Big Red Breakfast notes 10/5/12
Big Red Breakfast with Ron Brown
Nate from Rivals is here for Sean Callahan.
Big win last week. Over 20 recruits last week, 14 official visitors from all over. One of the biggest areas of need is the O line and we had 4. Every kid said that was the best game they had been to, the loudest stadium they had ever been to. Hats off to the fans a lot of you were probably there and it made an impact to the recruits. Nine players are set to come in for the next game, a good mixture of commits and non commits. Itís good because they form a bond and turn in to recruiters.
We gave a salute to Dean Kratz for starting the Big Red Breakfasts many years ago. Thanks Dean!!
Thanks to all of you at the BRB, this is my 22nd year, Iíve developed friendships from this breakfast. As you mentioned, the recruits response to the fans, the fans are very vested here. There is a little bit of a gap, like the one between parents and kids, between coaches and the media. I coached at Brown and nobody came to the games, no one cared if we won or lost. This crowd would have been good at the game.
Here the fans are vested and you care. We as coaches have to deal with that. Sometimes we get upset but I ask the Lord to help me with this. So if you ask me some questions that make me mad, Iíll turn to the Lord. ☺
That game was a big one and I appreciated, something you didnít maybe know. In the fourth quarter, and the stadium was rocking, every player was watching the crowd and every guy gave it all they had. Nobody gave up when it would have been easy to. That stuff carries over, it would have been easy to give up, itís easy to say here we go again. I saw that with Texas. That game became bigger than it should have been and we let it get the better of us. There is a version of the Bible, ďif you fail at the time of adversity your strength is smallĒ. To finish the way we did and come back is not a given, we are very proud of our players. Some say well Wisconsin isnít as good as they were last year. Well no, they are pretty good, especially that defense. That is one of the best defenses weíll play this year. Very disciplined, smart, decent speed. Overall our kids did a good job. Now we have to clean up our own mistakes. We lead the nation in the most productive offense category. Starting off with the worst field position, I think we have the worst field position in the nation. Our average starting point is the 27 yard line.
On the other side, weíre 104th in the nation for mis-queues or balls on the ground that end the drive. Some of them came with young guys on backup play. Never the less, that is an area that we have to get fixed. At the end of the day what we love is the character of our guys. We brought in some Navy Seals guys to tell some stories. There is a lot to learn from them. Obviously what we do doesnít compare to what they do. But you can learn to help the other guy, donít get to a pity party, remember the warrior on your left and on your right. Fear begins to rise, stats become more important, if it is all about you it becomes more difficult to come back. You think about the warrior here and there and not about yourself. The mentality that was built in the offseason will pay off. You have to take yourself out of the equation and good things will happen.
So weíre going into the lionís den this weekend. Over 100K people, it will be very loud. It will be a hostile environment, they have their mojo back, they recruited well, they brought in a great coach. By the way I believe we are number 7 in the number of plays you run, OSU is number 1. If a guy is carrying weight that they shouldnít it will show in that environment. Their linebackers can roll, they fill gaps, they are Navy Seals themselves. This OSU group is faster than the Wisconsin guys. On offense, Braxton Miller, he is playing right now as good as anybody. Last year he got hurt, that was a turning point for them. I donít think that was the whole reason for our comeback but he is very good. He has grown a lot and Urban has done a great job with qbs over the years. We know what we have ahead of us but we love the challenge. This is why we train the way we do. Last year we were very disappointed, those kids didnít come here for mediocrity. For those of you who are number one in your field, it didnít happen over night. We are still under construction. God ainít done with me yet. They need to continue to grow. I love the humility. I got a text from Ameer, without Ameer itís a different game. He put the ball on the ground 1 time. He said I feel terrible about the game, I played a horrible game. No way did he play a terrible game! He is his own worst critic, the humility, I love that about him! You have to get them back to planet earth. For that to happen I have to get back each day. I say this because there is so much you donít get to see behind the scenes. With all that said, we enter the OSU game. Obviously it is a big game. But you need to be a circumstance free person. If you are dictated by the circumstances around you instead of saying no way, no matter what I will be who I am, it doesnít matter if Iím behind or ahead by 3 touchdowns, good things happen. The circumstance free player doesnít point the finger, they point the thumb. One of the best guys I know is Rex Burkhead. I donít know why the fans love him so much, they make songs about him and such. ☺ With Rex you canít tell the difference between practice and the game, thatís the way he plays. He wasnít all the way back last week but he still lit it up. He is a great example of what we are after. One thing weíve challenged him to do is to let the other guys have it when they arenít doing their part. One of the best guys we had was Tommie Frazer, he didnít care if they thought he was too abrasive. He got after people and chewed their butts when they didnít give it all they had. He was never picked as a captain, he wasnít well liked but he was a true leader. That should tell you something about elected officials.
