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HUSKER Q & A – Tyrone Hughes: Thoughts On 2019, 3-4 Defense And A Wine Cooler At Memorial Stadium

Interesting interview with a dude that’s been there before.


Tyrone Hughes, WB, Returner

New Orleans, Louisiana


  • 1990--As a sophomore he was the top punt and kick returner with close to 800 yards and a touchdown.
  • 1991--Had 12 receptions for 208 yards and 2 TDs. Added almost 500 yards in returns.
  • 1992--Again the top returner with over 700 yards on returns and 10 receptions.
  • 1993--5th round draft choice of the New Orleans Saints.
  • He was an All-Pro kick returner as a rookie in 1994 and holds the NFL record for kick return yards in a game with 347 yards.
  • Member of the Saints Hall of Fame and an eight-year NFL career with New Orleans, Chicago and Dallas.

Impressions of the Huskers in 2019?

They are 4-4 in a rebuilding phase, so not the end of the world. But some of the games you thought they would be more competitive so far.

Long-term what are you looking for?

The development is the key to me, especially being in the Big Ten conference. You just aren’t going to have that turnaround like they did at UCF. I really like what Scott (Frost) is doing, but I was back for that first spring game for him in 2018 and I was just looking at the lines and thinking this will take some time.

Easier said than done?

Yep. The catch can be you need to win at a certain level to get some of those studs you need to win big, but they want to see you winning first. So main thing is right now early in Frost’s tenure is just build slowly, develop the guys you have and keep the momentum going.

Specifically anything stand out about the team?

When I have seen them - and I don’t get to see them every week - and I’m obviously not at practice and know exactly what they are trying to do, but I just don’t know the 3-4 is the best fit for Nebraska. You really need three fairly athletic big guys up-front, plus good back-ups, or things get rough quickly.

How so?

Your three big boys up front have to be at least getting a stalemate with their assignment or the offensive linemen are going to be on the linebackers quicker and it just goes downhill from there if you aren’t REALLY sound upfront. Also, the ends have to be getting some pressure mixed in there as well.

The 4-3 is a probably little less complex overall with more defined roles and that always helps guys play faster.

Now LSU runs a 3-4 but with the large recruiting base around them, they have the pick of the liter. However, many times with them it ends up being a 4-3 at the snap anyway.

Player that stands out at Nebraska right now?

I really like (J.D.) Spielman, the wide receiver and a tough return guy too. He plays hard and wants other guys to be accountable too. But he is just one guy among 22 starters and then add in special teams, he can only do so much.

Speaking of LSU, any pull to go there coming from St. Augustine High School?

For sure. My mom wanted Nebraska and dad wanted LSU, but Nebraska assistant Jack Pierce won out (laughing).

What was it about Jack that stood out?

He was just a fun guy that you were comfortable with right off the bat. Honest as can be too, sort of a father-figure.

At the end of the day, many schools offer about the same thing, but the people can be the difference and Jack was that for me. I liked Coach Osborne and Ron Brown but it was Jack who I committed to.

A freshman blues story for you as a Cornhusker?

Oh yeah. I took a pitch from Mickey Joseph early my first year and I had some room to run and then I saw big Broderick Thomas coming, and I was the MVP of Louisiana, and I thought to myself, “I’m just gonna run by this big dude here,” and he hammered into the sideline and I just about ended up underneath the bench! The he yelled at me “Welcome to college, freshman!”

I had never seen someone that big, 6-3 or 6-4 and 250 pounds, move that fast! He was The Sandman!

Moment in a game you felt you arrived a bit as a player?

I had two TD catches versus Iowa State as a young guy, so that made think OK, I can do this on offense. As a return guy, I knew that from the start I could handle that, but to be doing it on offense was a good feeling for me.

Toughest DB at NU you faced?

Kenny Wilhite was tough and fast. He was about the only guy that could keep up with me on the team as I could run a little. I ran track too some in the spring.

Lastly, you didn’t really walk into Memorial Stadium drinking a wine cooler as a freshman, did you?

Oh yeah, it was a hot day and just a little bit refreshing them wine coolers.

Down south we are just a little more laid-back about stuff like that. I think it was an off-day too. But I did have to go see Coach Osborne about that and he explained to me that we just don’t do that here in Nebraska.