Control what you can control.
That was the theme for athletic director Bill Moos when he joined Sports Nightly on Monday. He covered a lot of ground in his monthly hour on the show but he made sure to take the time to applaud everyone involved with putting on the virtual spring game that turned out to be pretty enjoyable amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really have to applaud my people. Great, great job,” Moos said. “It was very innovative and they had a lot of fun with it. Shout out to Nick Burkhardt and our digital media people who brainstormed the idea and put the wheels in motions. Of course, Husker Vision and all our marketing and community relations folks. They did a great job. How about out marching band and the spirit squads. Everybody just did a great job.”
Moos said he challenged his people to be creative and have fun. His team hit the mark. Moos was thrilled with the numbers that Husker Nation helped produce for viewership and it was an impressive feat.
Saturday, Husker Nation TOOK OVER the internet.
— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) April 20, 2020
One of the more enjoyable aspects of Saturday’s festivities was seeing the former players who “participated” in the game by interacting on social media. There was a lot of “trash talk” between them which made the day more fun from Moos’ perspective.
The talk shifted to the prospect of having a real season. Moos explained that the school will be prepared for whatever conditions they have to play games under this fall. His opinion is that Nebraska needs to have its students back on campus attending classes before they can think about student-athletes competing. Still, Moos has an overall positive message for those hoping to have the football flying this season.
“A message [to fans] would be let's everybody stay healthy,” Moos said. “Let's get this Coronavirus on the down slope. Let's be smart. We’ll have things under control, we are going to take care of our student-athletes and fans. Let's look forward to getting back into Memorial Stadium and living that fall in Lincoln how it has been lived for decades and decades.
“My people will be ready. We are excited but we have to be smart. We have to use our good judgement and we’ll be back screaming and hollering to be the great Husker environment that we are so used to and appreciate.”
More news and notes:
>> Even though classes are not being taken in person, there is a need for Nebraska’s academic support.
“Our student-athletes are still taking classes,” Moos said. “So, they need the academic support. Dennis Leblanc of my staff is continuing to do a fabulous job with his staff. Not face to face but our student-athletes have access to all those people in our academic area. Same goes for compliance. There are questions and concerns that continue even though we aren’t practicing or in the classroom.
>> Nebraska has made a significant investment over the last few years in being back at the forefront of student-athlete nutrition. Moos thinks the right man is leading that charge for Nebraska now in uncertain times.
“Nutrition, I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job than Dave Ellis and our talented staff,” Moos said. “They made sure we continue to fuel and hydrate our student-athletes. No, they aren’t coming to the training table. We are practicing keeping a distance between each of those student-athletes, not being in groups. We do have a curbside grab and go that’s working tremendously. Right now, last I looked we have about 170-175 student-athletes that are taking advantage of that.
“We are operating. We are running. We are being creative in how we are doing our business. We are learning from it too. We will be better when all this is over because we explored new ways to do great things.”
>> Moos helped to welcome five former student-athletes and one head coach as members on the 2020 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame. That class of Amanda Burgoyne (bowling), Eric Crouch (football), Sam Francis (football; men's track and field), Maurtice Ivy (women's basketball) and Jordan Larson (volleyball) was announced April 15 along with legendary volleyball coach Terry Pettit.
“It just blows me away that we’ve only had six classes,” Moos said. “We have enough deserving and certainly eligible former student-athletes and coaches that we could put 25 in a year and still have a bottleneck. These folks are pretty amazing.”
>> It was a rough first season for first-year men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg. Year 1 bumps can be expected but Hoiberg added five new signees that can help the team. Many have played high-level Division I basketball. Moos is as excited as ever for the direction of the program.
“I think it’s in a great place. We all knew it would be a challenging first year. There is no great competitor than Fred Hoiberg. His career as a college athlete and great one. His time as a professional athlete in the NBA, an NBA head coach and front office individual he’s a competitor. We are going to win in men’s basketball at Nebraska. We all know that there is a great deal of talent that could not compete this year because of transfer rules. They are a talented group.
“Don’t miss out on this upcoming men’s basketball season.”