On Monday, Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos made his 2018-19 debut on Sports Nightly with Greg Sharpe, the first of monthly hour-long appearances on the radio show.
Moos discussed excitement around the state and in the athletic department following Scott Frost’s return to Lincoln, his revamping of the nutrition, sports medicine and strength and conditioning programs including the return of Dave Ellis and upgrades to Memorial Stadium.
That wasn’t all, however. Moos touched on a handful of other topics as well in his 60 minutes in front of the mic.
First of all, the excitement building around the state and within the athletic department seems to be shared among the student body based on how quickly student tickets for football games sold out.
“They are engaged and they had a little apathy also,” Moos said about the students in the past. “But we want the students involved. This is a concern across the country. There are so many things that young people are looking at doing and all this social media and everything else. But I’ve said this publicly and I’m going to do it right now: there will be a game this year, this season, where the students will make a difference between winning and losing. They’ve got to get there early, they’ve got to stand, they’ve got to be into it, they’ve got to be loud and they’ve got to stay until the very end because there will be one, maybe more, that they will be the difference. So when I got word that the student tickets are sold out, that put a big smile on my face because I’m confident that’s going to happen.”
Moos shared his thoughts on the expansion of fall camp rosters from 105 to 110.
“Any time you can get more participation, it’s a good thing,” Moos said. “We’re kind of the poster child there with our walk-on program and those sorts of things. I think it’s super. We’re going to have to address some other things in regards to squad size anyway and one of those is the travel squad size. Now that freshmen can play four games and still keep their redshirt, well OK, that’s a disadvantage when you go on the road and somebody else can put their freshmen in and you have a little bit of a challenge there. A lot of these things are going to have to pan out but growing that number to 110, I’m all for that.”
Despite the questions the new redshirt rule necessitates, Moos said he is in favor of the change.
“Why are we in the business? It’s for the young student-athletes,” Moos said. “Here you go, you’ve got a real high-powered running back, for example, and he’s showing some good stuff in fall camp and you say ‘Let’s get him in; we’ve got an opponent we should beat in our opener so let’s put him in.’ Well, you put him in and he freezes in front of 90,000 fans in Memorial Stadium, you’ve lost him until this year. Let’s hold him out, let him get adjusted a little bit more. We’ve got three more games that we can use him and let him ease into it …
“The other part of it, let’s go fast-forward to the end of the season, you’re dealing with some injuries. ‘Hey, Bobby’s really come along. I think he can help us. Maybe he can go in at that number two slot there at the H-back and help us out because our numbers are down and not lose a year; he’s still going to have four. I think it’s a win-win situation for the player and for the program, and any time you can get one of those, it’s a slam dunk in my opinion.”
Moos also said he is a fan of the change to the kickoff because of the reduced chance of devastating collisions.
One caller asked Moos how the AD orchestrated the class schedule adjustments that allowed for the morning practices Frost wanted.
“It’s a tribute to this institution,” Moos said. “Everybody’s on board, and in order to be successful, it can’t just be the people in intercollegiate athletics, you have to have the entire campus. It begins with the president, Hank Bounds, Chancellor Ronnie Green, to the provost’s office which oversees admissions and the registrar’s office and all of that. We made the plea early on when Scott got here and wanted to practice in the mornings to get this addressed if at all possible and they went to work, the faculty had some concerns here and there but by and large they’ve been very, very accommodating and here we are.
“We had it in place in spring ball — we had to adjust when we practiced because there were so many sections that couldn’t be changed by then, but now, we’re pretty much in full swing and out practice times, which are in the morning, have worked out great and I tip my hat to everybody that was involved with that and there were a lot of people.”
Finally, Moos shared that he will be visiting fans in both Lincoln and Omaha next week along with Sharpe and Associate Athletic Director for Football Matt Davison. The trio will spend some time the Husker Nation Kickoff Luncheon for season ticket holders in Lincoln on Aug. 23 at the Embassy Suites Lincoln and in the Omaha metro on Aug. 24 at the Embassy Suites La Vista. Tickets went on sale to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesday for $30 apiece and can be purchased at Huskers.com/tickets.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.