Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos joined Greg Sharpe on Monday night for his first monthly appearance on Sports Nightly of the new season.
After a bit of discussion about Dorothy Lynch salad dressing (Moos is apparently a fan), Sharpe opened by inquiring about the fan excitement Moos has noticed among the fanbase following a recent trip to Beatrice.
“We felt that ever since Scott [Frost] came and joined us,” Moos said. “As it’s building up, we just need to look back at the spring game and that sellout in 36 hours — when I tell people that they just can’t believe it. There’s a tremendous energy around the state and it’s just building and building and building, and I tell ya — it’s going to be fun on September 1, because when it pops — I’m not talking about the balloons, I’m talking about when we hit the field for the tunnel walk and such — it’s going to be a tremendous show and a great feel of passion.”
The excitement surrounding Frost’s return hasn’t been limited to the fanbase. Moos said he feels it in-house as well.
“Not just the players, but the staff,” Moos said. “They’re all excited and doing all the great work that they do. Our people know because our fans are so knowledgeable, but there are so many things that have to be working right before a football program or any of our programs can function properly. We’ve got great professionals in all of those positions and areas, and they’re exited too. When the scoreboard is right and it’s done properly, everybody benefits and everybody has a little more skip to their step, and that’s kind of what we’re feeling right now.”
As Moos has stated in the past, he’s not a micromanager. He hires his coaches and then lets them do their jobs. However, he did say he’s stopped by a couple of football practices this fall.
“I have gone to a couple for 10 or 15 minutes and been impressed,” Moos said. “One that I went to was the very first one — I have seen some opening practices in college football and that was about as good as I’ve seen for being organized, focused, the players were eager and excited. I did go last Saturday for 15, 20 minutes and that looked good too. I heard we came off a little bit of a lackluster day the day before and that will happen early. About that fourth or fifth day, Greg you’ve been around it, guys lose their legs and so he brought them indoors and it seems like they got them back and it was an up-tempo, good, healthy, exciting practice from just the little bit that I saw.”
A hot topic around Husker Nation recently has been the return of director of performance nutrition Dave Ellis, and Moos offered his two cents (or in this case, a lot more than that).
“That is exciting,” Moos said. “He’s the best in the business and we want the best in the business; I think we’re showing that. You’ve got to pay a little bit more but hey, you get a lot more when you pay a little bit more and that’s OK; I don’t have any problem with that. Again, people want to be a part of this show here. This is the happening place. And then to factor in the fact that Dave is a Nebraska grad, that just adds to it.”
Nebraska announced Ellis’ return on July 20 and Moos said Ellis is still putting his staff together.
“He will take care of football and oversee all the rest,” Moos said. “We’ll have a staff of, I believe it’s five, so he’s got four to hire still and he’s in the progress of doing that.”
Moos stressed the importance of Ellis’ work with everyone in the athletic department to give the student-athletes the best chance for success.
“The training table will answer to him and the nutrition, Greg, is such an important part of the business because you’ve heard me say before: you can’t put two-bit gasoline into a sports car and expect it to perform,” Moos said. “So we want to make sure that we’re fueling these young people right, they’re hydrated properly, because we ask a lot of them and this is a tough league, this is a tough level of play, and we have to have them fueled properly. That’s a big, big deal. Not unlike Boyd Employ’s Husker Power that will turn 50 years old next year, we are out front in nutrition. In the ‘90s when Tom Osborne was coaching, Nebraska was known for it. We maybe got a little lax and some of the competition had gotten out ahead of us that were led by, in a consulting way, none other than Dave Ellis. So why have him working and improving our competition when he’s one of ours? He’s happy to be back.”
Communication and cooperation is something Moos has prioritized since his arrival in Lincoln. In the light of recent reports about the likes Maryland, Michigan State and Ohio State, Moos discussed the structure of the nutrition, sports medicine and strength and conditioning at Nebraska.
“We’ve revamped it since I’ve been here,” Moos said. “It was a priority — we call it the performance area in our new structure. I put that under Dr. Todd Stull and that is what he’s in charge of. By that I mean nutrition, our training table piece of that, strength, conditioning. Dr. Lonnie Albers is still in charge of the sports medicine piece that works in harmony with Dr. Stull. Our NAPL, our performance lab, all those things are extremely, extremely important and all have to be in place for a program to really benefit from them. At the same time, there have to be reporting lines, there needs to be people you can go talk to if something may be out of whack.
“I’m not just saying this, that or whatever, but I think Maryland’s situation, Michigan State, the Ohio State deal, learn from those, be proactive — that’s how I approach it — and make sure everybody has a means to report these kinds of things because they are important. The safety and the well-being of our student athletes is the most important, right there with moving them towards their degrees academically. If you have the quality of young people that are going to be good in the classroom and focused on that as well as the field of competition, and you have the right coaches and the support staff, we’re not going to have to worry about these types of things. I’m very confident that at Nebraska we do it right and we’ll continue to make sure we do it right.”
Moos said he holds all-staff meetings to talk about various issues and to make expectations clear. Moos said he wants everyone under his wings to be on the same page.
Finally, Moos offered an update on the upgrades to Memorial Stadium. Fans that drive by over the summer likely noticed cranes towering over the stadium.
“The cranes were all about lights, the improvement in the lights,” Moos said. “Everything’s on television. There are night games — it doesn’t matter if it’s even during the day, you’ve got the lights on. That upgrade — we continue to invest in our facilities because they’re all very, very good. We also worked all through the spring and the summer on the north part of the stadium adding concessions and restrooms, which we really needed to do. We’re going to come back and do the same on the south side as we continue agin to upgrade the stadium to take care of our fans. We’ve got a lot more to do there. Our fans have filled that stadium since 1962. We want it filled beyond 2062 so we’ve got to continue to take care of our fans, make sure they have the amenities and are able to get to their seats comfortably and timely.”
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.