What do you know about Team Jack?
I was sitting at a table with a guy from Team Jack and he told me that Rex is the leading candidate for that award. Rex is not doing this for show, this is his character. He worked so hard in the off season. Then he gets hurt in the first game. That is when you find out who you really are. His attitude never changed, his activity level was still way up. He was working with other kids, running with them, training them up. A lot of other guys would be upset that they didnít get to play, etc. Even the songs they make about him, he deserves it. Itís my job as a coach to make a big deal of those things and reward them.
How much of an influence is Frank S on your running backs?
He has a lot of influence, you may think that is good or bad but he was a great running backs coach. He was coached by a tough rb coach and we was a tough coach. The fullbacks, what he did with them in those years, was as good as anyone in the country. A number of them went on to play in the NFL. Yeah, I learned a lot from him.
Have you met the new AD yet?
No, I havenít. I donít know much about him.
Abdullah has been playing more, is that because of the injury?
You have heard of a blessing in disguise. Part of it is it does open up more doors. He was going to play more this year anyway. He is the right kind of kid. I told him we are handing you something that every kid wants. Every fan is going to watch you and the media will write about you and the whole world will be on your shoulders. You have to be ready to carry the load. You have to be the toughest guy on the field. I think you see flashes from Ameer because he is that guy. He is a tough tough guy. Ameer came from a place where there was speed. When he came to NU and for him to carry the rock in the Big 10 against the biggest guys in the world, you have to be tough. He is strong, he can squat over 500 lbs. he is 185 but he is a solid powerful guy for his size.
Is Rex still wearing the brace?
Yes he is still wearing it. We wonít let him out of it. He wants it off so bad. He came to practice with it off and I told him to put it back on. He didnít like that. Weíll see after this game.
Can you talk about Andy Janovich?
He is a rock. He is a natural athlete that is pumped up. He isnít a finished product yet but he already looks like an NFL caliber player.
What about Imani Cross?
He is working his butt off. He sweats so hard, he works so hard. I told him God gave him those giant forearms so he could hit the other guy in the mouth when heís carrying the ball.
Will we see any wildcat this year?
I donít know, weíll have to wait and see. I never ask Tim what weíre going to do. Itís in the package so weíll see.
Who is playing Braxton on scout team?
I think it is Bronson.
Can you talk about Braylon?
Heís made a lot of improvement since last year. We made a move to play some nickel with him but we moved him back to running back. He seeís things on the inside that people donít always see. Itís tough sometimes to get 3 guys time when you donít have a lot of possessions. We score fast and donít sustain drives. It all depends on the game, if it needs more of a hard runner then Braylon is the guy. If we need the speed then Imani comes in. I thank God for those kids.
When are you going to cut Eric Martin loose so he can destroy the other team?
He is a fast intense guy. He loves hitting the qb, he talks about it all the time. He tells me you better watch out coach or Iíll tackle you too. And he might. Heís had some injuries but he is really coming back.
Can you talk about the schedule for a night game?
