KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley can add hiring another defensive assistant to his to-do list between now and spring practice.
The Volunteers lost their seventh assistant coach since the end of the 2011 season Friday, when Terry Joseph confirmed to the VolQuest and govols247 websites that he was accepting an offer to join Nebraska's staff as defensive backs coach. UT's safeties coach and recruiting coordinator did not return a phone call from the Times Free Press.
Neither school confirmed the hire as of Friday night.
Joseph's departure leaves Jim Chaney and Darin Hinshaw as the only two assistants who were with the Vols last season. Chaney enters his fourth year as offensive coordinator, while Hinshaw will move from the quarterbacks to receivers.
"Sometimes you hate losing them," Dooley said in January when he had four vacancies to fill. "Sometimes it's good you lose them because sometimes turnover's a healthy thing. Either way it's a great chance to say, 'Hey, where can we get better through this?' That's what we're going to do."
After coaching the Vols' entire secondary last season, the 38-year-old Joseph, who was set to make $250,000 this year, saw his responsibilities change following the waves of new hires that ended with Derrick Ansley on Feb. 2. New defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri tabbed Ansley to coach cornerbacks, which shifted Joseph to safeties. The Louisiana native coached UT's cornerbacks in 2010, when graduate assistant Peter Sirmon handled the safeties.
Joseph has two ties to the Cornhuskers' staff from his one season at LSU in 2006 as a graduate assistant. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini was the Tigers' defensive coordinator, and Huskers defensive coordinator John Papuchis was a defensive intern for Pelini for four years. Joseph joined Dooley's staff at Louisiana Tech after one year at LSU and followed him to UT.
Joseph would replace Corey Raymond, who left to coach defensive backs at LSU after Ron Cooper took a job on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff.
The Vols begin spring practice on March 26.