The art of being a great recruiter and helping build top classes is convincing players why they should want to play for you and why Nebraska is the best landing spot for them.
the whole art of recruiting and being a good recruiter is the ability to sell to recruits this is where they want to be.
And that attitude can trickle into your current program.
I'm wanting a position on this coaching team. I'm kind of thinking I'd qualify as that guy carrying the headphones cord around.Just wanted to go over some of the things from the offseason in one area. You'll notice a theme in a lot of my responses that on the outside looking in we are able to identify things that either are good or bad, but we are unable to figure out why they happen or what the solution is with Covid locking things down pretty tight. 2021 will be a season that is built on if Frost can identify what has gone wrong the first three years, why it went wrong, and how you fix it.
Bill Busch returns to Nebraska as an analyst
- The loss of Bill McGovern was something I was quietly watching to see how we backfilled that position. An analyst is only as good as the coaches who implement what he helps with in meetings, and McGovern was an integral part of our defense last year when he was able to team up with Chinander. Adding someone like Busch who has had defensive coordinator roles in his career can be nothing but helpful. There is an old saying that came out in the offseason after our third losing season, that the current job at Nebraska can't be the best job most of your staff has had. With this Busch hire, it not only help alleviates concerns of losing McGovern, but adds a quality mind for help in game-planning to our arsenal. It can also be a long term play by Frost, as Fisher interviewed for the Georgia job, and if he bolts next year we have someone that would be familiar with our scheme that could step right in. He also could just take on the full special teams coordinator role on the field in 2022.
Special Teams Analyst
- While I anticipate Bill Busch helping here, I still expect to see one if not two of these moves being announced as well. First, a special teams analyst to backfill Rutledge leaving. But as mentioned in the prior paragraph, an analyst is only as good as the help he gets on the field from the full-time coaches or GAs. Analysts can not do any on field coaching, can not wear a headset on gamedays, so while they are able to develop a gameplan and help analyze film from practice and opponent scout, once the bullets start flying on gameday it's important to have someone that has been in the talks that can communicate with the coaches and team about what's going on. That's not to say that we just had zero people responsible for helping with special teams in 2020 (even though at times it felt that way), but as we've discussed, you need to have a full-time guy with more skin in the game. The second thing I am planning on seeing an announcement about is a full-time coach having Special Teams Coordinator added to his title, as well as Frost telling people he is going to have a bigger part in that as well.
- For those of you that hate not so great news, feel free to skip this part. For the first time that I can remember, the top 4 players in the state of Nebraska are positioned to not go to Nebraska. For years, Husker fans have been talking about how our proximity to recruits hurt us, how we didn't have the same amount of top-tier talent as other places. And now that we finally have it, we miss the top 5 for the top 2 recruits in-state, and we are on the outside looking in for Riley and Helms. Three straight losing seasons by this staff, and four overall, have kids that we are recruiting not seeing a winning season from this program since middle school, and many of the kids being recruited now weren't even born the last time Nebraska won a conference title.
You of course will have people that say things aren't that bad and "let's go ask Carnie, Haarberg, Bretz, Prochazka, Betts, and Gifford if they think there is issues". And I think that's where there's a disconnect in what we talk about with issues recruiting in-state. I don't worry about how we recruit guys that are coming here no matter who the head coach is. Recruits that are big Husker fans we can have missteps. Where how we go about things come into play is for the guys that are being recruited, and then the attitude we take past that. The art of being a great recruiter and helping build top classes is convincing players why they should want to play for you and why Nebraska is the best landing spot for them. But in what I can only describe as a defense mechanism, we have slowly gravitated towards "if they don't want to be here, we are better off", almost forgetting that the whole art of recruiting and being a good recruiter is the ability to sell to recruits this is where they want to be. And that attitude can trickle into your current program. We've seen that we are still able to get top 20 and top 25 classes at Nebraska, but when Rivals does a re-ranking of all the B1G teams for the 2020 class based on who left, we fall way outside of it. If our response to a guy like Wan'Dale Robinson leaving is "if guys don't want to be here, it's best we get rid of them." What we as Husker fans conveniently leave out is the fact that Wan'Dale Robinson DID want to be here. He signed on the dotted line for this staff over schools like Kentucky and Alabama. Why aren't we asking what changed from signing day, to where you were a Freshman All-American, to now wanting to transfer? We will never get to where we want to be if when we lose out on four star in-state recruits, or when we lose our best player on one side of the ball two years in a row our answer is "if they don't want to be here, we don't need them". Because I promise you we do need them. So what is the issue....