We have a lot of meetings, we believe in attention to detail. I thought Tim did a good job last week. The kids are down meeting right now. There are tips and reminders. Rex will run the meeting for me today because Iím late coming back from here. After that weíll go out on the field and walk through all the stuff weíre doing. Then we get on the plane and then give them a little down time. Then dinner, more meetings, a movie, more meetings. Breakfast, more meetings, send them back to the room. Tim told them last week, when you go back to your room donít open the playbook anymore. He told them to go back and watch cartoons. You can get too tensed up. Itís tricky when itís a night game but itís really tricky when it is an early morning game.
Wisconsin had some shifts, did they throw off our defense?
You know I donít know. They apparently saw something on film that made them do that. You donít move guys around just to be moving them. We will do something that works until they figure it out. When you move one guy to the other side it changes the strength of the side. Everybody has a different philosophy but youíre trying to get the defense out of balance.
Since the rbs are doing so good it seems like you could go out and recruit someÖ
I think they are doing well. The putting the ball on the ground is something we have to get cleaned up. Last week after the game someone yelled at me, do something about those dropped balls, put some grease on the ball so they learn how to hold on to it. I started to get mad but then I thought, hey this guy may be on to something. The Lord sent this guy to me for a reason. Maybe I should try that. ☺
Are you greasing the ball down?
We did some interesting things this week. I had to drop my pride. I had some self pity, I didnít like how I responded to a question in the paper last week. When we get our ego out of the way we can actually learn something.
I just want to say thank you and to let you know that we appreciate for working with these young men and for your prayer circle at the end. We are praying for you Ron.
Thank you and believe me, I need those prayers.
I believe pressure is self induced. That old adage, sticks and stones. Iíll tell you what, the names hurt more than any sticks or stones. I have a bump in my head from a stone that I got hit with when I was a kid. It doesnít hurt any more, but some of those names do still hurt. There is a filter of discretion, it depends on what happens internally, nothing can hurt you if you have the right mentality.
God bless you guys. Thank you very much!
PS - Happy birthday to my beautiful twin girls! - Husker Freak
Somebody once told me it was frightening how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared.
-- Jack Handy
Thanks for the wrap-up. Great speech. I'm listening the Coach Brown talk to the KFAB crew after the breakfast as I write this, and starting to get the adrenaline pumping. GBR
(old Gaelic saying) Chan eil h-uile facal sireadh freagairt. Not every question requires an answer.
Thank you Freak!!
Love Ronnie Brown.
What about Imani Cross?
He is working his butt off. He sweats so hard, he works so hard. I told him God gave him those giant forearms so he could hit the other guy in the mouth when he’s carrying the ball.
"Even hayseeds like ourselves get to put our 2 cents in now. Truthfully most of us could not coach ourselves out of a paper basket."
Here's the Corn Flakes version courtesy of Lisa Runco and Doug Law.
BIG RED BREAKFAST
Corn Flakes, 6th Edition
NU vs Ohio St.
Recruiting Information: Nate
Big win last weekend, over 20 recruits with offers on campus last week, which is a huge amount. 14 official visitors from 9 different states and one from Canada. There are 4 commitments in the class from Ohio currently and this is an area that we are trying to concentrate on. One of biggest area of need O-line, we had 4 in last week two of which are committed to UCLA. Every kid said that was the best game last week that they’ve ever been to, best and loudest atmosphere, definitely memorable for a lot of those recruits. As NU approaches their Oct 28 games against Michigan, looks like it will be bigger than the Wisconsin weekend, we have at least 9 big prospects coming in that weekend. Kids form a bond and it helps the process out a lot. Hopefully a victory this weekend will get the momentum going leading up to that Michigan weekend.
