Author Archives: neeley10
By TODD NEELEY
OK, apparently Nebraska fans aren’t so crazy or conspiracy-minded about Texas long-held desire to rule the world of the Big 12. Check out this piece from Berry Tramel’s blog, http://blog.newsok.com/berrytramel/2011/07/07/big-12-football-espn-fox-collusion-troubling/
LINCOLN – University of Nebraska tight end Kyler Reed became the latest Husker football player named to a watch list, as the John Mackey Award announced its official list for the nation’s top tight ends on Tuesday.
Reed enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign for the Huskers in 2010, catching 22 passes for 395 yards and eight touchdowns while leading the Huskers with an average of 18 yards per catch. His eight TD receptions matched the school record for tight ends and was the fourth-highest total in school history. Reed became more of a factor as the season progressed, catching multiple passes in seven of the Huskers’ final eight games, including four grabs and two TDs against Colorado.
Reed is one of seven Big Ten players on the 34-member watch list. The Mackey Award will trim the list to eight semifinalists on Nov. 14 while the three finalists will announced on Nov. 21. The winner will be announced during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 8.
The John Mackey Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding tight end in college football. In addition to demonstrating outstanding athletic prowess on the field, the award also stands for positive sportsmanship-like behavior, good academic standing & exceptional leadership abilities.
TO: Sports and News Desks
FROM: University of Nebraska Athletics
RE: Nebraska self-reports violation to NCAA
DATE: Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The University of Nebraska Athletic Department announced on Tuesday that it has self-reported to the NCAA violations pertaining to student-athletes who inadvertently received recommended course textbooks, in addition to their required textbooks. Recommended textbooks are not permissible under NCAA legislation. Nebraska admitted violations pertaining to NCAA Bylaws 15.2.3 (book scholarship), 16.02.3 (extra benefit), and 2.8.1 (failure to monitor).
In the report, the University of Nebraska Athletic Department acknowledged and regretted the mistakes made and immediately implemented a new process for disbursing student-athletes their scholarship books. No intentional wrongdoing, no monetary reward and no competitive advantage was gained on the part of any of the student-athletes involved. In all cases, the bookstore staff provided the textbooks believing it permissible and the student-athletes who received them also believed it was permissible.
Nebraska uncovered the violations on its own, conducted a full and thorough investigation of potential violations, and acted expeditiously as soon as it learned that violations were committed by reporting the violations.
While the NCAA permits an institution to provide textbooks and course supplies with no dollar limit as part of an athletics grant-in-aid, these textbooks and course supplies must be required by the professor and listed in the course syllabus. After an internal investigation which began in November of 2010, Nebraska officials determined that over a four-year period covering Spring 2007 through Fall 2010, Nebraska student-athletes in 19 varsity sports received books and supplies recommended by the professor but not required for the course.
The total value of the non-required textbooks provided to student-athletes from Spring 2007 to Fall 2010 was $27,869.47, with the average amount less than $60 per student-athlete. The total value was calculated by taking the cost of the book when purchased, minus the amount refunded to athletics when the books were returned. The student-athletes involved individually paid to a charity of their choice the amount of extra benefit they received. Between February 17 and April 18, 2011, the Nebraska compliance staff processed 57 repayments and reinstatement requests to the NCAA (of those student-athletes whose extra benefits totaled more than $100) and processed repayments by an additional 181 student-athletes whose extra benefits totaled less than $100.
As outlined in the report, Nebraska Athletics self-imposed a two-year probationary period as well as a fine of $28,000 payable to a charity as designated by the NU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
The report, prepared by Josephine Potuto, UNL’s Faculty Athletics Representative and law professor, was recently submitted to the NCAA.
Note to Media: Athletic Director Tom Osborne will have his regularly scheduled monthly appearance on Sports Nightly this evening during the 7 p.m. hour.
Media Relations Director
University of Nebraska
One Memorial Stadium
Lincoln, NE 68588-0123
Nebraska baseball coach Darin Erstad announced the second addition to his coaching staff on Friday, as Ted Silva has been hired as the Huskers’ pitching coach. Silva comes to Lincoln from the West Coast, where he has spent the past four seasons as the pitching coach at UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount.
