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B1G Football Media Days: MATT RHULE DAY! (Otherwise Known As Day 2)

Was there any doubt Matt Rhule was going to win Day 2? Of course there wasn’t.

Finally, the HCMR has returned to Indianapolis!
Andy Ketterson

C’mon, this is B1G Football Media Days, not Matt Rhule (& Nebraska) Media Days. Does he(they) deserve his own article?

Yes, he does.

Look man, the only thing left before an August 31 battle with the Fightin’ Flecks sends us on another booze-addled quest for a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility are the daily practice articles and pressers and that’s it.

Our biggest victories since the Huskers’ last bowl trip have been those of the off-season variety. Damn actual football, we have owned off-seasons. And none more than 2022-23 since Matt Rhule took it to a new level. He stormed in with an immediate impact by attacking the transfer portal highlighted by snagging a Georgia Tech QB as his starter and three more Georgia players of the Bulldog variety.

Next he attacked the recruiting scene by going after multiple 5-stars including the #1 HS player in the country. Sure, he lost Dylan Raiola to Georgia, but he kept Carter Nelson home and got his future QB by flipping home-grown Danny Kaelin from Missouri. Kaelin then turned around and became Nebraska’s first Elite 11 QB.

Finally, came the June recruiting blitz which saw him grow the 2024 class to 24, flirt with the Top 10 for a bit and make people honestly wonder when this man sleeps.

So it almost seems as if it is some sort of weird destiny that the B1G Media Days would be the crescendo of the magical off-season. The competition is weak today. How did it play out?

PJ Fleck hears a standing ovation in his own ears whenever he walks in a room, but is not as electric as he thinks he is and found himself having to fend off some budding issues of his own.

Luke Fickell? He was strange dragging out some already long opening remarks by asking himself his own first question. I did feel bad for him as he followed Rhule and everyone needing a bathroom break took off as Rhule finished.

Jim Harbaugh? Played the “I can’t talk about it” card when asked about his suspension and lost the ability to speak when questioned about his NIL collective.

So, yep, Matt Rhule won the day.

Anyway, here’s some thoughts, Q&A and whatever else I managed to pull off today.

MATT RHULE - Nebraska Cornhuskers - Main Podium

  • HCMR Matt Rhule is up to bat!
  • Have to say that the energy in the building is VERY different today. While not by half or anything, there’s definitely fewer people and it is a tomb - no buzz like most of the day yesterday. I might have gear back my predictions for a Rhule-aissance.
  • Matt stays on track by introducing Piper, Sims & Reimer
  • And he is ALL about fire your questions - Intro remarks were maybe 30 seconds and he was ready for questions.
  • “Are you a chili and cinnamon rolls guy?” Laughed and said a recruit’s mom made it for him and the dish is “life-changing”
  • Asked what a successful season would be, he stated, ”This season for me is all about us, not just earning, but taking back respect and bringing back respect to Nebraska football.”
  • Lots of coaches get asked what a success or a successful season is. This answer gave me chills.
  • Asked about recruiting, he stated after being fired by Carolina, he started studying recruits and talked about especially researching the Nebraska kids. Sounded like he really wanted the Nebraska job before he had it and knew he would be here.
  • Quote of the day from anyone: “Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we could disagree respectfully?” For as much as he pours himself into football, Rhule comes off as very genuine about readying his players for a life beyond football.
  • Coach ended his own presser like PJ Fleck did thanking everyone and boogeying when he was done. The difference was almost all of Rhule’s 15 minutes was spent taking questions whereas PJ took three.
  • I’m gonna call it a win, as stated above, when the masses started breaking for the bathroom as Gerry DiNardo was introducing Luke Fickell. That was the only time that happened. Anyone else, except for maybe Harbaugh, and everyone just peels off quietly in the middle.
Andy Ketterson


