There is an adjustment period for all freshmen.
Even ones that were borderline 5-star tight ends coming out of high school like Thomas Fidone. The Huskers landed the Council Bluffs native over the heavyweights of college football, but once players arrive on campus all bets are off. The tight end (6-5, 220) has all the physical tools to be a playmaker at the college level. Making an impact in the Big Ten, however, is about more than being the best athlete on the field.
“Well the first two days for him, the game is faster than he experienced in high school,” tight ends coach Sean Beckton said. “So, he’s got to understand the pace of play. Our guys move. They are bigger, faster and stronger. Then all of the details that he wasn’t coached in high school, he’s got to understand details help you win routes. Details help you win blocking schemes and all those different things.
“He’s really starting to see, ‘Hey coach, I still don’t know a whole bunch.’ So being a highly-touted kid, he’s very, very humble and is working extremely hard.”
Beckton is coaching Fidone hard and it helps that the young tight end has been coachable. There was going to be a learning curve for Fidone when he arrived in Lincoln. That is why it was important for him to get to Lincoln for winter conditioning and spring practice. The sooner Fidone can have these “welcome to college football” moments, the better.
There will be a lot of focus this spring on the Huskers’ highest-rated recruit from the 2021 recruiting class. His development into the type of player his recruiting ranking suggests will be fun to track. For now, if we continue to hear about his work ethic and learning under players like veteran Austin Allen that will be a great thing.
“All the young guys whether you are a receiver or tight end we take you under our wing,” Allen said. “One thing I’ve noticed about Thomas is that he is learning really fast. He picked up the playbook really well. I get texts at 10:30 at night asking about mid-zone. He’s eager to learn and get out there. He’s going to do great things at Nebraska.”
The offensive staff will throw the whole playbook at young players. The pass catching tight end is learning how to play the traditional tight end role and has been split out so far. Fidone will get plenty of reps this spring to improve his game. Beckton noted on Wednesday that Fidone is running with the first, second and third group to get all the details down.
Time will tell how much Fidone is in the plan for the 2021 season. He’s going to get every opportunity to work his way onto the field. As Beckton noted, each day is an opportunity for Fidone to be better than he was the previous practice. That approach will go a long way for the freshman.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.