-Number of offers
I fail to get too mad when tweets like this are sent out:
But I can tell you it's used against us. For example, if you offer every Rivals 250 guy that is basically a four star, am I really going to be upset at that? That's before you offer guys like Helms, Riley, and Hausmann that are outside of the 250. In the social media world, an offer is as easy as a 10 second DM to the recruit. Further, teams like Iowa don't offer a guy like Lutovsky because he isn't going to go to Iowa. I would flip my lid if Nebraska didn't even offer Devon Jackson.
But this goes back to my opening paragraph. What if the amount of offers we have out make it so we are lacking the organization and communication skills that Iowa State or Miami show? Again, I'm not mad at how many offers we have out, unless it's causing the issues that I am seeing on the recruiting trail for some of our in-state guys. If it is, we need to not offer as many guys because we are definitely hurting somewhere. When we tell a recruit "we don't carbon copy offers" and he goes to the Rivals database and sees that we've offered nearly double the amount of kids at his position as the school you are talking about, it rubs them the wrong way.
I again harp on this quite a bit. I don't get too upset when Wyoming or South Dakota State offer before you. But we are starting to see Iowa State in offering guys like Deshawn Woods, Connar Gottula, and Ben Brahmer before us. The Big12 regular season champs offered a kid in the same city as our University and at a school where one of our coaches went before we did. That just looks odd to me.
But go take a look at Woods and Jackson's top 5s just released. Miami is included in there who didn't offer until 2021 for both of them. Offering first can be bad, because it gives you enough time to hang yourself (I have stories if you want them on PM). Conversely, offering after other schools just following suit can be bad (again, I have more stories of that). I have no idea if how many offers we have out make it so we are late with some offers, or aren't as organized as the staff in Ames. I can tell you that there are a couple schools that do a much better job communicating and identifying early comparatively. But why is that?
-Big Support Staff
Could this be an issue? It's hard for me to be upset that we are pouring resources into our recruiting department. There's a very strong argument to be made that we need more bodies helping, that we need more boots on the ground. But what if I told you one of the theories is that we have a ton of opinions in the room, and it's tough to get everyone on the same page? Again, just spit balling things that have been relayed to me as possible reasons, I don't know if they are or not. But I can tell you I have first hand knowledge of our staff being split on if we should offer a kid, and we finally just offer because we are playing catch-up. Again, I don't think one coach wanting to offer and another not is uncommon in college football, but when it puts you behind the race for the recruit, it COULD be an issue.
-Offer doesn't have to be the first form of communication
Now.... I know Nebraska does a good job of communicating with guys in this regard. They told Carnie what they were looking for from him, etc. But what if I told you that even though a kid got offered by Nebraska before Iowa, the recruit had actually been talking to Kirk Ferentz for 3 months before even being communicated with by our staff? Again, being first to offer or communicate doesn't matter until it does. But maybe this is something we need to do better, but we are spread a bit more thin than Iowa so it proves more difficult?
-The Right Recruit
This is the crux of our issue, and could all of these things I mentioned be adding to it? We sometimes get in a spot where we have to add guys so quick we can't do our due diligence. Maybe more eye-opening, is that we are in on guys just as early as others but don't communicate to find things out as often as schools like Iowa State, Mizzou, Miami, and Iowa? Again, this is just outside looking in, but our ability to find the right recruit that will stay in Lincoln has been lacking for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 classes. Here's hoping that 2021 and beyond gets a little better in that regard.
