Ross Ells at the Big Red Breakfast 9/21/12
Tyrell Newbie , running back, top recruit will be here this weekend. This is his second visit , he is from California and this is a big one.
Drew Brown, is Chris Brownís younger brother and heíll be here for an unofficial visit. Somebody that could be on the radar for a schollie offier.
Next week we have 23 visits next week, 8 are official visits and a lot of them have Husker offers. We could talk about the recruits all day, there is a lot of activity.
This is his second season, he is coaching the linebackers, he has the desire and determination to bring the Huskers back to dominance. This is his 25th year of coaching.
At my short term here at NU I learned there are 5 important things.
Thank the sponsors, thank the audience, thank those that you brought with you, never go talk after a loss, (lots of clapping) Ė weíre all grumpy, always follow Papuchis. Following him after what happened to Bo at half time, this one will be easy.
We know we could not have anything close to what we have without you fans here at the Univ. of Nebraska. Itís amazing the impact that you folks have on the kids coming in.
Sean can do a better job of filling you in on the recruits and of course I canít name names.
Letís start first with the recruiting realm. We are working on the 2013 class and we are working the 2014 class. Our needs for this year, we need low to mid 20s, we have 22 seniors on the roster. You always add a schollie or two for injuries. In the next 2 years we lost Ĺ of our O line and tight end scholarships. Also in the D line, there isnít a position that we arenít recruiting. We have a total of 14 verbal commits right now but this isnít binding at this time. You hear about the kids that de-commit not, which is like you donít hear about the planes that land safely. That doesnít happen very often. Probably 90% of the kids stay with the school that they commit to. We are excited about the kids we have and the ones we are targeting. We need to keep in contact with them and make sure feel like part of the family.
We are about half full for the 2013 class. We have a lot of non-committed kids coming in too. We want and sell the family atmosphere here at Nebraska. We like the big groups, you donít get to spend as much individual attention but weíve already done that by the time they come here. We like to get the commits with the non-commits so they can see what it is like and do everything we can to convince them to come here. The Wisconsin game is going to be a really good group.
Guys in the 2013 class, in May of their junior year, the most number of players that had committed to Big 10 schools, 40 kids had committed. This number has now doubled to 80. All of these kids are making their decisions a lot earlier then they were. We donít like to evaluate a kid half way through their sophomore year. You canít predict that early how the kids are going to mature. They get so much bigger, stronger and faster as they get older. But you have to have that relationship way earlier now so you get on their list. We canít call the 2014 class but they can call us. We are writing them and trying to get them to the games. We canít pay for them though, not until the senior year for the 2014 class. I like the kids we are working with now and I like where we are. We need to get our talent level up and Iím really impressed with the kids we got last year.
Do you keep tabs on coaches on the hot seat and their kids?
Yeah, (chuckle). Except for the friends we have in this business, and we have a lot, we want everyone to lose. Yes, but if a kid tells us he is going to school x, we ask him want he wants to do, call him, write him, etc. If a kid says no, Iím not going to pressure a kid to do something he doesnít want us to do. Now if there is a coaching change that changes it. There may be a change this year in the Big 10 after this year, we donít know.
What is the most positive and negative in recruiting?
Positive is diff because there is so many. I gave a survey early on and asked them what influenced them, the top things were the NU tradition and Bo Pelini. Kids love playing for him and want to be part of his team. He goes into their home and tells them how he is going to help them grow and develop into a man.
Most negative thing we have to fight is location, no question. We are going to continue to tighten the reigns on local recruits. That will always be first and foremost. We have a meeting today and we are actually going to tweak our recruiting. It is easier for them to get here.
Their perception of NU is that they are going to be in the middle of a corn field. We have to overcome this. Once they get here we have to show them that we have a city, take them out so they can see we are a city. Its hard to get kids to come here on their own dime.
What role does the high school play in recruiting?
It depends on the kid. Several kids have the coach as the adult in the conversation. To the single parent that is too busy, the coach is the one that they trust. There are some that donít get involved hardly at all, they say this is a family affair. Most of them are somewhere in between. You have to be careful because you have to have a relationship with them where they trust you. That is why I started recruiting the east coach, Beck in Texas, etc.
