He is the only person I considered for this position.
“Matt has an innovative offensive mind, provides a veteran presence on our staff and brings a proven track record of success at the Power Five level. Matt and I developed a great relationship working together previously, and I look forward to adding his expertise to our offensive staff.”
Lubick said he is “humbled” by the chance to coach at Nebraska.
“Growing up, I was in awe of Tom Osborne and Bob Devaney’s unmatched run of success,” he said. “It is a special situation for me to be reunited with an elite staff and Coach Frost, who is the best in the business. The University of Nebraska is a world-class institution with the best fan base in college football.”
A day that ended with clarity began with swirling speculation and varying reports. Multiple outlets, including The Athletic and 247Sports, said Nebraska had offered former Husker quarterback and current LSU receivers coach Mickey Joseph a job as receivers coach, passing game coordinator and associate head coach. The reports came out before the announcement that Walters was leaving.
Joseph did not respond to a request for comment from The World-Herald. According to a source not affiliated with Nebraska, Joseph did not have any direct contact with the Huskers. The assistant played QB at NU from 1988-91.
But the vacancy nonetheless became official later in the day. Multiple players and coaches tweeted out their support of Walters, who won the Biletnikoff Award as a player at Stanford and assisted in putting together the game plan and coaching receivers while Frost called plays during their time together. Walters made $700,000 per year in Lincoln.
“Nebraska football is in great hands,” Walters tweeted in part. “It was an honor to work together with the best coaching staff in the country. Great men and coaches. Thank you to all the players. I look forward to watching you all WIN championships. Thank you Husker Nation.”
Frost said in a statement that Walters “has been a valued member of our coaching staff.”
“Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed,” the statement said. “I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”
Under his watch, Stanley Morgan posted the school’s first 1,000-yard receiving season and broke several career records in 2018. Walters was also instrumental in recruiting Wan’Dale Robinson.
But the receivers appeared to regress in 2019 after Morgan’s departure. Robinson moved part-time to running back while junior college transfers Mike Williams and Jaron Woodyard — who both signed in the 2018 class — never completely caught on in Nebraska’s system. Kanawai Noa, a graduate transfer from California, drew praise from Walters and Frost but caught just 17 passes for 245 yards.
Walters said in multiple interviews his receivers had to improve in route running, separating from defenders at the line of scrimmage and being where quarterbacks expected them to be. Frost echoed that analysis.
The coach acted quickly in finding a new co-conspirator on offense in Lubick, the son of former Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick. The younger Lubick and Frost are close friends and talk often. Lubick even did some consulting work for NU last season, according to a source.
Lubick worked under Frost at Oregon, then became the offensive coordinator in 2016 under Mark Helfrich, who was fired after that year. Lubick then moved to Washington for two seasons before taking a high-level job at a Fort Collins, Colorado, credit union.
He has a long résumé of coaching receivers at various schools — including San Jose State, Colorado State and Duke — before becoming passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Oregon when Frost became offensive coordinator in 2013. He spent three years in that role before becoming UO’s offensive coordinator.
Multiple NU receivers tweeted support for their new coach, with Robinson saying “let’s work” and freshman Alante Brown tweeting “Let’s do it!”
The news Friday broke a day after Nebraska officially announced the return of Mike Dawson — now the outside linebackers coach — following his one-year stint as NU’s defensive line coach in 2018 and a season with the NFL’s New York Giants in 2019.
The school Thursday also revealed completed contract extensions for assistants Greg Austin (offensive line), Travis Fisher (defensive backs) and Ryan Held (running backs). Two added new titles: Austin as run-game coordinator and Held as recruiting coordinator.
The reshuffling of duties remains ongoing considering NU still needs to appoint someone to oversee special teams in the wake of Jovan Dewitt’s departure this month for North Carolina.