Coming soon!

We're taking a short break while we put the finishing touches on a fresh, new way of delivering Nebraska athletics content and stories. Visit soon to experience the next evolution of Huskers sports coverage.
Photo Credit: Brady Oltmans

Nebraska Players, Rhule Share Excitement For Upcoming Season at Big Ten Media Days

July 27, 2023

Matt Rhule is nothing if not intentional. And there’s a reason he chose Ethan Piper, Luke Reimer and Jeff Sims as the team’s three representatives at Big Ten Football Media Days in Indianapolis this week.

Piper is the embodiment of what Rhule wants Nebraska football to be. He’s a dedicated community member and a homegrown Husker in a position that does the dirty work. The Norfolk Catholic graduate offensive lineman spent a week this summer volunteering with other Huskers building a playground outside a school in Panama.

“I think it was just a statement of how you’re viewed as a player at Nebraska,” Piper said Thursday. “That leadership role, as an offensive lineman I’m kind of the old head in the room, been around and played in a lot of games so far. I’ve been working on my voice to be able to communicate with how things are done.”

Rhule said he chose Reimer because he’s a tough, defensive-minded guy. He’s also a native Nebraskan and that means something. Sims, a transfer, is here for a multitude of reasons. Rhule said he’s a quarterback and, to him, being the team’s quarterback is important. He’s also seen Sims grow as an athlete and a teammate from the days of studying the spring roster. Sims said he felt comfortable knowing the names of his new teammates after the first week of spring ball. They’ve all come closer now, with fall camp just days away.

A byproduct of Rhule’s personality leading the team involves multiple team-bonding activities. Sims and Reimer both brought up bowling. Reimer said Grant Buda is the team’s best bowler. Buda sets himself apart not only because of his score, he even brings his own ball. Bowling night also helped bridge the gap between Sims and receiver Zavier Betts. Neither are bad at bowling and it started a competition. Betts then told Sims his story, about how the Bellevue West graduate stepped away from football and came back. That bond has now transferred onto the field, where Sims called Betts “a truly special” player.

“He’s just attacking it head-on, man,” Sims said. “He’s made big strides this offseason, I’m very proud of Zavier for that.”

Reimer said those team-bonding activities translate onto the field. As someone who lives with multiple fellow linebackers, Reimer complimented the collaborative mentality among the team. He also sees on-field positivity playing in the new defense. Reimer’s speed makes him a natural fit within defensive coordinator Tony White’s 3-3-5, which the linebacker said he wasn’t familiar with at first. Then the Lincoln North Star graduate went through spring ball. Everything fell together then.

“It’s a run-and-gun defense, if you will,” Reimer said. “We’re not going to sit back, we’re going to attack the offenses to get them off schedule so it opens up a lot for me where I can use my speed, my agility and that sort of thing to go make plays.”

The three Huskers and their head coach are all excited about the upcoming season. They want to make Nebraska football successful again but each said it takes incremental growth in order to build sustainable success. And they’re optimistic their teammates feel the same way.

Rhule said he believes tight end Arik Gilbert “should be able to play” but the NCAA has not yet made a ruling on his waiver. Gilbert originally transferred from LSU to Georgia. Then, after not really playing in two seasons, he transferred to Nebraska in December. The NCAA has not returned comment from Hail Varsity regarding his waiver and no timeline has been established as to when that ruling will be made.

  • Never miss the latest news from Hail Varsity!

    Join our free email list by signing up below.