For Christmas morning my dad got me tickets for Nebrasketball’s game at Rutgers, two rows behind where Tim Miles and the assistant coaches sit. If you look at the title picture of this article, my dad is in the red sweatshirt, and you can see my hair right over Miles’s right shoulder.
When I sat down in my seats, you couldn’t tell fans apart, everyone wore red. The first time I could tell someone apart was when a Rutgers fan came up to me and commented on the state of Nebraska sports, “first football team doesn’t do well, and now the this. You guys were -9.5 point favorites tonight.” That one stung a little.
So after that lovely transaction, the team finished warmups and came back to bench, and Miles immediately went for his first purple Gatorade out of the three lined up perfectly under his chair. He drank all three before halftime. I’m sick after two Gatorades within one hour of each other. I don’t know how he does it.
Miles began to drink his Gatorade, and the student section began their chirping. They went straight for Roby, calling him “muffin man”, which I found a little amusing. Sorry Isaiah if you’re reading this. He silenced them shortly after that when he scored the first five points, so the student section resorted to calling Nebraska a “safety school” and telling the team to “go back to the farms”.
The game started out pretty well for the Huskers so the RAC stayed quiet for awhile, which allowed a Rutgers fan to call out to Miles. Miles complained about a call and the fan screamed out “stop complaining you bum and pay attention to the game”. In response, Miles turned around at the scorer’s table and asked “if I’m complaining, then what you’re doing right now?” The fan didn’t say anything after that until the second half when Rutgers took the lead.
“Hey Tim you seem pretty upset!”
Miles laughed and nodded his head. Some can view that as Miles not taking it seriously, but I think it’s pretty charismatic. Having the ability to keep his cool and personality at a time like that where Rutgers penetrated every defense Nebraska threw at them shows the signs of a determined coach.
In addition to Miles’s reactions to the fans behind me, his timing for taking off his jacket is completely random. There’s no superstition to it. He took it off around the 18:30 mark when Nebraska got a defensive rebound.
For the rest of the team, I’ll point out two people, assistant coach Michael Lewis and Nana Akenten.
Lewis after every media timeout would give the stat sheet to a little kid Rutgers fan in front of me. Once the kid’s dad got sick of all the sheets of paper filling up his seat, he gave my dad and I one. I kept it until the end of the game, and when the Huskers lost, tossed it in the trash on my way out.
Even when he was on the bench, Akenten constantly talked and hyped up everyone, and that speaks to his character. He didn’t have the best game, besides one really cool breakaway layup, but still had his mind locked in on the game and team. Any coach would be very lucky to have a bench presence like that from a player.
The game didn’t go as planned for my dad and I, and Miles, but the experience was still great. The RAC actually shook when Rutgers would make a big play, and it’s cool that no matter what game you go to in the Big Ten, you’ll have a good experience. Well, maybe not Penn State.