Nebraska assistant coach Ross Els minced no words Monday as he reflected on the 100-yard kickoff return allowed by the Huskers against Southern Mississippi.
Els, the NU special teams coordinator, called the return by Tracy Lampley “the embarrassment of the game.” Nebraska had just scored to take a 14-0 lead. He also said it was “one you remember the rest of your life.”
“You can not give up big plays in any facet of the game, and we gave it up at such an inopportune time,” Els said. “We were dominating the game. The offense was scoring, scored again, and then we let ‘em right back into it.”
Els said hats off to the Golden Eagles for executing the return, but obviously saw something that the NU staff did not like in its coverage.
“There will be some personnel changes. We’re not quite sure who yet,” Els said. “Schematically, a little adjustment here and there. I need to coach it better, because that’s my unit. And we’ll get her fixed. But you hopefully don’t have to wait until something like that happens.”
Brett Maher registered five touchbacks on his eight kickoffs (and Lampley actually was about 2 yards deep on his TD return). Southern Miss gained 21 yards on its other return and another kickoff went out of bounds.
“Thank goodness he kicked the rest of them out, because we don’t know how bad we would have covered the rest of them,” Els said.
Nebraska ranked No. 104 nationally a year ago as opponents averaged 24.0 yards per kickoff return.