Silva, a native of Redondo Beach, Calif., and a 1995 All-America pitcher at Cal State Fullerton, helped lead UC Irvine to national prominence from 2008-10 when the Anteaters qualified for three straight NCAA Regionals and won the 2009 Big West Conference title. He moved on to Loyola Marymount under longtime friend and former Titan teammate Jason Gill for the 2011 season.
“I know the University of Nebraska sets the bar with its great tradition, fan support and facilities” said Silva, who was an assistant coach for UC Irvine at the 2008 Lincoln Regional. “Now having the opportunity to come back and work with Coach Erstad is extremely humbling and exciting. I have been fortunate to be a part of some great teams the past few years, and I cannot wait to help this prestigious university. It is an exciting time for the Nebraska baseball program.”
In Silva’s first season as pitching coach, UC Irvine won the 2008 Lincoln Regional, including a 3-2 win over host Nebraska. The Anteaters nearly advanced to the College World Series, but fell one inning short of sweeping No. 2 LSU before the Tigers came back to win the Super Regional. While at UCI, Silva’s pitching unit produced a 3.89 ERA and helped the program to its first Big West Conference championship. The Anteaters qualified for the NCAA Tournament all three years and were eliminated in 2010 by eventual national runner-up UCLA.
“Coach Silva is one of the best in the country,” Erstad said. “He has been a part of many successful teams, and his track record speaks for itself. I wanted to keep an open mind through the search and in the end I knew who I had to go after. I look forward to working with Coach Silva and am extremely excited he is coming to Nebraska.”
Silva took an assistant coaching position at Loyola Marymount under Gill for the 2011 season. The two were teammates on the 1994 Cal State Fullerton squad that finished 47-16 and reached the College World Series. In his only season with the Lions, Silva’s pitchers posted a 3.25 ERA to rank 30th nationally, cutting the team’s ERA nearly in half from 2010 (7.21). A trio of LMU pitchers were selected in the 2011 MLB Draft, including a pair of top-15 round selections in Jason Wheeler (8th round) and Alex Gillingham (11th round). During his first two seasons, Wheeler was 1-4 with a 7.80 ERA before improving to 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA in his junior year under Silva. Gillingham, who earned 2011 first-team All-West Coast Conference honors, saw similar improvement, as he was 6-8 with a 5.51 ERA before producing an 8-4 campaign in 2011 with a 2.49 ERA.
Silva and Gill were on staff at their alma mater in 2005 and 2006 when Silva served as a volunteer assistant coach. The Titans won the Big West Conference championship both years and reached the College World Series in 2006 when CSF produced an NCAA-best 2.73 ERA. Silva helped coach All-Americans and future first-round selections Ricky Romero (2005) and Wes Roemer (2006) to Big West Pitcher of the Year honors. After a year at Fresno State, Silva accepted the UC Irvine pitching coach position and led four Anteater hurlers to a combined 19 All-America awards. Scott Gorgen (2008) and Daniel Bibona (2009-10) collected Big West Pitcher-of-the-Year accolades in his three years at UCI to give Silva a hand in five Big West Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year awards.
During his three seasons at UCI, the Anteaters posted some of the best marks in school history, including the nation’s third-best ERA in 2008 at 3.27, the program’s best since 1974. The same season, UCI struck out a school record 503 hitters. The following year, UCI tied the school record with 20 saves, while the 2010 season saw the Anteaters achieve the league’s second-best totals in ERA (3.98) and strikeouts (483).
Silva spent the 2007 season at Fresno State and helped the Bulldogs to an NCAA Regional appearance. As a team, Fresno State finished with the second-best ERA in the WAC at 4.54, while three Bulldog hurlers ranked in the top 10 individually.
Prior to his coaching days, Silva was a standout pitcher at Cal State Fullerton from 1993-95. A two-time first-team all-conference selection, Silva was 26-7 over his career with a 2.92 ERA and 26 saves, the fourth-most in school history. Silva, who earned 1995 first-team All-America honors, played a key role in the Titans’ run to the national title, including earning the win in the championship game against USC. The 1995 Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year, Silva finished the season as the national leader in victories with a single-season school-record 18 wins (18-1) to go along with six saves. He produced a 2.83 ERA with 142 strikeouts.
