Lincoln – The son of New Orleans learned his lesson a long time ago.

With all the hard breaks and circumstances that test a young man’s faith and soul, it became the mantra of Mickey Joseph’s life.

“Shake it all off and move on.”

In the year That’s what Joseph did in 1990 when a sudden injury at Oklahoma ended his playing career. He moved into coaching.

That’s what Joseph did when Hurricane Katrina broke up the group at Desire Street Academy in New Orleans’ rough-and-tumble Ninth Ward.

Of the 196 boys at Desire Street Academy, only 95 (and eventually all) attended. Many were separated from their parents and their homes were destroyed.

Joseph took most of the 95 to a 4-H camp in Florida and became their surrogate father, their mentor. Their strength.

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And they were all tough shots as Joseph rattled off a background in college football, from second-ranked Langston to Alcorn State to Gramming and Louisiana Tech.

Joseph always held his head high. His eyes straight ahead. The flame beneath the dream is alive.

Who is Nebraska’s interim football coach and what is it about him?

There’s never a good time to be an interim coach. It means someone is fired. It means things are not good.

Joseph, who replaced Scott Frost, is not the first interim coach in Nebraska history. But he was the first to take over during the regular season.

The Huskers are 1-2. Nine games left. Starting in Oklahoma.

This is no way to get an audition.

But the speculation that Joseph followed from LSU to Lincoln last summer could be faster than speculation that he was slated to be the next head coach.

Whispered Joseph, an ambitious teacher and recruiter, wouldn’t be back for a season. He had to play something else along the way.

The future arrived without warning on Sunday morning, when Frost sat down in shock after three games and collapsed into Joseph’s lap.

Shake everything off. move on.

Joseph must help keep the football team – and the fan base – going. He got the process at a packed house news conference on Tuesday.

It was the kind of media reception you get for a head coaching introduction. But there were no smiles or celebrations.

From the first sentence, Joseph was all business. He was strong, but encouraging. He didn’t have to search for answers to questions.

Joseph has a plan. He is building his entire career at this moment. The time is here.

But how do you prepare for this?

Athletic Director Trev Alberts is looking for a program developer. Joseph might be that person. But he can’t build an offensive line in 9 games.

Two months left to see how the Huskers change their approach and play the game.

Nine games. What is success? A bowl game? That means winning five out of nine. Six of the nine would be a winning record.

You should really take a close look at Joseph. But for Joseph, it will descend into an unreal and gray area.

Can Nebraska inject urgency into the way it plays? Enter the combination of power and confidence? Make the players take more responsibility?

Do they have to beat the whole game to play as a unit?

Joseph may not be using the formula he used with the receivers class. Real Talk he calls it.

Always tell the truth to the players. This creates a bond. Then Joseph drove him home with what he called “an iron fist.”

He did it over and over again with receivers. Now Joseph has to do this with the whole team.

He began the life of a CEO. Moving defensive coordinator Eric Chinander to coach safeties. Getting the team to do more live tackles this week.

It is inevitable to help. But the keys to Mickey and the Sugars over the next couple of months will be all in their heads.

Joseph said he is instilling confidence and trust in his players.

Can the power of persuasion work? Joseph believes in reaching out to the youth.

When told the current Husker team has a “losing culture,” Joseph disagrees. He then said he had to do a better job before going to interview the players.

First is the metal. That coach looks like a parent or counselor. And it’s right out of the Nick Saban playbook.

How far can motivation get you? If he cleans up the small mistakes and details, NU could make some hay in the Big Ten.

A winning record is a must. But Joseph won’t win eight or nine games.

But if he pushes players’ buttons and makes them play harder than they thought possible and gets the whole team on board, that’s hard to ignore.

This is not a long shot. Alberts is a big fan of Joseph. And it wouldn’t be surprising if Albert Joseph tries to keep him around the program even if he’s not the head coach.

But he is an interim head coach. And Joseph seems ready. He won the press conference. But the real talk begins on Saturday.

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