Today’s Speaker: Running Backs Coach – Ron Brown (A real Nebraska TREASURE)
Coach’s comments; My 22nd year coming to the breakfasts being able to address you and I’ve developed many friendships just coning to these breakfasts. Our players were very emotional about the game last week and our fans were very invested. There is a little bit of a gap between coaches and the media and coaches and fans, there is turf protection and pride can get in the way of the reality of the situation. I coached at Brown U for a couple of years and no one cared if we won, hardly anyone came to the games….a crowd like we have here this morning would have been a good crowd at their games – hahaha. Some of the questions, issues, deals are pretty tough. I ask the lord to help me have an attitude that doesn’t constitute pride. If I get some questions from you today and I get pretty angry, then I know that God didn’t answer me – hahaha.
We got our butts whipped last year up in Wisconsin. But there was something good about that night, happened in 4thQ. Every player on our offense as we were huddled up, was watching that stadium, every guy was busting their tail, NOBODY GAVE UP and it would have been so easy to do. But that stuff carries over, carried over to off-season, carried over to this game. When we were down in this game, it would have been very easy to say ”here we go again”. I say that happen in Texas over the year, games became bigger than they should have been, we lost our mojo. But that didn’t happen against Wisconsin. We wanted to let the players know that there was going to be adversity in this game. If you fail or wilt at a time of adversity, your strength is small. Your confidence level is on display, your courage level, your peace level. Can you think clearly, stay the course, it’s not a given. As you look at game film, we didn’t play any where near our best game….and that ought to give us confidence. Wisconsin is still pretty good this year, particularly on defense. Even though we didn’t plays our best game, we were very productive in this game against a very good defense, which is one of the best we’ll play sll year. Very disciplined, strong, decent speed, two great LBs. Now we have to clean up our own mess. Offensively, we lead the nation in offensive productivity – starting off with worst field position and making something of it……..our average starting point is 27 yd line. On the other side of that, we are 104th in the nation in miscues or balls on the ground that end the drive!!!!!!!! Some of it came against Ark ST with backup guys….nevertheless……
What we really love is the character and heart of our guys. We brought in some Navy Seals who told their stories….the warrior on the left, the warrior on the right, don’t focus on yourself. Don’t do the pity party, when you don’t get your touches, when coach is in your face……..if it’s all about you, you have forgotten about the warrior on the left, and the warrior on the right. When the chips are down, if its all about you, you wont have the capacity to come back….it doesn’t happen with one guy, it only happens with the whole team pulling together. It’s the reality of the game we play.
So we are going into the Lions Dean, the Horseshoe……very loud stadium, hostile environment, OSU has their mojo back, they have recruited very well, their coach has already done some things with their team. Some of their D has lost weight, they got tired last week on our game. They are running around, great D-line, big 52 up front. Their LBs can roll. Fill gaps. Faster than Wisconsin guys, can run all over field, their secondary makes plays. Braxton Miller is as good as any one in the country, can beat you in a lot of ways. Last year he got hurt, that was a turning point in the game. He has matured, makes big plays. Urban has done great job with QBs over the years. We know what we have ahead of us, but we love the challenge. This is why we go through what we do. God’s sovereignty sets these up for us. Our guys came to Nebraska to win all their games, not to achieve mediocrity. We are still under construction, we have to get our players to continue to grow, all that’s happened in the past can help us. Without Ameer, it’s a different game. He put the ball on the ground one time. After the game, Ameer texted me…felt he had played badly. No way did that happen, he got the game ball!! But his humility wants himself to be better. There are things to improve on. I have to have my head straight, cant be self pitying or glorifying. There is so much underneath that the fans don’t get to see. The culture of being your own worst critic yet seeing the positive that goes on, it’s a good place to be. A good balance. You have to be a circumstance-free person, not a circumstance-based person……be open to criticism and learn from each situation, but don’t let anything throw you off course. When things don’t go right, don’t point finger at somebody else, look at yourself. Play with great effort in practice and in the game. One player who does this is Rex Burkhead. You get the same guy every day. Same speed, same hustle, you can’t tell the difference between practice and game situations. He’s getting better, getting back coming off that knee. He is a circumstance-free player. We do want Rex to get in the face of the other guys more often, open your mouth and go up one side and down the other side on a guy. Leading by example is not enough some times. One of the great leaders we ever had at NU was Tommie Frazier. His mindset was we are going for a championship and if you aren’t on this bus, then get off. He was never elected as a captain, but when he was in that huddle, everyone followed him. Elections can be overrated some times – hahahaha!!!!