Foreman and Peter volunteering
- There has been a lot made of this, for me it's pretty "offseasony" because I don't think it moves the needle on wins and losses all that much. But if I'm Scott Frost, and two guys are willing to be around more that have national titles while playing in Lincoln and they are willing to do it for free, seems like a no brainer. Of course when you go 12-20 the first three seasons, even a decision to have guys volunteer to help can get two sides put to it. The first, is "how could there be any negatives to this", which is closer to where I land. With that said, we've seen what can happen when guys from the 90s try asserting "this is how we do things"
You also have people wondering why we need volunteers to instill this, why can't Frost and anyone else around while we played for championships relay that? As long as Scott Frost holsters that a bit, and it's more just motivation and "it can be done here", more help to relay the message should help. And Frost should be able to get a pulse on what's happening.
Brown to Offensive Analyst
- This one is tough for me, because I love Ron Brown. But we move him out of his previous role while we struggled to retain kids. It's a different world nowadays, and someone that can help with how to deal with social media like who we hired is great. I also like that Foreman is going to be helping here, if you ever meet a guy who played even when we were playing for National Titles, ask them if they ever thought about transferring when they played. 95% of the guys have that thought at some point. He can help navigate that.
I got a little off topic there, but for me I feel like we could have done better than Brown to analyst. While I would take him as a full-time position coach in a heartbeat, i'm not sure he's who I would choose as an analyst. I'm hoping i'm reading too much into it, but this move feels like one that is trying to not upset the apple cart with Frost and Lubick, and get someone that won't challenge things and still continue to let Frost and Lubick have their vision. Again, that's just me speculating.
- I see a lot of things about how it's a new world with this tool, and it absolutely is. The thing that gets lost on a lot of people is the fact the transfer portal is here for everyone. Us losing the most people in the portal in our division isn't because the portal is prejudice against Lincoln, Nebraska. We need to do what we can to stop our bleeding there, i've talked about that pretty exhaustingly, so for those of you that think i'm only negative (even though i've had a lot of positive points in this post), here is some more positivity:
Nebraska did a really good in the transfer portal adding guys at positions of need that were very young. Stepp from USC has received glowing reviews from my friend that watched him everyday. He is Dedrick Mills with a little worse hands (remember Mills was the #1 JUCO RB in the country). We also grabbed Stoupe from the FCS ranks. While I struggle to insert guys moving up a level into the starting lineup (we've had FBS starters transfer in and not play a down for us), it's hard not to like this pick up. Even though he struggled against the only FBS team he played, grabbing an FCS All-American seems tough to downplay. Lastly, Nebraska grabbed ILB Chris Kolarevic out of the portal, even offering him a scholarship right away. You have to feel really good about our ILB room with his addition on top of Honas and Reimer returning (not sure where we put Henrich ILB/OLB).
While we need to lose less guys, Nebraska did a really good job addressing needs. I would say RB and WR were the highest priorities for us (throw OLB on there). And we grabbed two pretty good options there.
Dream Coaching List
For fun, and feel free to do your own, this is what my staff would look like if I was building it out with someone that has connections one way or the other to Nebraska:
HC - ShortSideOption - Would be the winningest coach ever in the history of everything as I have every single answer ever needed in football
OC/OL - Bill Callahan - It doesn't get better for an OL coach than this guy, and he is a great offensive mind
QB - Scott Frost - He was an unreal recruiter at Oregon, and his name would resonate with recruits and Nebraska recruits/fans
RB - Ryan Held - Having a JUCO ace recruiter is freaking so important. While I can see people argue with me here due to our production so far, i'm holding out hope
WR - Ron Brown - While I may like him more as RBs coach because this dude pulled in four and five stars almost every year for Pelini. Heck we had five stars transferring out his room was so loaded. Developed guys like Abdullah to absolute studs. But I needed to make room for Held.
TE/In-State Recruiting Coordinator - Dan Jackson - I don't think he's ever coached TEs, but this would be a hire to give us instant street cred in the state for recruiting. It isn't more buttoned up than this guy. I've said before that the TE coach is just the HCs drinking buddy because you send them with WRs during routes and OL during blocking. I'd just send him to Omaha a couple days a week while doing that.
