The Portal and Our Staff Rebuilding Relationships

One of the things that absolutely ticked me off and got me in many arguments on the former message board, was the fact people would defend Frost with “Riley Culture” and “it is really going to take awhile to change the losing attitude he inherited.” It was complete blind “Frost can do no wrong” rhetoric, especially in the transfer portal era. We went 4-8, fine. Then we went 5-7 and people came with that, and I was willing to at least listen. But after we broke NCAA practicing rules to play in 2020 and still lost, I knew it was over at that time. Didn’t even need the 2021 season or the start of 2022, we were done. The fact is, people are turning things around in 2 seasons no matter what they took over this day in age of college football.

Rhule has a huge issue facing him, because the people that made up Frost had this massive uphill climb are in a world of hurt now because we are actually having players come out and say there’s a losing attitude on the team now. This isn’t just message board blasphemy to defend a coach you like, this is guys from the lockerroom saying it to the media. Crazy times.

What frustrated me was all you have to do is eradicate the problem. And I thought that’s what we were doing when I saw stuff like this:

In that article, of the 164 man roster, 131 joined since Frost became coach. And that article is from January 2020. So it wasn’t a losing culture problem, it was a development and coaching issue. Which is why I was so mad listening to people telling me it was a losing culture issue. All these players knew was what the previous staff was telling them.

And Rhule is doing his best to mimic the situation, and he’s doing what I would do. If we truly have a losing culture, freaking get rid of them. All of them. You have a grace period in your first season or two, so you can be young. You can be inexperienced. But Rhule is attacking the transfer portal much more aggressively than we saw with Frost. For the most part, Frost just grabbed pieces here and there where we needed immediate help. Rhule on the other hand is grabbing anyone and everyone that he thinks will create competition.

For example, while I agree with some people we needed to upgrade our WR depth, they obviously targeted that in the portal. Further, they grab the most WRs in the recruiting class, and lastly, we have Garcia-Castenada back as well as Betts. There’s plenty of skill in that room.

The transfer portal has me feeling really good that we won’t see a 1 or 2 win first season with Rhule like he had at Baylor or Temple. I think we can get to a bowl game quite honestly, if we attack the following section.

I think we are sitting close to or at 95 scholarships right now, this is something that was never done with previous regimes. This staff is trying to give themselves every opportunity to create competition on our team. We will see a mass exodus after spring, probably for some guys we don’t want to see, but it will be more about them not jiving with the staff or being overtaken by other players.

So what are our needs

It was pretty evident with us going after Rouse that we do feel we still need OL help. Look, I appreciate Rhule thinking we are ok there and have some dudes. I honestly think he may have kept Raiola to show that he can win with who we had here previously. But whether he likes it or not, we need more help. One more OL is needed in the portal who can play immediately. The good news is there’s a few out there still, and there will be even more in the spring.

Tightend is another spot that we absolutely need to get some kid that has played college football and exceled already. We can not rely on a high school recruit. They need to do something here in a hurry.

While our coaches attacked the linebackers hard in the portal, we need more help at DL. I still haven’t been able to figure out who out of the “edge” guys will maybe shift down to the DE/DT spot. Is a guy like Maverick Noonan going to beef up and do it? But we just need more help there.

Coaches doing work on the trail

I made mention with this tweet:

Typically, we had a coach or two responsible for Omaha and/or the state. Ruud had that responsibility, and it just gets tough to develop what you need as one guy. This week, our staff had not only one but two guys roaming around Omaha. Foley was making the rounds to places even if they didn’t have a ton of kids recently:

And for what it’s worth, I know he was at more places than that. And I also usually take with a grain of salt the coaches who complain about not feeling the love, these guys can’t be everywhere. I always compare what I see to other teams. What always bothered me about Nebraska the past few years was Iowa, Iowa State, and Kansas State they were getting to our schools first. They were evaluating and offering our guys first. It was tough.

And think about it, most schools don’t have more than one coach dedicated to Nebraska. While I think our talent is undervalued, other schools can get more bang for their buck in Missouri, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and schools like that with multiple coaches.

So let’s say you’re a coach that didn’t think he got a ton of love the last few years. Foley comes to just shoot the shit with you. He tells you that he was given his itinerary by the recruiting admin and looked at it and goes “give me some more”. That’s really cool. But imagine how cool it is when Foley says “alright I have to get going, by the way Coach Satterfield will be here later this afternoon.”

What? Two coaches in one day? That’s crazy awesome. Now, I have no idea if this is going to pay dividends or not. But I can tell you guys like Flores won’t be leaving the state without an offer anymore. Really good to see.

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17 thoughts on “The Portal and Our Staff Rebuilding Relationships

  1. How is Rhule going handle Walk-Ons? I think this can still be a difference maker for Nebraska. I thought Bo did a good job with walk ons but since then, not so well. I have not heard anything about it.

    1. Will be interesting to see how that goes. He won’t be Callahan, but he won’t be Bo/Frost with it either if I had to guess. One of the things I was curious about, is when hiring all these guys with Texas or Florida high school connections, that’s fine, but what if you hired some Nebraska high school coach to help with your walk-on recruiting? That would probably be just as beneficial. And i’m one of those guys who says we have too many on the roster right now.

    2. It can make a difference at times, but we really need to get elite talent. I know Nebraska people love the walk-on program but even in our hay day, the starters were highly coveted players. I think Rhule knows how to manage a roster and we as fans need to quit worrying so much about Blackshirts, Walk-Ons and all of the nostalgia stuff and focus more on Rhule’s process because it seems to be a pretty good one. He’s a relationship specialist and it is already showing dividends.