How many schools have better facilities than us?
That is hard to tell. We zip in and out of the schools on game day so we donít get to see much. There arenít many though Iíll tell you that. We know that due to our location we have to have better facilities to get the kids from the coasts.
With the increase in earlier committing, donít you also see an increase in kids that change there minds too?
I think so, but I donít know for sure. The key is to keep the relationship with the kid once they commit. We recruit the top of the top. My friend asks me, how do you know what youíre getting? It is a risk that you take, but if you donít take it you will never be in the ballgame with those guys.
Why havenít we signed more NE kids?
We donít feel like weíve missed a lot. If you look at the kids that have left NE and gone to other schools, they havenít done great things.
What grade do you give yourself and your predecessor?
I wonít discuss my predecessor, that is above my pay grade. I wonít give myself a good grade. They call me, GE Ė glass empty. I havenít done anything yet, zero of them have signed. Ask me in February and Iíll give you an honest answer.
When do you decide to recruit junior college kids?
It is definitely sped up because they are only there for 2 kids and you canít do anything until after the 1st year. We go after them when there is a need, an immediate need and we have kids coming up. We donít want to build a whole team of jc players, they are there 2 to 3 years and they are gone. We will take a couple every year. If we see a great one, we will go after them.
How much does character play into it?
Itís huge. You have to be a character kid to survive in our program. If he has a shot at it, there is going to be so much discipline, weíll take a shot. But we wonít bring in a bad kid, it is too much work. From an academic perspective, you have to have kids that are smart enough to make it. No one wants to work with someone you donít want to work with. You donít want to walk into the meeting going, I canít trust you.
Take Alonzo for example, this kid was late, texting during class, missing tutoring sessions. I told him I love him as a person but I couldnít stand him as a player. It was really Bo that took him off scholarship. You should see the turn around this kid has made. He is on the unity council, he is a leader, he is really teaching those kids! After that UCLA game he came to me and said, this is not my style of game, is there a younger kid that you can bring in? He is just that kind of kid now.
How does a kid like Rex influence the kids you recruit?
Go back to the discussion I had about the recruits meeting the players. Coaches get paid to talk good about the school. But talk to the players, the more we can get them with the players the better off we are. Now let them talk to a kid like Rex, he knocks it out of the ballpark. Obviously he is a tremendous kid, model player, model person.
The recruiting and services have changed everything. You used to have to go talk to the coaches and find out who they have. Now we talk to the recruiting services and they find kids that we had no idea existed. But now it is harder because we have so many kids to deal with. Sean C: there are no secrets any more.
From a football standpoint Ė Iím not qualified to talk about offense but you have to like where we are as an offense. If you were to describe them, what would you say? They are a spread offense that can run the ball, run the option, are they a 3 back set, yeah. It is the multiplicity that they can do now. You have to match up the right personnel, the tempo is much faster now. The defense doesnít have time to rotate guys, to call the sets. No one moves as fast as Arkansas State did. Hey Martinez is 13th nationally in efficiency in the country! (Repeat) The way we have started games is awesome, score, score. That UCLA game should have been over in the first half, we didnít get it done defensively. The defense isnít there yet. We made some improvements in the last game but we have to get better. I think weíre coming around defensively, I think the secondary has improved a lot. Will they catch a deep ball on us once in a while? Well sure. We need to be more dynamic in the D line and the linebacker position. Put a kid like E Martin in where you can get off the line and it can make a difference.
Special teams Ė in the first 2 games Brett really struggled, but he worked on his pregame routine and he looks to be back where he needs to be. We keep making changes on kick-off coverage, you have to find the guys that are willing to go down and make the dang tackle. We are leading the Big 10 in kickoff returns. If people would punt to us we could be pretty dangerous.
Watching the film from last week:
We have different types of sets and when you go fast itís hard to defend.
These guys were nuts, they motion people all over the place.
PJís interception, I guarantee you last year he would have let that guy go, not this year.
We are much more aggressive on defense now. I think we are leading the conference in tackles for loss.
How is Trevor Roach doing?
I love the kid. He is the 3rd team linebacker. Sean will go in for Will. You will see more of him.