DC/DL - Carl Pelini - This dude was as big of a part as what Bo did as Bo himself. Suh gives Carl most of his credit. The development we had with him was crazy good. I of course would need to drug test him and keep him away from boosters wives, but i'll just make him be in a strait-jacket 24/7. Problem solved.
ILB - Trent Bray - This dude is a stud recruiter and the best teacher/coach i've ever seen
OLB/DE - John Blake - This guys recruiting was unreal, tough to overlook him
DB - Travis Fisher - Second to Trent Bray, what he has done with our DB room and what he has gotten out of his players and his recruiting are crazy good
Special Teams/DB - Bill Busch - Doesn't get much better than this guy helping your team out
OL John Garrison - Our 2012 division title team started 3 walk-ons on the OL, one of which switched from defense just the year prior. Also would help us in the Kansas City area.
WR - Keith Williams - I just can't hire him, but completely understand people that would
OLB/DE - Mike Dawson - He is a very good teacher IMO
OC/QB - Jay Norvell - Pretty good offensive mind here
DB - Charlton Warren - I actually think I may take him over Travis Fisher because of his connections in Colorado and Atlanta, but I just think Fisher is that much better at on the field coaching
I think you are talking the Minnesota game and I'd agree that was pretty tough to watch get called. He'd want that one back.Agree SOS, with some players not buying in, however, some in game calls just lack football common sense which the players understand quickly. For instance, at the beginning of the Iowa game AM gets hurt and is replaced by LM. The weather is cold and windy and LM was not warmed up. Instead of running the ball and betting on the oline to move the ball, common sense, Frost decides to have LM throw the ball resulting in a pick. The game turned on that pick as well as LM's enthusiasm for the program. I think the Iowa game played a big time role in his decision to leave. I'm sure EM was not happy with what he witnessed, especially being a coach and being coached by Purcells. When players know their coaches' decisions cost them winning games they start to lose trust and belief in them. The effort falls off.
I'd agree there, it's a whole new world. I think you have to have 2-3 available spots for the portal each year. You can get really good players for you.All interesting and good points. I do think (except for 4/5 programs) that college football is never going to be the same. Between the kids that want to start now and the availability of the portal, there will be continued movement. Not sure how coaches will be able to have upperclassmen heavy programs in the future.
I think that's where people get frustrated with my posts. I feel i'm fairly measured, and will give praise where it's warranted and call out things that need to get better. When you have 3 losing seasons in 3 tries there's more negative than positive.@ShortSideOption
Good post and fair points. There’s definitely a mix of pros and cons so far. If it was all good we wouldn’t have a losing record. I’m more optimistic about our recruiting ability than you, but I agree with you that the bottom line is our success or failure in 2021 will greatly depend on Frost’s ability to analyze what has gone wrong on the field so far, and his ability to get it corrected. 2021 is a critical season for Husker football. I sure hope things get fixed and we’re able to maintain staff continuity.
I think we are seeing some really good signs of development, such as the secondary. But I also see signs of there being some pretty big issues. For example, Held who I actually really like as a coach and recruiter would have all freshmen in his RB room this year if not for Stepp, and we had to move Wan'Dale to our RB when Mills got dinged. What's going on there when in the past we had freshmen coming in and playing every year like Green, Abdullah, Burkhead, Heard, etc? Guys like Martinez and our WRs seem to not get any better. I'm not sure I saw improvement on our OL, but then again guys like Corcoran and Piper give me hope. Year 2 and what they look like is critical. I do like what i've seen out of Robinson and Rogers on the DL.Good writeup. What are your thoughts on Development and preparation of players and the position they're in? Seems like we are either doing a mediocre job at developing players into being good-great or don't have the right athlete at too many positions. And lifting and conditioning methods? And how they relate to our 4 in a row loosing seasons?
That was the worst back in the day when you could trip over that BS. When wireless headsets came out it was so great. "Get back" coach is one that really sucks like cord holder, that could be a good one. Or I could have you run out and get the kicking tee after each kickoff because I would refuse to have a kickoff specialist that couldn't kick it through the endzone.I'm wanting a position on this coaching team. I'm kind of thinking I'd qualify as that guy carrying the headphones cord around.