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