My post yesterday was getting kind of long, so i’m just continuing it with two more things i’m keeping a close eye on.
In-State Recruiting 2024
This staff has done an unreal job trying to develop the relationships with high school coaches. They started out hot, but can they keep it up? It’s easy to go out there when you have zero losses currently, what’s going to happen when you have to answer some tough questions instead of everyone just excited you are there? That’s the key.
And someone brought this up on a message board, that Frost couldn’t win with in-state recruiting. They stated “everyone is mad they didn’t offer enough guys, then they were mad they couldn’t land them, at some point there’s not enough scholarships to go around.” I think there’s some half truths there. I’m more pissed that Frost was late to the party and then we couldn’t land any of these dudes. Also when you get in year 4 or 5 and you are still preaching your vision rather than on the field results, that adds to the problem. As i’ve talked about before, you lose one guy in the top 5 with Dickerson, then 2 the following year, then 3 the year after that. The trend was there, but people still made excuses. I’m hoping that we just start landing who we offer rather than give excuses why it isn’t happening.
But with Rhule he’s going to be in a bit of a pickle, you’ve already seen it that recruiting hubs are pumping 4 in-state QBs as “very talented” for the 2024 cycle. Nebraska already has 6 QBs on scholarship, they are heading after Raiola hard as their #1 guy, so if they get him who knows if we will even take another guy. I know we are going to lose probably 2 QBs after spring, but for Rhule and company, the big thing will be making sure they are transparent to these coaches with where their players stand.
There are eventually going to be players that just don’t fit what Rhule and staff want for their scholarship players. How will that be handled? Remember, this is the same group of in-state people that were pissed Chris Walker didn’t have a scholarship and other guys that just didn’t pan out. I imagine Texas was exponentially worse, Rhule is just going to have to navigate that.
Track recruits 2023 vs OL recruits 2019
I’ve talked about this before, but I told everyone after our 2019 class was signed that I could tell you exactly how Frost’s tenure would go based on how his OL class ended up. You see, Frost grabbed 6 OL recruits in that class (7 when counting Piper). But if you remember, they made a huge push about how great their development was and grabbed guys like Fritzsche, Anderson, Lynn, Banks, Bland and Benhart. The staff basically said we are grabbing 6’5 plus linemen that are super athletic but need to put weight on. They trusted in themselves to grab athletic guys, put 50 pounds on them and make them 6’7 320.
When this happened it reminded me of a podcast I listened to where the Denver Broncos strength coach said he had that he was in pre-draft meetings with the coaching staff. The team really liked one of the WRs they thought they’d have a good chance to get in the draft. Their only hangup was he was a bit undersized. He says they asked him “do you think you could put 15-20 pounds on him to help get him through the NFL season.” His answer was exactly what I was preaching about the entirety of the last staff. He stated “I absolutely can put that on him, putting on weight is easy. The problem is if you put weight on someone like that, you are probably losing some of the things that have you so enamored with him.”
Think back to Tyjon Lindsey going from 160 to 200 pounds with the previous staff, getting injured, and never being the same again. Think back to this article of them celebrating Lynum putting on 15 pounds in “a matter of weeks” and “26 pounds since he’s been here”. How has Lynum done for us?
We were trying to defy physics which rarely works on planet earth. So now we fast-forward to Rhule. I love the fact that they are all over track speed guys. Look, you can get guys in the weight room and try to develop speed, but it’s really tough to develop speed like a couple of the guys we brought in. You take a look at a guy like Brice Turner who has 10.25 and 21.04 speed, you really can’t develop that in a weight room. Jaylen Lloyd’s natural track speed and jumping is something that can’t be taught for the most part, or everyone would do it.
But the concern I have is both these kids really weren’t massive standouts on the football field. They were track guys first. You can even look at guys like AJ Rollins who was a basketball guy first but struggled on the football field, we offered because of his ceiling based on metrics from camps and other things.
Let me be clear. I’m not mad at the offers. I’m just going to be very interested if we can turn some of these track guys into Big Ten football players. I don’t think it will be the end all be all, especially since you are bringing in guys like Malachi Coleman (who is great at track AND football) if those guys don’t work out. But i’m just going to be very curious. Sometimes there’s a reason that guys don’t have football offers or only have one from Prairie View A&M. If Rhule can get just one of these guys to contribute on top of some of the 4 star guys he’s bringing in at the position, he may be cooking with gasoline sooner than later.
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Not too worried about the in-state piece. I figure there’s always going to be some who don’t get offers or some who leave the state, and naturally meltdowns will ensue, but I feel like a concerted effort is being placed on building the relationships and that is the most important part that wasn’t happening previously.
I too will be real interested to see what these track recruits pan out to be. Most probably won’t pan out, and I think you have to have that expectation going into it. My question is do we get to a place where we can start taking more “sure things” who also have the measurables. It seems like we took a lot of flyers this year, which I understand because you’re piecing a whole class together in months, and it’s been Rhule’s calling card to develop those type of guys. Ideally the number of track-star projects will go down, but you still bring in a few each year to see if you can turn it into a home run in a few years of development.
I’m not a fan of that strategy as a general rule, I’m being OK with it because Rhule has shown the ability to have it work previously, and maybe the type of thing Nebraska will have to have a little of to compete with the big boys of recruiting.
I apologize for this unrelated post and length, but hasn’t been a natural place to fit it in, and thought I’d throw it out there.
Was wondering to what extent Rhule is/will be involved with the OC & DC. I know each coach is different. I remember watching his Baylor teams and that’s why I he was one of my top candidates. His lines, especially DLine, just seemed to play so fast and aggressive. He talks about being physical all the time to, so figure there’s at least some of that cultural influence and mindset he’s bringing.
My thinking/understanding seems to be that he has somewhat of a philosophy say in the offense. Satterfield seems to talk about running and the fullback and all of that, and it seems to come from, at least in part, to Rhule’s vision for an offense at Nebraska, and how he thinks we need to be a physical, aggressive team that needs to be able to run the ball.
Is it similar for defense? I know White is experience in calling and running his defense, but will Rhule have some philosophies that he is going to push down, like types of players/schemes/fits he wants to see? Or will it be more hands off?
I know those are some big generalities, didn’t want this to be too long. But just was generally wondering if there was insight into the level of scheme/game planning/play calling that Rhule has in the past or will have a say in the OC & DC roles.
Don’t think there’s a right answer how much he should be, just curious.