July 18, 2024

Nebraska Assistant Evan Cooper Resigns Two Months Before Season, Cornhuskers Quickly Seek Replacement

Evan Cooper, Nebraska’s defensive backs coach, has resigned for personal reasons after several years of working with Matt Rhule. The Cornhuskers are swiftly moving to replace him, with ESPN reporting they are expected to hire former Buffalo Bills defensive backs coach John Butler.

Cooper’s resignation comes at a critical time, as Nebraska’s fall camp begins at the end of July, and the 2024 season starts on August 31 against UTEP.

Cooper has been a long-time collaborator with Coach Matt Rhule, beginning in 2013 when Rhule hired him as a graduate assistant at Temple. They later moved to Baylor in 2017, where Cooper served as the director of player personnel and later as an on-field coach overseeing the secondary and defensive line. In 2020, Rhule brought Cooper to the Carolina Panthers as the cornerbacks coach and director of player evaluation. After Rhule’s dismissal in 2022, the pair joined Nebraska for the 2023 season.

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To facilitate the transition, Nebraska might utilize a recent NCAA ruling allowing analysts or quality control personnel to take on on-field coaching roles. Michael Bruntz of Huskers247 suggests that senior defensive analyst Kevin McGarry, who has experience working with Tony White at San Diego State and Syracuse, could be instrumental in assisting with the defensive backs. McGarry played a key role last season in transitioning to the 3-3-5 defense.

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