Events like the Big Red Blitz — the three-stop tour across the state athletic director Bill Moos and a collection of Husker coaches made on Thursday — are chances to fire up the fan base. In essence, they’re big pep rallies.
During stops in Fremont and Ashland, Moos, Scott Frost, Fred Hoiberg and the other coaches dropped some memorable one-liners, back-and-forths and more.
>> The first zinger came from Moos in Fremont when asked about Colorado’s campaign to “keep the red out” when the Buffaloes host the Huskers this fall. Moos’ response was four words.
“We’re on our way.”
That drew a big round of applause from the fans and set the tone for the rest of the question-and-answer session. Later in the day in Ashland, Moos was asked again about Colorado but instead how Nebraska fans can get multiple tickets for the matchup. He has another zinger.
"I don't care if you get into the game,” Moos said. “I just want you around Boulder raising hell for those guys."
>> Scott Frost and Fred Hoiberg seem to be developing a nice little rapport, which produced this back and forth in response to a question from a fan asking Frost how much he can bench press.
Frost: “Not as much as you [referring to Brenden Stai, who was emceeing the event], but more than him (pointing to Hoiberg).”
Hoiberg wasn’t just going to take that lying down, however.
“I bet I could jump higher,” he said.
>> Similar to the Sports Nightly call-in shows, not everyone has a question. Sometimes, they just want to pass along a message of support. That was the case with the first “question” of the Q&A session.
“Coaches, thank you for blessing us with your presence today and the inspiration,” Stai read. “We hope that you have a great future with Nebraska athletics. Go Big Red.
Another fan just wanted to let Hoiberg know that his “Aunt Jane” is from his home town and was his third grade teacher. Hoiberg’s family ties really do run deep.
>> When it comes to Nebraska’s facilities, Moos has plans for the future. He specifically noted the south side of Memorial Stadium, where attention needs to be paid to the steep stairs for older fans.
As for how Nebraska’s facilities compare to other Big Ten facilities, Moos was specific on his expectations.
”We don’t want to keep up with the Joneses,” Moos said. “This is Nebraska. We are the Joneses.”
>> One fan had a two-part question for Frost: What sports did he play growing up and what football coach did he look up to most?
Frost’s extensive list of sports included basketball, track, football, soccer and golf, or in his words, everything. He went in a predictable direction with the coach question.
“I don’t have too many heroes in this life, but Tom Osborne is one of my heroes,” Frost said. “I know he’s yours too. It’s one thing to be great at something, one of the coaches said, it’s another to be great at something and do everything the right way. Coach Osborne wasn’t just a winning coach, he’s one of the best men that I’ve ever met and one of the best men that I know. That’s something we can all aspire to and probably never reach, but he’s a hero.”
>> How much does a workout cost with strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval?
“Which one of you asked that?” Frost said to the crowd. “I'd need to look at your stature to see what the rate would be."
When the fan stood up from the middle of the room, Frost joked they would “have some work to do.”
>> Wrestling coach Mark Manning spoke about Lincoln hosting the Final X on June 15, the final qualifying event for the senior world team for the 2019 World Wrestling Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, Sept. 14-22. Two former Huskers—Jordan Burroughs and James Green—will be competing. Manning encouraged fans to show up and offer their support.
However, Hoiberg chimed in after Manning made his pitch to fans that he was an eighth grade wrestling champion and he would be happy to spar with Burroughs if needed. Manning just laughed.
>> Frost talked a bit about where his team is now versus this time last year. He noted players like Matt Farniok, Brenden Jaimes and Boe Wilson have all made strides in the offseason so far and that special teams will be better as the roster improves.
“They’re not a complete team,” he said. “But they’re getting there.”