Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Breaking Down Film, Developing Diverse Receiver Group Part of Garret McGuire’s ‘Dream Come True’

April 12, 2023

Born to a coach, destined to be a coach, Garret McGuire took his first few moments with media members after Tuesday’s practice to thank coaches. He appreciated the hundreds of coaches from across the country who came to Lincoln as part of the recent Nebraska Coaches Clinic. McGuire called being around so many coaches a special time.

Then it was time to speak like a coach. McGuire spent over 9 minutes breaking down spring season after the team’s 10th practice. The youngest full-time position coach in program history said he can relate to his receivers and maybe see the game better now, not so far removed from his days as a quarterback. He’s familiar with defenses the Huskers will likely encounter and his history with both head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield gives him familiarity with Nebraska’s offense. McGuire either played or coached in four different offenses in 6 years. He’s seen a lot on offense and has become a firm believer in breaking down film from the best.

“Whatever I can get my hands on,” McGuire said he’ll show receivers. “It’s like my personal project through the night or the early morning. So just about anybody.”

McGuire extends an open invitation to his office to watch film. He said acceptance of that offer is a night and day difference between now and when he first arrived. The former NFL assistant still has a plethora of snacks in his office and shrugged off chuckles about it. If they’re in his office getting a snack, maybe he can mention a play or show them something he found on film. Tight end Arik Gilbert recently swung by for some hot fries and McGuire pointed out something on tape.

“That’s their office, not necessarily mine,” McGuire said. “So when you see Billy Kemp, Josh Fleeks, sitting in my chair running the remote, it’s a lot more powerful than me sitting there teaching them.”

Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda and Zavier Betts are both competitors, McGuire said. Garcia-Castaneda is a disciplined, studious young receiver. Betts is athletically gifted and McGuire was especially excited about his recent classroom success. Those four alone would give Nebraska a strong receiving core. Marcus Washington, who McGuire is proud to say he’s gotten to know, also returns as a key piece. The receivers coach also complemented the work of Cooper Hausmann, Elliott Brown and Roman Mangini on Tuesday. The Huskers are also bringing in dynamic freshmen this summer as part of the 2023 recruiting class, some of which may need to provide the offense an occasional spark, McGuire said.

That led McGuire back to the rebirth of the developmental program. It’s woven into the fabric of Nebraska football and that’s how Rhule coaches. McGuire is on the same page and coaches his receivers with development in mind.

“In my room alone we got 180 reps last Thursday,” McGuire said. “You know, that’s as good as teaching as you can get once you’re on the grass and actually doing it. Just to see young guys like Shawn Hardy, Victor Jones, Josh Bullock go out there and get 30, 40 reps in a day, that’s developmental.

“I think we’re all in different stages in that room. Obviously, some guys are in their sixth year, guys are in year two or three.”

McGuire is familiar with Fleeks from their days together in high school. They both attended Cedar Hill in Dallas and went on to Baylor. Now they’re at Nebraska with the former quarterback coaching Fleeks at receiver in his final year of eligibility. McGuire called it awesome so far. Fleeks also knows some of the offenses McGuire’s been in, which lowers his learning curve this spring.

“Some times, a lot of the time, when I speak I can kind of speak his language,” McGuire said. “Also, I can show a clip and he’s on the clip.”

Fleeks was also asked on Tuesday what it’s like playing for McGuire. He called it lovely.

“I know him like the back of my hand, that’s like my brother,” Fleeks said while acknowledging McGuire treats him like a player and not a brother. “It’s been fun, seeing him get to do what he wanted to do and me finishing out my college career with him.”

McGuire said the staff is also trying to instill “Husker speed” and Fleeks is an example of that. He knows what that is and can show the rest of the room. When asked about Husker speed, McGuire said it’s “playing with overwhelming effort play after play.”

Nebraska’s wide receivers coach said he’s having the time of his life. He loves the players, he loves his co-workers. He called himself identical to Rhule and Satterfield. They all get along, they’re all coaches’ sons, they care about football and they care about their players.

“I get to wake up every day and go see those two guys,” McGuire said. “That’s a dream come true for me.”

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