      1. I’m with you. There are guys like Reimer and others that it really helped with. But to your point, we need to be evaluating and bringing in some good talent year in and year out on scholarship.

  2. Yeah no one knows for sure how this will turn out. I will say what I’m hearing how he’s going about recruiting, how he’s organized, visiting in state schools, the moves on staff with Texas ties, his social media plays, going to Nebraska events, this seems like much more of a professional and systematic way about setting up ship, and feels like there is a long-term vision of what needs to happen for long-term success.

    I know the past few regimes didn’t just sit there and do nothing, but the types of things I’m hearing makes me think “Oh that’s what’s actually possible…”

    I have no illusions we’re going to be winning national championships in a few years, and that there will undoubtedly be some badbhirees, bad recruits, and ugly points along the way, but at least it feels like there’s an actual plan to make us competitive from a theoretical and organizational point of view.

  3. Great perspective, as always. Seems really clear by how high we are over the limit that from now until the end of spring practice is the chance that players have to impress the new staff. After that, it’s evaluation time and the staff cuts down to the best 85…or players see the writing on the wall and look for another place to play.

  4. So when do we get the write up on S&C?

    I think we have to stop digging too deep on some of Rhule’s public comments and focus more on the actions. This is a very positive group with a lot of energy. He’s not going to trash his predecessor(s). He’s won’t say we have a serious talent or culture issue that needs to be upended. His roster upheaval tells you how he feels about what he inherited. Everyone focuses on his OL comments like he’s saying we have the guys to go compete with Georgia if we just tweak a few things. He’s actually saying I think we have more talent than we showed last year but need to do a better job helping the OL get there (if anything this was an indirect shot at Whipple). Then he said he would keep pushing to add talent and competition in that room. Its just his style, but his actions tell me we signed 4/5 freshman for this spot and as of a week ago thought we’d have 3 transfers. I expect us to target more OL transfers too. I love that these guys just keep going. We could see 15 more people leave before fall camp if they close out well because we are going to add at least 3 more to this group (fingers crossed on that UGA TE).

    1. I need to have more conversations about what’s actually happening currently before I can talk S&C. I can’t find much on our guy.

      In regard to Rhule, I agree. He’s making all the right moves in my opinion. For example, I got frustrated we lost all our TE targets and boom, he grabs a former five star.

      1. This is the best recruiting staff we have had since Callahan. I hope they coach just as well. Its so refreshing versus where we were. And Im even more excited that we will have an attacking, not passive, defense for once. Its becoming pretty clear why his teams seem to have a 3 year trajectory to being really good. I think we can win 8 in year 2 if they keep their foot on the gas.

  5. One things obvious about Rhule he ain’t lazy and appears to have no hobbies outside of football. Initially at his press conference, I thought he might be blowing smoke up our asses but I don’t get that feeling now. I think after his NFL debacle he has a chip on his shoulder to prove his pundits wrong. I’m somewhat concerned with the youth and inexperience of some of the assistants but Rhule has a lot more experience at this than I will ever have, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Also, I don’t think there will be a repeat of his initial Temple and Baylor starts. I honestly believe he can get NU to 500 his first season, if the Oline can play at an average level and key players stay healthy. In some respects, I have more concern about the defense than the offense which is a reversal of what I thought after the Iowa game.

    Finally, NU hasn’t had a winning season and been to a bowl game in 6 freaking years. I have no issue with Rhule bringing in as many players as possible to create competition at every position.

    1. I somehow think we get to a bowl game next year. Not sure how, but I think we can do it. Minnesota will probably get us game 1, but after that we can rattle off 3 straight and be 3-1 heading to Michigan.

      1. Been a lurker here for some time. I followed you on those other sites as well.
        This will be my first comment.
        Starting with the walk Ons. I believe it will get smaller. I believe this staff is going to give almost all to the HS recruits and the Transfers. This staff has covered so much ground already. You have Cooper staying up all Nite watching film. You have Foley visiting the Foltzs family. You have this staff recruiting their asses off. They have to implement a new defensive and offensive scheme. They all have to acclimate to the B1G. I could go on, but I believe that’s enough for now.
        I like how they are hitting the transfer portal hard. I’m a little leery of the Georgia guys. Specifically, the TE and now they OT. Both look awesome at first, but now we are hearing that they both come with potential problems. The TE, mental health and the OT had ankle surgery. Anyhow, thanks for giving me a moment. looking forward to reading many more of your very informative articles.
        Thank you, from a lifelong Husker fan living in the Black Hills of SD.

      2. Black Hills! Love that spot, used to frequent Rapid City, Spearfish, and Deadwood. Anyway, thanks for sticking around.

        I have a piece next week about just how excited we should be with these new transfers. I’m right there with you on some of these guys. But I do think there’s some reason for optimism.

  6. SSO – great piece as always. One thing I do know: Rhule has been working his ass off since day one. Getting good players into the fold for competition at key spots. Repairing relationships, bringing kids like Betts back. I think he is making quick initial relationships that will grow. This gives me confidence that he and is staff will do the same thing with actual coaching. What do you think SSO?

    1. Sorry for the delay pretty busy. Couldn’t agree more. They won’t lose due to lack of relationships in state. It may take a year or two to repair, but there is a crazy amount of communication going on right now.

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