Matt Lubick spent last year as a fan for the first time in his 25 years of coaching. It was a weird experience for the Huskers’ new offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. He has no problem saying so.
But Lubick is back to coaching after that year away, this time with Nebraska. While he’s new to the Huskers, he’s plenty familiar with Coach Scott Frost. He spent three seasons on the Oregon staff with Frost before replacing the Huskers' head coach as wide receivers coach in 2013 when Frost was promoted to offensive coordinator. When Frost left Oregon in 2016, Lubick filled the open role left by Frost once again. He then spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons as the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Washington before resigning. He spent the last year—that weird year—as the Director of University Relations at Canvas Credit Union, the official credit union of Colorado State University.
And for as weird as that gap year was for Lubick, it was also an “awesome” one.
“My last year off of football was one of the best years of my life for a whole bunch of reasons,” Lubick said during Nebraska’s spring football press conference on Monday. “I got to connect with family and friends, I got to slow down. I’ve been doing this for 25 years and in this business, that really doesn’t happen too often so that was great. I was able to sit back for the first time ever and watch college football as a fan and I think when you do that you get to look at things you take for granted as a coach with more of a big picture instead of just looking at maybe what your tiny responsiblity was.
“I think any time you take something away, whether it’s a guy getting hurt or something you’ve done your whole life that changes, you learn to appreciate it a whole lot more. You take things for granted until you’re not there. The thing I really missed about coaching are the relationships, the camaraderie, the day-to-day interaction, which I’m getting that back now and it feels awesome.”
Lubick had always wanted to spend game days with friends, relaxing at tailgates. He got to do that—“My whole dream was to go to tailgates and to have some fun and to drink the occasional root beer and I got to do all that stuff,” he said—but he was ready to get back to the grind. Banking hours were nice, but the call to coach was nicer. And the call to work with Frost again was a “slam dunk.”
So Lubick hit the ground running from the moment he was hired in January. He watched film with Frost, evaluated the 2019 season and determined what Nebraska could be doing differently to enhance its system. With spring ball officially underway, Lubick got to see all of those ideas finally put in motion.
“Today was the first day we went out there with our players and got to execute that stuff, Day 1,” he said. “That’s exciting any time you can go back and find out what you can imrpove on and what are some new things you can add to maybe make you a little more effective and actually practice it. That’s why you coach.”
Lubick’s primary focus is on the players in his room right now. There will be more that arrive by fall camp, and JD Spielman has temporarily stepped away from the team, but Lubick has a plan.
“The guys in the fall, when we do have those guys, we’ll have a plan to speed up their learning curve and that’s something that will happen before the fall,” he said. “We’ve been talking about it and we’ll have a plan in place to get them ready to compete and give them an opportuntiy to help us.”
As for those in his room now, he’s impressed with the attitudes and attentiveness so far. Any time a team gets a new coach, there are adjustments that need to be made but Lubick noted that the players have embraced him and his ideas.
Lubick has been at Nebraska less than two months now, so he has plenty ahead as he settles into his new role. But for now, he’s happy to be back coaching after his year away.
“It’s been a great experience,” Lubick said. “It’s been a short time but the people have been amazing. You can definitely feel the fan support and why this has the best fan base in college football. Everywhere you go you see red and people are really excited about spring ball starting .
“The players and coaches have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable.”