Nebraska volleyball kicked off its fall camp on Monday with players and Coach John Cook fielding questions from the media. It was there that Cook revealed publicly one of his themes for the 2017 season — “reinvent.”
“We graduated four seniors, there was a lot of ball touches, kills and blocks that moved on from those four,” he said at the Huskers’ Media Day on Monday. “If you look at our staff, we’ve placed six coaches in the last year in coaching positions, between our coaches and our grad managers. I’ve had to replace a lot of people.”
Between All-American seniors leaving, assistants moving on to new programs and Nebraska coming off a disappointing end to the 2016 season, Cook and his staff have had to approach this one with a different focus.
“For me it’s about a reinvent and that’s really energized me,” he said.
Might as well make that the theme of the fall for athletics at Nebraska, or at least the big two, because you could say reinvent is the story on the football field, too.
The football Huskers also graduated a big share of seniors, lost a lot of catches, throws, tackles and runs from that group. It brought in a new defensive coordinator to install a new scheme. Of course the quarterback is new, which is expected to make the offense feel more familiar to Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf, but perhaps new to Husker fans.
We’ve known and talked about all of that for a long time now. But here’s the key question: Do you sense excitement about it? Not from the fans, but the coaches?
Bob Diaco has came in and made an impact day one with his enthusiasm, but you get the sense that intensity is just his resting state. That was going to be there no matter what.
Riley? He used the word “interested” at Big Ten media days, which might just be his muted version of excitement because I did sense at least a little of it in Chicago. Riley spent a lot of time talking about all of the questions facing Nebraska at the start of the 2017 season, but through it all there was an undercurrent of belief in what he’d seen behind closed doors with this team. “The way I feel about this team is very, very positive,” he said.
On the excitement meter, “positive” is probably even a little farther to the right than “interested.” It’s just not quite as up front as Cook’s comment yesterday. You got the sense with him back in April that he was ready to attack the fact that Nebraska volleyball, given all it had to replace, would face doubts in 2017.
Is Nebraska football about to do the same? The situations aren’t all that different.
Ticket Sales in Storrs
Chances are good that you didn’t pay a ton of attention to Diaco’s exit at Connecticut last December. It was a strange and tense situation, but Husker fans are hoping they’ll benefit from UConn’s decision to try to recapture the past with Randy Edsall.
UConn AD David Benedict was asked about that change and how it had impacted ticket sales to this point and worked a slight dig at Diaco in there:
“As it relates to our fans we’re tracking about where we were last year,” Benedict said. “Which in some ways is a win in itself because had we not made the change I think there would have been a significant drop off in season ticket purchases.”
Earlier in the conversation, Benedict shared what he likes about having Randy Edsall in charge.
“I believed that what we needed was stability,” he said. “He was able to basically take all that experience he had at UConn and immediately hit the ground running.”
Benedict also had some interesting comments about recruiting if you care to wade into the Huskies’ he-said, she-said.
The Grab Bag
- Do the Huskers have what it takes at linebacker for the new scheme? Jacob Padilla asked some people who might now a little bit about playing in a 3-4 — Wisconsin Badgers.
- How many teams are cheating in college football? Fifty-seven percent of FBS coaches polled say 10 percent or less.
- Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has been approved for pretrial diversion on two marijuana citations.
- Pat Forde ranks the 25 most intriguing coaches in college football this year.
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.