As you may have noticed — or not, it was kept really quiet and not leaked at all for several days — Nebraska has a new head coach. Matt Rhule was officially announced this morning by the athletic department.
Below is the statement from Coach Rhule. He’s a smart man. Invoking the name of Tom Osborne shows he can read a room. Waiting until the second sentence to do it might make some uncomfortable, but I’ll wait and see.
“When you think of great, tradition-rich programs in college football Nebraska is right at the top of the list. The fan base is second to none and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to coach in Memorial Stadium on Tom Osborne Field."— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) November 26, 2022
Give me your reaction to the hire - GIFs only
Andy: Thank god.
How soon before Husker fans get tired of 9-10 win seasons and demand that Trev fire him? (Too soon?) Okay, instead of that question, what do you think the biggest challenge will be for Coach Rhule?
Jill: The words “development” and “alignment” have been repeated ad nauseum since the rumors really picked up steam. Recruiting players that get better over time and know what is expected from them on the field sounds simple. But I think getting back to the point will be a challenge given the losses and mind-numbing collapses we’ve seen the last few years.
Aaron: Either retooling or actually coaching the offensive line back to where they should be. It’s been the biggest reason for the failures on the field in recent years. Dominate the trenches is one of his five big priorities as a football coach, so hopefully he can get that pillar solved quickly. I don’t expect it to be by next year, this line needs A LOT of work. But lets get to the point where we can push around some of the middling teams in the 2024 schedule like we used to.
Mike: Like Aaron said, it’s the offensive line. There are too many four-star recruits on this line for this to be a recruiting or talent issue; the odds that all of these guys were bad misses seems low. It’s a development thing, and finding an experienced offensive line coach has to be one of the highest priorities.
Andy: Nothing much to add to the offensive line takes. It needs bodies and development. If the line can rise to a level of average, the skill players will seem amazing. But beyond that?
Um, we need a QB. More than one. If he can convince Casey to play one more year, problem solved for 2023, but he’d better start figuring out that position on Monday. Because when Thompson went down, we apparently had no one else in that room close to ready. This might be as big a problem as the O-line.
Nate M: Can he convince Mickey Joseph to stay? Or does he want Mickey Joseph to stay? Is he going to feel like he has to tear it all down in order to build it up? Or are there pieces to build upon?
Will he be willing to embrace the transfer portal?
What are your expectations for the 2023 and 2024 seasons? What will tell you Trev made the right (or wrong) hire?
Jill: I’d like to see this team get back to bowl eligibility. I’d also like to see competent offensive line play. Surely that is not too much to ask, right? Right?!?
Aaron: Fewer catastrophic failures and come from ahead losses. We may not have been completely blown out of a lot of games the past few years, but the 2nd half’s have not been kind to us in recent years. The one-sided-ness of them have made some games feel like blowouts. Bowl games would be fun to travel to again, too.
Mike: Bowl eligibility would be a bonus, but first and foremost, Nebraska HAS to find a way to run the ball effectively against Big Ten defenses. Last Saturday’s Wisconsin game should have made it abundantly clear that you must be able to run the ball on a windy November day in the Big Ten, so that’s the metric I’m going to be looking at on offense. Defensively, it comes down to controlling the line of scrimmage by limiting the run and establishing pressure on the quarterback without having to blitz is my focus.
Andy: 2023 - Barring a major exodus, I’m hoping for 6-6 next year. The roster is not as empty as some people believe. An ability to adjust at halftime (non-existent ALL year), resisting the urge to kill the clock the entire 2nd half (a problem from 2018 until yesterday), and time-management ability greater than that of a 13-year-old playing Madden (see the last three games) and we’re bowling this season. It’s not an unreasonable goal.
2024 - Let’s say the line gets solidified and, whether through recruiting or the portal, a QB not on the roster today is the starter. But let’s not get crazy - 8-9 wins.
Nate M: I think he would show a lot of improvement by making it to six wins. Colorado is power five non-conference opponent. You would hope he could go 3-0 in the non-conference. Then can he find 3 more wins? Or does he have to tear it down?
If Matt Rhule called you up and asked for your wisest piece of advice, what would you tell him?
Jill: Stay away from the Pipeline Burrito
Aaron: Watch your back after beating Iowa. We like to replace coaches after they beat irrelevant programs like that.
Mike: Try to become comfortable with Mickey Joseph as your receivers coach. He’s a great recruiter and receiver play was much upgraded under his guidance. He’s a positive influence on everyone, so keeping him in Lincoln could be a way towards a more positive transition.
Andy: Stop calling idiots like me for advice. It’ll get you fired quickly and we really can’t be eating a Jimbo-sized buyout.
Nate M: Do things your way and not the way some players from the 90’s think it should be done “because it worked when I played there.” In fact, reference the 90’s in your opening press conference and then pledge to never mention it again.
Any other thoughts you want to put here?
Aaron: GET ADIDAS WORKING ON A SMOCK, STAT!!!
Mike: Scratch that idea on the smock; that looked hideous. But seriously, just give us reasons to believe. We’re hungry in Nebraska to play football in December and January.
Andy: I’m down with the smock sickness, fire me one up. I have no idea what Matt or Mickey’s thoughts on the subject are, but as opposed as I became to his HC candidacy, I’d love for him to remain on staff wherever there’s spot. And I 100% realize that’s Matt’s call. Also, I’m not changing the column to The 24 Hour Rhule.
All that being said?
Nate M: Ban the 90’s.