Big Red Breakfast Corn Flakes 8/30
Courtesy of Doug Law and Lisa Runco.
BIG RED BREAKFAST
Corn Flakes, 1st Edition
NU vs Wyoming
Recruiting Report – Sean Callahan
Will be taking some more D-linemen. May take 4-5 now. Concussion injury suffered by QB recruit Zack Darlington, taken to hospital – may not play this year, very serious injury. Won state championship as a junior, but it’s in hands of doctors. Bo will still pay for your education even if he doesn’t play a down here. May take a 2nd QB in this class, but someone like Jamal Turner who could move to another position. QB race next year will be wide open with Taylor gone next year. Next 6 weeks should be great opportunity for NU to get a lot of recruiting visits in.
Coach John Papuchis – Defensive coordinator – 2nd year
Coach’s comments: I can tell you are excited for the season, I can’t tell you how jacked I am for tomorrow, for a lot of reasons. It’s been a long off-season. A year ago we had a very veteran group. This year is totally different dynamic, a lot of young guys, a lot of new faces. Led to challenges to make sure to prepare them to have success on the field. Those guys have done everything in their power to be ready to play, to prepare themselves physically and mentally. When we broke at end of spring ball, we were not ready to play a season, either mentally or physically. BUT the work they did April-July, we have become a totally different team. In off-season, we are not allowed to be with them, they have to do it on their own. We can give them resources/tools, but they have to study on their own. I am really proud of the way they have approached it. This year has been different – we handed out Blackshirts for the first time since Bo has been here, BEFORE The season. To be a Blackshirt, you have to be a good player, but you have to be a leader, totally invested in the program, committed. Randle, Baptiste, Cooper, Mitchell, Evans, Santos, etc.
Defense - I finally feel we have the depth we need on the d-line. I don’t’ see big difference between the first and second group. At tackle, we are a mix of veteran and new. Thad Randle – this will be his year to really shine. He has been injured a lot, hasn’t been able to show what he’s got. Last year he played basically on one leg, was in tremendous pain. Valentine, Collins, Maurice, Curry – young talented and physical, on the line next to Thad. Special group to watch. At LB, new faces, but a good thing – Santos – a Blackshirt – never really has played a true MIKE, he controls everything, sets the blitzes, makes the calls – has done a great job handling this position. Outside backer spot – lots of versatility – we anticipate Wyoming to be a bit more of a spread team. You will see early and often is Nathan Gerry – freshman – you know he has that “it” factor to him, the maturity, the toughness to handle the rigors of college football. You wouldn’t know he is a freshman, carries himself with confidence and moxie. Zaire Anderson has come back well from a knee injury – about a year ago he tore his ACL. Jared Afalava, Marcus Newby, Michael Rose, Josh Banderas (a Husker legacy). I feel really comfortable, we are athletic, physical, dynamic. Secondary – a lot more veterans – one of best pass defenses in the country a year ago, Ciante Evans – often underrated by people, nickel spot (Eric Hagg’s old spot). Corners – Baptiste and Mitchell – very good camp. Stanley is very gifted – now time for him to put is all together – he was a wideout and has switched positions – a 220 lb corner who can run. Mitchell – smaller – uses his feet and technique. Safety – Corey Cooper – light years ahead of last year, doesn’t talk a lot – haven’t heard him put a whole sentence together – opposite of Ricky Thenarse who would never shut up – ha (Ricky in audience this morning). Andrew Green and Harvey Jackson battling out for other spot – haven’t made final decision on this yet for tomorrow. Competition makes everybody better. So we have youth in many spots but I’m excited about who these guys are – they wont be young very long – we’ll find a lot about these guys in next two weeks. They have paid the price, believe in what we are doing. As a whole, this group is best I’ve coached.
Offense – we have a lot of weapons. Going against them every day in practice makes us better. One of the best offenses in the country. Starts and ends with Taylor Martinez – fells like he’s been around for 10 yrs. Some of the stats he has achieved are mind boggling already. He keeps getting better. Every year you can see progress. RB – Ameer – he’s the guy, pretty dynamic fall, we don’t get to tackle him very much in scrimmages, he is a difference maker – we have held him out a little bit. Newby, Cross, Taylor – these three are the future of our backfield – they just keep coming and coming. We need to be able to pound that rock. Wideout – Bell, Turner, Anunwa – as dynamic of a group as there is in the Big 10. O-line – one of the better lines I’ve seen at Nebraska, have veterans, very solid. TE – Jake Long, Sam Cotton.
Speed has picked up on both sides of ball, one of faster teams in Big 10. Special Teams – still in full battle in terms of who our FG kicker is. Sam Foltz will be our punter. Morrow will be kickoff guy. Returners – Turner, Newby. Bell, Quincy, Ameer.
Wyoming – what to expect. Offensively they are a pretty good unit, will be a good test of our D. Veteran QB, has strong arm. Pretty good wideout corps. RB – solid. Up front - hard to tell, have returned 2 guys. They will be up tempo, run as many plays s they can, will be our job to get off field. We just need to stop them. Don’t know anything about their defense, this is Coach Beck’s problem – haha. Openers in college football make us nervous – you don’t know what tweaks opponents have made in the off-season. You prepare for one type of attack and they may come out with something completely different. First game is a bit of a feel-out process, just try to get your bearings. No pre-season in college ball. I think our guys are prepared and excited to be on field.
- What steps have you taken to approve kick coverage? This is in Coach El’s realm. I think they have worked the heck out of this. Kick and punt is something we work every day, has been point of emphasis.
