If you’re worried about the Nebraska football brand being tarnished by recent struggles, new offensive coordinator Troy Walters is not.
“The brand is powerful,” Walters said during an appearance on Husker Sports’ Sports Nightly talk show. “I tell you what, when I’ve gone into schools and homes, people take notice of the ’N.’”
Walters, coming to Nebraska along with the rest of the 2017 Central Florida staff once they wrap up the season, said people perk up when he walks into a high school or a home with the ’N’ on his chest. They know the tradition, and they know the success can come back.
That might be part of why Walters doesn’t view this rebuild of sorts as daunting as the previous one the staff took on. Another reason, simply put: Nebraska wasn’t 0-12.
“I think going there, we’re better off than when we came here,” Walters said. “They weren’t 0-12. They’ve got good football players still around and so I don’t think the transformation will be as difficult.”
Still, it will be a transformation. Nebraska labored through it’s worst season in half a century last year with four straight losses at home and a 4-8 closing record. When Scott Frost took over as head coach, he said Nebraska was going to go fast — in the weight room, in the meeting room, on the practice field and under the lights of Memorial Stadium. Walters elaborated.
“That’s kind of the MO of this system and the proof is in the pudding,” Walters said. “Our main job and our main goal as an offense, and a defense, is to put stress on the opposing team and we feel like we can do that by playing fast and getting them out of their comfort zone.
“Everything we do is going to be in attack mode. We’re going to attack each day, attack each practice, attack each meeting and I think once the guys realize the type of speed we’re going to play, the type of mentality — fast is not only physical but it’s also a mentality — we’re going to play with an attack mode and we’re going to get after teams and get after whatever’s in front of us.”
In order to do that, though, they need buy-in from the players. When Walters and the rest of the staff first got to Central Florida, they had talent. Frost has said before: they didn’t win games but the players weren’t losers. They just weren’t having fun
“We came in and made sure that No. 1, they enjoyed working, they enjoyed going out on the field, they enjoyed being around each other, being around their teammates,” Walters said.
Before figuring out a two-deep or deciding who will be on the field in what situation or anything else Xs-and-Os related, that will be the priority. Walters and the rest of the staff need the players to enjoy football before anything else can happen. And even though Walters sees the rebuild in Lincoln differently than he viewed the rebuild in Orlando, the blueprint will largely stay the same.
“Any time you take over an 0-12 program, it gives you a blueprint of how to get things turned around,” he said. "We’re going to use that same blueprint and go in there and build relationships, get to know the young men and allow them to get to know us, build that trust factor.
“Let them know that if you follow this process, if you buy in, if you trust the vision that Coach Frost and these coaches have for you all, then this is what can happen. 12-0 is attainable.”
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.