Big Red Recon: Huskers' Running Back Board is Clearing Up
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Held Looking For Consistency at Running Back and the LBJ Mindset

April 12, 2018

Nebraska’s coaching staff has some very defined ideas about what it is looking for in the program. In the short amount of time the coaches have been in Lincoln, we can name a few things that will be non-negotiables for the program moving forward. The Huskers will be fast, they will be physical, they will give maximum effort not only for themselves but their brother next to them. 

The running back room is not short on options for position coach Ryan Held. There are a few experienced guys that return, plus an exciting junior-college transfer. One thing that group has to get used to is the pace of play and attention to detail required to play at a high level in this offense. Better practice habits need to be developed as that leads to better results on Saturdays. That is a point Held drove home in his post-practice availability on Thursday.

“There were good parts of practice but we just have to continue to learn how to practice," Held said. "We’re going to talk about it until we are blue in the face, but we will get it right. We have to learn to practice faster, practice harder and get our details right. Eventually when you keep doing it over and over, its trained and you don’t have to think about it. Our guys at times just have to think about it too much. It’s our job to keep prodding it until we get to what we want.”

Held is looking to take his group past the building block stages of building practice habits. In fact, he has a particular mindset that he wants his players to adopt. The mindset of perhaps the most talented basketball player to ever play. 

“My group especially, we are trying to get them to finish more," Held said. "I want them to have the mentality of LeBron James. LeBron James, every time he gets the ball, he’s thinking about scoring. That’s what our guys have to do. It’s not I’m just running a play here and how can I get to the next play. I’m trying to score on this play. It’s a mentality and a mindset. My job is to get my running backs thinking every time they get the ball, they are going to score.”

To cultivate that mindset, Held will go through the film with his backs and talk out what their game plan should be when they get to the second and third level. The running back group has adopted what Held calls their version of “three-stripe life” where the last rep of a series you must score a touchdown. If he wants increased competitive spirit and consistency, what were his thoughts on Greg Bell and Devine Ozigbo both recently telling the media that they want to be the starter?  

“Well I would hope that everybody in the room would want to be the guy," Held said. "There are talking about it but it’s about being about it, too. Every day. Right now, we don’t have a starter because nobody has earned the right to be the starter. It has to happen in practice over and over until I feel comfortable to trust a guy on a day-to-day basis to go out there and play fast, execute at a high level, be a good teammate, the whole nine yards. 

"Again, we’ll watch the film and on Saturday in our coaches’ clinic when we have 800 coaches watching, what are we going to be? What’s going to be our mindset? We’re going to get it right, I promise you. We don’t play Akron until Sept. 1, so I might not have a voice by then but we are going to get it right if I have get out there and run behind them. They are going to get it. They are starting to get it but as a competitor and guy that’s seen it work, you want them to be able to see it and do it. We just have to keep going out there every day and keep making it happen.”

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