Today, Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule met with the media. Below are some paraphrased questions and answers from the head football coach.
Starts off by thanking the fans for the support and that the coaching staff and the players are grateful. They players and the coaches through winter conditioning and spring football will be “earning the right to enjoy the next season.”
Can’t promise the fans anything other than the fact that they will work really hard. Will try to honor their patience and loyalty by working hard.
What is your priority with spring ball?
So far they have wanted to built strength and explosiveness and he believes they have. They want to teach the kids the process. They want to build a brotherhood.
Practice is the most important thing they do. People want to focus on the results but he wants to focus on the process.
Has anybody stood out so far?
Rhule doesn’t want to isolate any players but there have been a group of guys that have stood out. There have been several who have earned the most “black jerseys” and two of those are Thomas Fidone and Chief Borders.
In fact, there are not many guys Rhule would not be happy with.
Can you detail the off-season competition?
They split the team into two teams and you can gain or lose points based off of several factors. Those include gaining points for attending other Nebraska athletic events, community service, winning competitions. You can lose points by missing study hall.
Trying to reward the guys for doing the right things — both physical and personal.
Players started making teams based off of position groups and their friends. Then they learned the hard way that they’ll need guys who are fast and guys that are big. They’ll also need guys who will show up on time and that will be accountable.
The guy that was deemed “Mr. Irrelevant” was a starter last season. I assume that means he was the last one picked.
If you could get all of your teammates to another athletic event and take a picture together gets you double the points. Supposedly that was more difficult than you would think trying to get a group of teammates together on time.
Is Casey Thompson going to be able to do much this spring? Is he going to be able to throw?
He will be limited. They will error on the side of caution. There’s a chance but they don’t know for sure yet.
Impressions of Thomas Fidone?
First thing he noticed was how well he moves. It takes time after an ACL injury but he is super competitive.
Rhuel said that practice is the most important part of his program. Not recruiting. Not lifting. Not Travel. It’s practice. Regarding
What have they seen regarding the speed and the mobility of the roster?
It may not be fair since the first time they saw them was after they had come back from home but there are “a lot of opportunities for improvement.”
There are areas that they could separate themselves from other teams in terms of full range of movement with some thing.
With that said, this is a pretty fast team according to Rhule. There are some really fast guys that might surprise us using their GPS system. Chubba Purdy and Heinrich Haarberg are two of the fastest guys on the team in terms of the GPS numbers.
You can be fast but not strong and it doesn’t really matter. You could be strong and not fast and it doesn’t really matter. There is a combination of the two, including staying healthy that they are looking for.
What is your overall approach in recruiting the quarterback position especially with a high-profile recruit (that remains unnamed) (Dylan Raiola)?
Every student athlete Rhule recruits, he wants that athlete to come to Nebraska for the right reasons and because it is the right time.
He doesn’t want anybody coming (commiting) because they feel like they have to come (or commit).
It’s never about who they don’t get, it is always about who they get. They want to take the right guys, for the right reasons, who want to be here.
Rhule wants players to come watch them practice. “I don’t know how you could commit to me without watching me at practice. I am who I am and I am not changing who I am on the field for anybody.”
Has there been defensive brainstorming with the defensive coaches and Tony White?
Tony White has a quiet confidence that Rhule likes. Real humility.
Is Tony White effectively teaching his defense to his defensive assistants?
Yes because he has his system and his verbiage. The same goes with the offensive side of the ball. Satterfield was previously with Rhule but since they parted ways their verbiage has changed and how they do some things have changed so they need to learn again.
There’s a learning curve for everybody.
Rhule said that you have to learn before you can teach. He will be the most flexible one and once he feels like he has learned the systems and the verbiage then that’s when he will give his two cents.
How would you describe yourself during practice? Station to station? Putting your hand in the ground?
Something he heard years ago is that leaders insert themselves at the points where there is the most friction.
By trade, he is an OL, DL, LB type of guy. If he seems a group struggling then he’ll take them.
Probably is obsessed with teaching. He believes in the Socratic method during meetings. He will go from meeting to meeting but will not take over the meetings.
Practice is the most important part of the program. Not recruiting. Not lifting. Not travel.