Quarterback - Jeff Sims

  • On trying to take leadership role as a new player: Said that the key to doing that is talking to his new teammates and getting to know them. When you start building relationships, the “new guy” stuff goes out the window.
  • He later added that his leadership and the ways he approaches it have greatly improved under this staff.
  • On switching to a new offense: He and OC Marcus Satterfield “clicked instantly” when they met and Satterfield laid out the his ideas for him in the offense. When asked, he admitted it is much more versatile than Georgia Tech’s and it caters much more to his skills.
  • On how Matt Rhule sold him on Nebraska: He said when he spoke with Rhule, his main selling points were the long-term vision of Nebraska he presented and detailing how he could take Sims’ mental game to the next level.
  • On the things he looked for in a transfer destination: the best opportunity for himself, a great fan base and a top college town (Tech is in downtown Atlanta). He said Nebraska checked all three and that the fanbase was the biggest draw.
  • He brought up his family multiple times, but one that stuck was when questioned about what keeps him grounded when say he’s getting all the love from the fans. He said his family is his anchor because win/lose, play great or lousy, his family loves him and will always be there.
  • His goals on offense: no numbers, just to be disciplined, limit mistakes and don’t make decisions which put his team in bad situation.
  • Favorite quarterback? Michael Vick. (Although he noted Vick’s is not his style.)
  • On his wide receiver room:
  • As a group, they’ve all made huge strides since he arrived. He described them as just making plays out of nowhere. (Another example the Garrett Maguire hire is looking better every day.)
  • He stated he and Billy Kemp developed chemistry early on since they arrived as new team members together.
  • The fastest? It’s between Xavier Betts and Malachai Coleman.
  • He also noted Betts is an extremely determined player who is especially motivated at fixing mistakes.
  • Finally, I asked what it was like going from playing at Georgia Tech in games such as Clean Old Fashioned Hate against Georgia to being in Nebraska with former Bulldogs as teammates, and Arik Gilbert as a potential target on offense:
  • He first said he never saw himself leaving Georgia Tech, he thinks of himself as a loyal guy. Now here, he has become good friends with former UGA LB MJ Sherman, could potentially have Jacob Hood on the line and describes Gilbert as a huge target who attacks the ball.
  • Final thought: Sims was engaging and came off as a thoughtful charismatic young man who has natural leadership skills and mind for all facets of the QB position and the game.
Nebraska Huskers QB1
Andy Ketterson

Head Coach - Matt Rhule

  • On QB Jeff Sims: He conducts himself in a quiet way he likes and the guys play for him. He said he’s the type of player who can beat you with his brain. And he was impressed by how he bought in 100% to what they are trying to do - Not once did he ever say “But here’s what I did at Tech.”
  • He also called out the determination of Xavier Betts, especially the fact he took 21 credit hours this spring - while spring practice and winter conditioning was going on, mind you - to become academically eligible after sitting out.
  • On bringing back winning football: he stressed patience was needed. However he also said he approaches every day like it’s 4th and goal. He wants to attack with urgency and believes every game is winnable. However, it has to be done without taking shortcuts.
  • Much like Osborne, he has always believed that all games are important. Failing to think that way is how games like Georgia Southern last year happened.
  • On the difficulties of recruiting: “If you like to compete, then you like to compete in recruiting.”
  • On the June recruiting rush: He admitted June was hard and laughingly said he thought a couple assistants may have been about ready to quit.
  • On his offensive philosophy: He wants diversity and explosiveness but he always wants to have an interior run game to fall back on and be a team who can wear others out in the 4th quarter.
  • He believes in being flexible in his concepts - don’t say “I do it this way.” Asks himself what will work at Nebraska? What will succeed in the elements, in this conference and with this personnel?
  • Biggest laugh of the day: In the middle of an answer, a Big 10 guy slipped a cup of coffee on the table for him. Rhule spotted the coffee, immediately stopped wide-eyed and said, “Oh, BRO!!” And just grinned ear-to-ear and started clapping.
  • On life outside of football: Rhule spoke repeatedly about, while still wanting to create great players and prepare them for the NFL if they desire, getting his players ready for life. He stated he simply can’t have guys leaving the program who don’t know how to function in the world.
  • I asked him if he was always such a natural in front of a crowd or did he work at it over time: Coach said first of all, he’s always terrified in front of a crowd. (Hard to believe :-) ). But he added he always tries to think of 2-3 points, rehearse them in his head if there’s time, but always speak from the heart.
  • 2nd and final best quote of the day:

Put down your phone, talk to people and watch the world open up for you.”

“Coach, time to wrap it up.” “I can’t see you.”
Andy Ketterson