1. Rex Burkhead – Team Jack – I know that in the off season I was at a coaches convention and the guy leading Team Jack nationally told me that Rex is a leading contender for a national award for the organization. Everything Rex has received, he deserves because he puts in the investment, he is for real.
2. How much of an influence is Frank Solich on your coaching of the RBs? He has a lot of influence, a lot. He was one of the greatest RB coaches. He was coached by a tough guy at NU himself. He is very physical. FB is tough position to coach, they are really O-linemen in so many ways, they are lead blockers. What Frank did with that position over the years was tremendous, a number of them went on to the pros because they developed such a great understanding of the game.
3. Have you met the new AD yet? No, don’t know much about him. I think he is arriving soon.
4. Ameer – less like a backup and more like a co-feature…….a blessing in disguise. Injury to Rex has been tough. But it has opened up the door for Ameer. Ameer would have played more this year anyway because he was starting to come along. We are entrusting him with the keys to the car, I told him this early on. It’s a process, mental toughness is key. Ameer – you have started to see the flashes of greatness, he is the right kind of kid, a tough kid. Came in at 173 lbs, but one of the fastest on the team, but under the radar screen. For him to carry the rock in the Big 10 conference against the largest people on the planet, he is a rocked up 185 lbs now, a little bow-legged guy. His body looks even bigger because he got rid of the dreads…..hahaha. He is like a gymnast, he can explode with people on his back. Can change direction, extremely powerful for a guy of his size. To carry the ball 30 times, you have to be a tough sucker.
5. Burkhead – still wearing the knee brace. He wants out of it so bad, but we wont let him out of it. We’ll see after this game. It is cumbersome to him.
6. Andy – wow, he’s really coming along, played really well in Wisconsin game. For him to come in as a freshman FB, out of his redshirt…he is a rare gem. Will be a powerful blocker, gets leverage on people, strong as an ox. Wrestling background, 225-230………but he will get up to 250 and he will be devastating. He is very fast, agile, you don’t usually see this in FBs. He can catch the ball. Very smart.
7. Cross – has a lot of Rex in him. A workout hound. Works out 30 min after practice. Sweats like Moses Malone. Kind of built like Dan Alexander. A downhill kind of guy. Gigantic forearms. Not the fastest quickest guy. Good special teams guy.
8. Rex lined up at FB a few times, has his injury limited this? No. We still have the capacity to do this, he is so diverse, we will use all these things.
9. Will we see any wildcat this year? I don’t know. I never ask Tim that. We have it all in the package.
10. Who is playing Braxton Miller on scout team? Probably Brandan Marsh, good runner, tough guy, carries the ball a lot.
11. Diamond formation last year a lot (3 i-backs in the game). Part of the deal there is that we are able to do a lot of our offense from that position. We’ve used it all in the games. Our two wings there have to be good blockers because a lot rides on their blocks. Disappointed last week was when we were in that formation, gave ball to Braylon on left side, Ameer was tired and didn’t block like he normally can, otherwise Braylon would have scored on that play. Formation can work and looks good, but you have to be able to execute.
12. Other backs – Braylon has made a lot of improvements, when Green decided to transfer, we brought him back to RB spot, he sees things pretty well. Still working on blocking and physicality. Tough to get 3 RBs really operating, esp if you don’t have a lot of possessions on offense. We have 4 backs who are all playable guys, just depends on how the flow is going. More physical – Amani, more speed Braylon. FBs – 3 – all good guys – Mike, CJ, Andy. Good group and they will all be back. They are all chiseled out guys who love to get after it and pay the price by studying film.
