Nebraska DC Tony White talks Husker history, recruits and the 3-3-5 scheme
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Defensive coordinator Tony White wants to help Nebraska return to its former glory.
White, who formerly coached at Syracuse, spoke on Friday for the first time since he was hired by head coach Matt Rhule in December.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity that coach Rhule and Mr. Alberts gave to me and my family and want to get this thing back on the right track,” he said.
Last season, White – in his third season of coaching the Orange’s defense – helped lead Syracuse to the Pinstripe Bowl.
White said he was in a good place in New York, but when it came down to it, he couldn’t turn down an opportunity to coach with Rhule at Nebraska.
He acknowledged how much of a powerhouse Nebraska was back in the 1990s under legendary coach Tom Osborne.
“I graduated in 96-97 from high school, that was Nebraska, right?” he said. “That’s Nebraska. You looked up, and you saw Nebraska, Nebraska, Nebraska.”
To the dismay of fans, Nebraska hasn’t reached the heights of those 90s teams since Tom Osborne retired after the 1997 season.
But despite the last 25 years, White is confident that things can change for the historic program.
“You walk in, and you see the national championship trophies, you see the Heisman,” he said. “I mean, you know, you walk around, you see why this place has been special and can be special.”
But Nebraska won’t rest on its laurels when it comes to the Blackshirts.
With White comes a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, which the coach has used throughout his career.
The alignment has three linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs and, according to White, will allow Nebraska to be flexible with its players.
“I think that 3-3-5, when you start off with that base, it allows you to recruit and then really be flexible with what you have,” he said.
White said that everything is built around recruiting, those relationships and bringing the players here to develop them.
Nebraska secured several defensive recruits on National Signing Day, including four stars Princewill Umanmielen and Riley Van Poppel.
But whoever plays defense for Nebraska, White wants them to show passion on the field and “play their butts off.”
“When they take the field, you’re going to know that they’re playing for Nebraska,” he said. “They’re part of a tradition that’s really unlike any other in the country.”
White told Husker Nation to be on alert for Nebraska’s defense next season.
“When that defense runs out there, you’re gonna sit up in your seats, you’re gonna grab your popcorn, you’re gonna pay attention because those boys are going to play,” he said.