As a sophomore, Silva was named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball after he went 4-4 with a 2.29 ERA and 13 saves, the third-most in Titan history. He earned a spot on Team USA following the season.
Silva was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 21st round of the 1995 MLB Draft, the same year Erstad was the No. 1 overall pick by the California Angels. He spent five seasons in the Rangers organization, including one year pitching overseas in Taiwan, while also playing in the independent Atlantic League.
Silva, who also served as an assistant coach at Villa Park High School in 2004, attended Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, Calif., and graduated in 1992.
University of Nebraska, Assistant Coach, Present
Loyola Marymount University, Assistant Coach, 2011
UC Irvine, Assistant Coach, 2008-10
Fresno State University, Assistant Coach, 2007
Cal State Fullerton University, Volunteer Assistant Coach, 2005-06
Villa Park High School, Assistant Coach, 2004
Cal State Fullerton, 1993-95
By Todd Neeley
Husker fans have been burned so many times when it comes to spring football.
As we learned during the Bill Callahan era, the Nebraska west coast offense was proven to be deceptively explosive in the spring. Sam Keller looked like Joe Montana under center, heck, even Joe Dailey played like Joe Ganz in the spring. And remember in the Frank Solich era when Bobby Newcombe had Husker fans salivating?
Name two people who were not convinced Newcombe would start ahead of Eric Crouch. The rest is history.
In other words, spring football rarely provides a window into what NU will look like come fall. Spring football 2011 really isn’t all that different, but for a few exceptions.
We’ve learned in a short time is that Bo Pelini can recruit. The fruits of those labors were obvious at this year’s glorified scrimmage. Pelini’s defense likely will go at least three deep at every position, while the offense is pretty much a mystery stacked with good, young talent at this point.
Chalk up at least one journalist who believes the Husker offense will be vastly improved, more explosive at wide receiver, deeper and more talented at quarterback with the emergence of redshirt freshman Brion Carnes, somewhat inexperienced and young in the offensive line and seriously lacking proven depth at I back.
The good news is Pelini said at the end of spring ball that he’s not the kind of guy to automatically hand redshirts to young players. He proved that with Taylor Martinez in 2010. Pelini is willing and eager to get the best talent on the field.
Nebraska will likely rely on many young guns to make this offense better in 2011.
Probably sitting atop the list is redshirt freshman receiver Kenny Bell. For such a young guy, Bell has a multitude of moves in the open field and breakaway speed similar to Martinez. Coaches raved about Bell’s play on the scout team in 2010, and in particular his 10.5 speed in the 100-meter dash. To put that speed in perspective, when Eric Crouch was a senior in high school he won the Class A state championship in the 100 with a 10.7 – and we all remember what was Crouch’s breath-taking speed.
In addition, true freshman Jamal Turner is likely to see the field a lot in 2011. In the spring game Turner had 94 yards in receiving yards including a 49-yard touchdown catch and he was a special teams star in the return game. Since Turner moved to the receiver spot around spring break, he has a long way to go to learn the offense.
What really stands out, however, is that new offensive coordinator Tim Beck appears to be willing to put his best players on the field and then have them do what they do best.
If the season was to start today, Rex Burkhead would probably see 80 percent of the carries from the I-back spot. Right now Austin Jones and Ty Kildow are the best options behind Burkhead.
Though Nebraska is banking a lot on young guns Braylon Heard, Aaron Green and Ameer Abdullah, it’s hard to put too much stock into any freshmen let alone relying on such a group for depth at a virtually bare
Considering how much pounding Nebraska I backs take, this could be a real problem spot come fall.
And how about the quarterback spot?
Even though Nebraska ran very basic offense in the spring game, Martinez was less than impressive. The same old habits are still alive and well – throwing off the back foot in to double coverage, and still playing extremely tentatively from the pocket.
I’m going to wage a guess that this year’s spring game will be a sign of things to come for Nebraska, especially when it comes to the future of quarterback Brion Carnes. Again, the guy ran basic offense but was poised in the pocket, has a smooth passing delivery and impressive feet.
