Matt Rhule, welcome back to college football. One of the most anticipated speakers at the 2023 Big Ten Football Media Days finally took the dais at noon, Eastern time, on Thursday. The preacher’s son then delivered brief opening remarks before answering questions from reporters peppered across Lucas Oil Stadium.
In his opening statement, Rhule thanked athletic director Trev Alberts, everyone in Nebraska and Big Ten commissioner Tony Pettiti. He also said he likes his team.
Rhule’s first question concerned the renewed regional rivalry with Colorado. The Buffs are in the news with a reported move back to the Big 12. Rhule said he and his family watched historic clips of the Nebraska and Colorado rivalry. The new head coach is excited about that game, which will follow the season opener against Minnesota.
He wants to go out and try to win every game. But above that, he wants to bring Nebraska football back to a level of respect among opponents, fans and coaches.
“There was a time Nebraska football was feared,” Rhule said. “We certainly want to get back to that.”
Here’s a quick recap of what Rhule said at the podium.
>>Rhule said he’s getting back to basics while honoring former head coach Tom Osborne. He said he’d be a fool not to accept the feedback from Osborne when considering how to put together a successful fall camp.
>>When asked about recruiting, Rhule said he and Evan Cooper evaluated native Nebraskans who were already committed to Nebraska in addition to uncommitted recruits. They wanted to hit the ground running in recruiting and have since gained a massive in-state recruiting haul. The new head coach said it’s important to keep home-state talent as much as it’s important to get kids from different states.
>>Rhule was asked about holding the high-character reputation across the Big Ten Conference. That’s something that certainly means a lot to him, he said. Maintaining that level of involvement in the community is the mission, Rhule said.
>>Upon visiting Nebraska during the hiring process, Rhule considers all the facilities important to delivering the message. He wanted to be intentional in all the changes made regarding the facilities to ensure players are supported.
>>Rhule said he wanted to be in the Big Ten when looking at different jobs openings. As a former Big Ten linebacker at Penn State, the conference means a lot to him even as it has changed. He said he’s excited to go through coaching the Big Ten for the first time this fall.
The “day by day” mantra is written on the side of Memorial Stadium for a reason, Rhule said. He wants to keep a “locked-in, focused” mentality every day among the football program. Rhule thought about words of Bill Belicheck, who said he wanted to block out the old trophies.