Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Five Bullet Points From Matt Rhule’s Introduction as Nebraska’s New Coach

November 28, 2022

It was the most jubilant Monday Memorial Stadium has seen in quite some time. Fans lined the walk to East Stadium as Athletic Director Trev Alberts introduced new Nebraska head football coach Matt Rhule. Members of the University of Nebraska band played them into Hawks Championship Center, where every former letterman at Nebraska was invited to greet their new coach.

Alberts briefly took those invited through the search process. He wanted Nebraska’s new head coach to be a leader with integrity, be a culture builder, a people manager, strategic thinker and a detail-oriented grinder. And, as Alberts said, “in the end one candidate stood out.”

Then Rhule, the minister’s $74-million son, delivered his 40-minute football sermon from his practice field pulpit. Here are five things that stood out immediately from Monday.

1. Foundations of development

Rhule prides himself in being more than just a football coach. In his opening speech he mentioned the support his former players shared with him when he was let go by the Carolina Panthers. He wants to get people into Lincoln who want to be “Nebraska men.” Rhule wants his family to be involved in the community. He hopes his players do the same.

In Nebraska Rhule found leadership and alignment, two key components in his decision making. He thanked his family and the administration for providing him the foundation to move Nebraska into a new era.

“I’ve learned that lesson that no matter how fertile the seed is that you’ve got to be in great soil for the plant to grow,” he said.

Moving forward, he wants energetic and dynamic people to join Nebraska. He pleaded with “everyone who bleeds red” to work together and bring Nebraska back to its desired status among college football’s elite programs.

2. Staff/current players

Rhule spoke with current Huskers on Monday morning. He related with them, having been in this position before. Rhule shared with a swarm of local media gathered that he laid out his vision for the program and players. If current players didn’t see themselves in those plans, he completely understood.

“If it’s for you, great, if it’s not for you, I understand,” Rhule said. “I want every student-athlete in our program to be happy. So if they’re not happy with us then I want them to go somewhere else where they can be happy.”

Nebraska’s new head coach said he hasn’t meet with the current coaching staff. He called former head coach Scott Frost a few days ago to talk about the job, with due respect to the man who lost it, and asked about the assistants still in Lincoln.

3. Recruiting

Coaches can be on the recruiting trails, in living rooms and on the road, starting Friday. Rhule said he called all the current Nebraska commits and reassured them. He wants to continue recruiting hard before signing day to bolster Nebraska’s class as much as possible.

“I’d like to have the full 10 coaches out on the road,” he said. “But I don’t know how things will happen here. I want to be really respectful of the current coaches, talk to them, and then get on the road.”

He reiterated his philosophy for getting speedy skill position guys and building a strong interior that can win the line of scrimmage.

4. Playing style

First and foremost, he wants his Nebraska team to be one fans are eager to watch. His vision is one of old-school football with a balanced team of strength and speed as the program inches closer to an unprecedented 400th consecutive sellout.

“We’re going to build a team that’s tough, we’re going to build a team that’s hard working, we’re going to compete at everything that we do,” Rhule said.

He’s shown in the handful of offers he’s already extended to recruits.

5. In the trenches

When Rhule met with Alberts they talked philosophy. If you asked Rhule’s former players they’d say his core tenants are: Don’t beat ourselves and win the line of scrimmage. How he got to those points varied.

At Temple they ran the I-formation with a fullback. When he went to Baylor they spread the offense with NFL-ready receivers.

“But at the end of the day the offensive line, defensive linemen, in high school, college football, NFL,” Rhule said. “They determine it.”

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