13. When are you going to cut Eric Martin loose so that he can stomp the other team? He loves rushing the passer, can create a lot of problems for the other team. Fun-loving, a different guy. He has had injuries which has probably held him back.
14. What is the confidence level this week with our running offense against their defense? They are watching the same films we are. You don’t know how the game is going to do. Every day what you see in practice is what you are going to get in the game. But if your heart/mind aren’t right during the game, all you’ve done in practice can fall apart, because you let someone get in your head. Filter system inside of you needs to guard your heart/mind against distractions. Be a circumstance-free person. Constant challenges during the game with mentality and focus.
15. Schedule when there is an away night game. We have a lot of meetings, a lot of attention to detail. Tim did a nice job last week. Kids are down there meeting right now. Tips and reminders. I will be late this morning, Rex is running the meeting, they will coach it up. After that we will walk through on the field, ST, offense and defense. Get on plane. A little down time, sleep in room. More meetings, dinner, movie, more meetings. In the morning, chapel if they want, more meetings, breakfast, more meetings. Let mind rest, just have to let them have little fun and chill out. Tricky for night games and also for early morning games.
16. Since the RBs are doing so good…….it just depends on how you define it. The ball on the ground thing has to be cleaned up. After last week, people were patting me on the back…..and then someone says “quit putting the ball on the ground”……and I thought, “that’s a pretty good idea”……hahaha. Drop your pride level, God brought him along so that I could hear that. We can learn something from every game. I asked our guys two questions after the game, after complimenting them. What two things do they want to work on? Footwork, blocking intensity went down when I got tired. What are you going to do to change it so that those things don’t happen again? You have to be intentional in practice so that that doesn’t happen again.
17. Are you greasing the ball now? We did some interesting things this week…....hahaha! When you hear something some fan says that makes sense, drop your pride and learn something and get better.
18. Intense scrutiny at a school like NU. Does it affect the players and coaches? It can, if you let it. I really believe the pressure is self induced. Names hurt me a whole lot more than any stick and stone ever could, but it’s because I LET them hurt me. Am I what that guy told me I am? Am I going to be defined by other people? What that guy just said, I do not receive that. Filter of wisdom. Sometimes you DO need to listen, but you need to be able to filter.
19. At end of game, about half of Wisconsin team went from sideline to locker room instead of offering congrats, is that unusual? They are no different from the average. Ideally, you would like to get over yourself and make that gracious gesture and be gracious in defeat. When players go into media room after a tough game, give opponents credit.
GO BIG RED, BEAT THOSE BUCKEYES!
"I'm a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don't enjoy." Ė Jack Nicklaus
What great information. A very enjoyable read. Thanks so much Freak and David.
God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
the good fortune to run into the ones I doÖ
and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Good friends, you take to the movies. Great teammates, you take to battle.
Mr. Afro Thunder 80
I very much appreciate you posting these notes every week, Freak. I look forward to reading them every Friday.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. - Robert A. Heinlein
Thanks Freak.... you rock.
The lord has a pretty committed spokeman in RB...... gotta admire the guy for his convictions and ability to work god into every aspect of football.
Thanks for posting the note. Always an interesting read.
Can it be that Ron Brown is not involved in drawing up the game plan or is he simply dodging the question:
"Will we see any wildcat this year?
I donít know, weíll have to wait and see. I never ask Tim what weíre going to do. Itís in the package so weíll see."
Good friends, you take to the movies. Great teammates, you take to battle.
Mr. Afro Thunder 80
Absolutely terrific, and much thanks.
What a great guy!
Happy birthday to your kids, Freak! Thanks for the write up.
Not sure if this was buried in the long speech above or not, but when I heard him talk this morning on KFAB, he mentioned that last year in the OSU game, NU began wearing down the OSU D lineman in the second half. Brown thinks Meyer watched that game last year and realized the big uglies on the line were too big, because Brown's observations of this year's D line reveals a much leaner bunch of guys.
(old Gaelic saying) Chan eil h-uile facal sireadh freagairt. Not every question requires an answer.