- How many snaps will our backup QBs get in these games? That’s one of the cool things about Nebraska fans in general – you guys are big picture people – ha! I want Taylor to be in there if game is close. If backups are playing that means we are way ahead, I hope that happens a lot.
- Why don’t we try to block a punt? Thenarse roughed three punters so we quit trying – ha. You will have coaches who are more conservative and Bo maybe errs on that side. A lot of things can happen on an attempted blocked punt. Generally we don’t go after a lot of punts – maybe partially because of the types of punts that we see – some are harder to block. Bo wants to be fundamentally sound, not take a lot of risks.
- Bo’s defense is complex schematically – how much have you simplified it to get the young talent on the field? Make sure that we are teaching conceptually – don’t need 4 different ways of doing something, have limited it. Step by step, build up foundation, then go a bit faster…but started at square one. Has verbiage changed – a little bit. What happens over the course of years, your playbook grows and the verbiage sometimes gets out of control. My job is to stay more streamlined. Make sure it makes sense to the players.
- How do you feel about year 2 as coordinator? Obviously more comfortable. There were things that happened last year that I didn’t expect to come up. I learned a lot. I expect to be better this year.
- New rules this year? Big point of emphasis – targeting rule for defensive players – will be growing pains to deal with this. Defenseless players. No one makes you play the game, so if you decide to play, it is an inherent risk. You can’t make a violent game safe – legislating political correctness in football is in my opinion mind-boggling. But there are some things that are unnecessary and can be changed – hitting with crown, leaving your feel. BUT tackling a receiver who has just caught the ball – he should expect to get hit. But I am a defensive guy, this is my perspective. We will have to watch this targeting and it is a hard thing to legislate. Dangerous road to go down, but it is what it is. This rule will affect outcome of games.
- Problems with tackling, do you do live tackling in practice? Yes, but it’s a fine balance. You don’t want to pound each other every day. But every rep that you take is a tackling opportunity in terms of fundamentals. We are nitpickers on pursuit angles we take, how we drop our weight, put ourselves in the right positions.
- Targeting rule – do you coach differently to address this rule? I don’t want to hamstring our guys, play slow and reactive. But every time I think there might be a penalty on film, we point it out to our guys. Biggest concern – pressures on QB and he ducks – he just changed his targeting level, so we are going to go low.
- Redshirting – minimum amount of time to burn one. If a guy isn’t in our two deep or play on ST, we aren’t going to burn it. The hardest is guys that are on the cusp but you are not 100% sure.
- Broderick has been in our program for 5 yrs now. Too big, too physical to not have some kind of a home, esp on short yardage situations – he will have a niche role for us on defense. Certain things he can do in terms of pushing the pocket.
- What do you do on Sundays? The morning is about the previous game, rehashing the game, what we did well and what we didn’t. What was good about the game plan and what wasn’t. I keep a book on each game. Each position coach is evaluating their positions. I like to be done with this about 1:00. At that point, it’s guns blazing on who is up next. Turnaround time is pretty short.
- What happened in the Big 10 Championship last year? Was it the players? Combination of many things. The team’s mindset, the way they played, the way we coached. I take responsibility for what goes wrong in situations like that. There is a lot that goes on.
- Which opponents are you excited about? I am excited to play UCLA again – I didn’t feel like we put our best foot forward.
- Hardest hitter on defense? In a small space, Zaire packs the biggest short punch, very explosive. Running start at you – Cooper can bring the wood down on you.
- How to handle inconsistency – I try to stay as consistent as I possibly can. I want to catch them doing the right thing. When you catch them doing wrong, coach them on it. Players reflect the consistency of their coaches, and coaching every down.
- Would you add a few Blackshirts after tomorrow night? It’s possible, but I don’t like making it a one-game outcome. I want it to be because they are playing well, but also who they are in terms of character, leadership, etc.
- Valentine – has come a long way from the spring. We had a lot of young guys who hadn’t played a lot of ball, but who were in really good shape, but not in good FOOTBALL shape. Vincent has worked himself into much better football shape. Each play has a physical toll on you, if you are not in good football shape, you can’t handle it.
- Andrew Green - why no Blackshirt? Very worthy, the only reason he didn’t – he was only one who hadn’t solidified a starting role – this battle has to play out.
- My journey with Bo – at LSU when Sabin went to Dolphins – I wanted to go there, I was begging him to take me, I was 25 and broke. But sometimes God has a plan that you can’t see at the time. Sabin didn’t take me. Les Miles came in to LSU – there were 30 coaches, I just kept showing up to work, eventually some of the GAs and PAs quit showing up. Took a long time for hm to even talk to me. He finally told me that I could stay – they weren’t paying me, so it didn’t make a difference – ha! He finally asked me – what do you do here? – HA. Les finally hired Bo. I was the only GA on staff then that wasn’t married. Bo has always like to invest in young people, I had no family to go home to so he just started teaching me the defense. The relationship just grew from there.
- I am all for throwing the bones, I will address this!
JP recognized both Ricky Thenarse AND KENNY ANDERSON, who were in the audience (Kenny had just left the room!).
GO BIG RED, BEAT THOSE COWBOYS!!!!
"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." – Jack Nicklaus
Thanks to all who make this thread possible. I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading it.
Great read. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
Nickens won't be a Justin Jackson story as a 'niche' player, but he's another healthy body.
Bondi (Mauro, not "Marrow"...I love the updates, but they never spell players' names correctly) will be the KO guy.
"Hilton Magic is the only magic I believe in." -Jameel McKay
That's either gutsy or crazy. Ahh to be 25 again when the difference didn't matter much.
Originally Posted by BigRedMax
Great read, thanks for sharing it David.