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Nebraska Tight Ends Coach Bob Wager Focused on ‘Human Development Before Player Development’

February 09, 2023

Bob Wager walked into the media room on the sixth floor of Memorial Stadium on Thursday and introduced himself. Not to everyone at once. He went one by one down the two rows of seats and shook hands with everyone in them. Pleasure to meet everyone, honored to be there.

Nebraska’s new tight ends coach, in his early 50s, is one of the veteran members of this staff. He said he’d “absolutely” been to Nebraska before, growing up with the program he now coaches among the top in the country. His family even snuck into Lincoln before Christmas to see if they really wanted to move to Nebraska for this job. Turns out, they did.

Wager said it’s been a speedy transition involving plenty of trips to Lincoln and then back down to Texas. Recruiting and for family. A man of considerable success across 31 years of coaching, the last 17 of which led Martin High School to consistently be the best program in Arlington, Texas, Wager admitted there had been other college coaching opportunities before. They simply didn’t work out for numerous reasons. This one was different because his son Gage is a high school senior and will walk-on at Nebraska next year. Also, it’s Nebraska and the head coach is Matt Rhule.

“At the end of the day it’s Coach Matt Rhule, a great staff, some of which I got to know in the last month and a half,” Wager said, “and it’s the university of Nebraska. That’s different.”

His relationship with Rhule goes back to the studs of the head coach’s time in Texas. Martin High was one of the first schools Rhule visited with now-Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire. He likes Rhule’s relationship-based coaching model and how he develops human beings. It’s something he also believes in.

Rhule is high on player development. It’s in the foundations of his college coaching career. That appeals to Wager. The new Nebraska tight ends coach said he’ll always be a high school football coach to a certain extent. So he wants to develop the person beneath the pads.

“At the end of the day if all we teach is blocking and tackling, I think we’ve sold them short,” Wager said. “I want to teach them how to be a good dad, want to teach them how to be a good husband. I want to teach them to be a great teammate, a great employee. Our meetings will always start with that. Human development before player development.”

This Nebraska coaching staff is just getting started on mapping out their system at Nebraska. Wager said he’s just getting to know the players he’ll be directly coaching. He also can’t speak much to what the tight ends at Nebraska will do next season. History tells him, however, Satterfield’s offense will likely involve multiple tight ends, physicality and re-establishing the line of scrimmage.

“I’m very, very excited to have the opportunity to have an impact on this offense,” Wager said.

Wager will also lend his brain to the special teams room. His teams at Martin High School became notorious in Texas high school football circles for its special teams schemes. Under Wager, Martin would spring a big return, block or special teams play seemingly every game, sources told Hail Varsity. He said Wednesday he’s excited to learn from special teams coordinator Ed Foley, as well as analyst Josh Martin.

“All of us will have a hand in that,” Wager said. “But I do think that’s an area we can create some separation. We made a living on it at the high school level. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to bring value to that in that regard.”

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Tags: Bob Wager