Nebraska Cornhuskers Restructure Defensive Coordinator Tony White’s Contract in $1.6 Million Deal After Best Husker Defense in Big Ten Era
After restructuring his contract in a $1.6 million deal Friday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were able to keep well-respected defensive coordinator Tony White, who is coming off of Nebraska’s finest defensive season in Big Ten history. White’s salary has been boosted to $1.6 million for the two years remaining on his deal. White was nominated for the Broyles award, which is presented to the best assistant coach in the country, in both his first year with the Cornhuskers and his final year with the Syracuse Orange.
The evident improvement of Nebraska’s defense under White. He was a prized recruit for teams such as the San Diego State Aztecs and the Syracuse Orange. White was on the Aztecs’ staff.
In just one offseason, Tony White transformed the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ defense into a powerhouse.
After White arrived, the Cornhusker defense improved substantially. From 2022 to 2023, Nebraska led the Power Five in total improved defense. The Huskers improved from a bottom-15 overall defense to a top-15 overall defense and from a bottom-10 rush defense to a top-10 rush defense.
Many people were apprehensive when White was hired that his 3-3-5 defense would be ineffective against the traditionally run-heavy Big Ten offenses he would face. Despite significant worry, an article from before the season in the Athletic shows how White intends to stick to his guns. His faith in his own approach definitely paid off, as Nebraska finished seventh in the country in overall rush defense, giving only 92.9 yards per game.
White’s major argument in the piece was that he wanted his defenders to play quick and free. White wanted the defense to feel sure of themselves so they could play without hesitation. In just one summer, White’s efforts catapulted the defense to be one of the best in the country.
Individual line play is one facet of a 3-3-5 that is required for success in a conference like the Big Ten. White obtained this information from Nash “polar bear” Hutmacher as well as Ty Robinson. This season, both of these linemen experienced significant improvements in line with the Huskers defense. Robinson recognizes how much White has helped him progress as a player, which is one of the reasons he chose to return to Nebraska rather than enter the NFL draft.
Robinson’s outstanding year was highlighted by 29 tackles, six pass breakups, and four tackles for loss, all of which were career highs for the honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. Robinson also led the Huskers defense in quarterback hurries with 11.
This season, Hutmacher set three career highs: 40 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and four and a half sacks. Hutmacher, like Robinson, wore a single-digit number and was an All-Big Ten honorable mention. The single-digit number is difficult to obtain since it represents head coach Matt Rhule’s view of the club’s “toughest” players, who are chosen by a team vote before the season begins. With both great defensive linemen returning, White and company are projected to be a strong contender.