It’s been a whirlwind year for Nebraska’s football coaches, as well as a big year of change for the players. It’s also been a season that’s been anything but expected, but the team (especially the seniors) see it as a launch pad for the future of the program.
As friends and families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Huskers are preparing for their matchup with Iowa on Friday. That doesn’t mean the team hasn’t had an opportunity to reflect on what means most to them.
Here’s what Nebraska’s coaches and players are thankful for this year.
Coach Scott Frost
“My son. We were blessed with a child. I’m kind of late with my first child but it’s changed my life. It’s changed my perspective on a lot of things and everybody always told me that being a dad was the best thing in the world, and I didn’t understand until I had my own. It certainly makes my life better and makes me enjoy everything about what I do more knowing he’s waiting for me when I get home.”
Senior offensive lineman Tanner Farmer
“I’m thankful for my team. This coaching staff and everybody, being able to experience this and be a part of something so special, I couldn’t have asked for more in my life. I’m so happy I got to experience this.”
Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez
“I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my teammates that I have around me and these coaches and just thankful that I chose Nebraska. It’s been a great choice and I’m happy to have the people around me that I do.”
Offensive line coach Greg Austin
“I’m thankful for my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Other than that, I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for life and for my wife and my kids. I’m thankful for my guys because they’ve been awesome.”
Outside linebackers and special teams coach Jovan Dewitt
“I’m thankful first and foremost for my wife and my kids. I have a 14-year-old, a 12-year-old and three-year-old. Every day, no matter how my day goes, they make me smile. I’m also thankful for my dog, Ellie. My family is always happy to see me no matter how my day went, they’re smiling and I’m thankful for that more than anything.”
Running backs coach Ryan Held
“My son being born and being a part of this Husker family. Those two things. Family in general but being a part of this and being a part of the reason to get this where it needs to be. It’s special.”
Quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco
“For God, for family and country. Also, for faith, hope and love.”
Senior defensive back Tre Neal
“For the brotherly bonds I’ve built in such a short time. It could have been rough coming from a different school and being a transfer, being here for such a short time but these guys have taken me in and treated me like I’ve been here four or five years, so that’s what I’m most thankful for.”
Senior defensive back Antonio Reed
“I would say the thing I’m most thankful for is the people I love and my brothers around here. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today so I just want to thank them.”
Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander
“I’m thankful for my family obviously. My wife, kids, parents and my brothers. They’ve been supporting us and coming to a lot of games. I’m thankful for being at Nebraska. It’s been an unbelievable experience for me. It’s not quite the year that everyone wanted it to be but it’s a really good year for us a staff and a program with the way things are finishing up. I’m thankful to be here.”
Sophomore defensive back Dicaprio Bootle
“I’m really thankful for my family for holding me down my whole life really. I’m thankful for God. That should have been number one. I’m thankful for God giving me this opportunity to be here and living the life that I’m living right now. I’m thankful for this team of people around me. Everybody in this building for supporting me and keeping me going in good times and bad times.”
Freshman kicker Barret Pickering
“Definitely thankful for my friends and family. Everyone who has supported me over the years and still supports me now. I’m thankful for all that.”
Defensive line coach Mike Dawson
“Well, first of all, I’m thankful for my family. I have a great family at home that is supportive of me having this job, being away with crazy hours. I wouldn’t be able to do this without them. I’m very thankful, because I love being at Nebraska. I’m a Northeasterner that’s moved over so I’m thankful for Coach Frost. It’s been so great for me professionally and personally. I couldn’t thank him enough for being the guy responsible for bringing me here and letting me coach for him.”
Senior defensive lineman Mick Stoltenberg
“Definitely my family. Especially this last Senior Day, I had a ton of family come out and support me and it’s been great, just through everything we’ve had my family has always been one to come to the games. I’ve got extended family coming to away games and stuff like that and we’re going to have a huge Stoltenberg crew at the Iowa game on Friday. Always thankful for my family.”
Junior linebacker Mohamed Barry
“I’m thankful for my mother. I’m thankful that she has helped me throughout this process. She has embraced me and I’m very thankful for her. Every time I talk about my mother it always gets emotional. I’m thankful for her.
“I’m thankful for my teammates because this season hasn’t been easy. Even in the start of the season, we became closer, embraced each other and turned this ship around in the right direction.
“I’m thankful for this whole program, the fan base for sticking it out with us and just thankful to be alive.”
Senior linebacker Luke Gifford
“I’m thankful for family, the opportunity to play here, it’s been a dream of mine forever, friends, family, coaching staff and teammates. I’m so blessed and we’re blessed to be in this position that we are and you can’t take it for granted. Someday it will be over, and pretty soon for some of us seniors, but there’s a lot of things to be thankful for.”
Sophomore offensive lineman Matt Farniok
“Honestly, I’d say I’m pretty thankful for the seniors on this o-line. They’re great leaders. This year, obviously it did not turn out how we wanted it to turn out but week in and week out they gave it everything they’ve got. They didn’t shy away, they didn’t doubt the process, they weren’t quitting on the team. They fought with everything they had and now it’s the second half of the season but we’re seeing those results. I’m so thankful for those guys because they could have gone any route. They could have said, ‘Alright I’m done.’ They kept fighting, they kept believing and it’s awesome. I have nothing but respect for those guys.”