More than anything, Carnes brings intensity to a position where Nebraska could use a leadership spark. Is he going to challenge for the starting job in 2011? Not unless Martinez and Green completely meltdown – only if the Martinez-led offense continues the disappointing struggles that marred the 2010 season. It’s not yet a full-blown quarterback controversy, but it get a violent shove into controversy if Carnes continues to develop.
It’s a lot harder to get a feel for the Nebraska defense in a spring game. Coaches played a myriad combination of players on that side of the ball and a handful of starters didn’t play. Having said that, converted linebacker, defensive end Eric Martin was all over the field. In addition, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jay Guy has come a long way in a short time. He was a chore to block in the red/white game and has a great future at Nebraska.
Keep in mind, so much can change when fall rolls around. The Nebraska offense has a long way to go. After all, coaches had just 15 practices to install an offense that Nebraska really didn’t run at all in the spring game.
So when the lights come on in the fall there will be growing pains. But there’s little doubt that Nebraska will have a great defense and will be capable of giving the offense plenty of time to develop by shutting down the opposition – at least until the first Big Ten game at Wisconsin.
My guess is we’ll find out how good that defense will be in a nationally televised night game against a powerhouse Badger team.
Nebraska needs to rebuild its offense, but doing it with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Penn State on the schedule will be a tall task.
Crick enters his senior season with 19 career sacks, including 9.5 sacks in each of the past two seasons. He has been a first-team all-conference selection each of the past two years and will look to become the first Nebraska player in more than a decade to be a three-time all-conference pick. Crick was a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy last season, while also being named a second-team All-American and a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award.
In his first season at Nebraska in 2010, David set a Nebraska single-season record with 152 tackles. His play earned David Big 12 Defensive Newcomer-of-the-Year honors and second-team All-America accolades. David recorded eight games with double-figure tackles last season and also ranked second on the team in sacks (6), tackles for loss (15) and pass breakups (10)
David and Crick are among seven starters returning to a Nebraska defense that ranked in the top 12 nationally in scoring, passing and total defense a year ago.
The list of 42 watch list members includes eight players who will compete in the Big Ten Conference in 2011.
The Big Ten Conference has announced its football schedules for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, giving Nebraska fans a road map of conference schedules for the next four seasons. The Big Ten announced its 2011 and 2012 conference schedules last fall.
In 2013 and 2014, Nebraska will continue to play the other five Legends Divisions schools each season—Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern, along with its permanent cross-division foe, Penn State. However, in 2013 and 2014, Illinois and Purdue rotate onto Nebraska’s schedule in place of Ohio State and Wisconsin, who Nebraska faces in 2011 and 2012. Nebraska also will not face Indiana in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Nebraska open’s 2013 Big Ten play with its first-ever conference meeting against Illinois on Oct. 5 in Lincoln, followed by a trip to Purdue on Oct. 12. Following an off-week, Nebraska resumes its schedule with its six permanent opponents, capped by a visit from Iowa on Thanksgiving weekend.
In 2014, the Huskers open Big Ten play at Northwestern, and will make their first Big Ten road trip to Illinois on Oct. 18. Purdue visits Memorial Stadium for the first time on Nov. 22, and the Huskers will close the year at Iowa.
The Big Ten Championship Games are set for Dec. 7, 2013 and Dec. 6, 2014. The sites for those games are yet to be determined.
In addition to the Big Ten schedules announced on Wednesday, Nebraska has three non-conference games scheduled for 2013 taking on Wyoming (Aug. 31) and UCLA (Sept. 14) in Lincoln, along with a trip to Southern Miss on Sept. 7. In 2014, Nebraska has scheduled non-conference games at Fresno State on Sept. 13 and at home against Miami on Sept. 20. The Huskers have one non-conference game to fill in 2013 and two for the 2014 schedule.
Nebraska will officially become a member of the Big Ten Conference on July 1, 2011. The Huskers will play their first conference game as a member of the Big Ten at Wisconsin on Oct. 1, with their Big Ten home opener set for Oct. 8 against Ohio State. The first Big Ten Championship Game will be played on Dec. 3, 2011 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
2013 Nebraska Football Schedule
One non-conference game TBD
Aug. 31 Wyoming
Sept. 7 at Southern Miss
Sept. 14 UCLA
Oct. 5 Illinois
Oct. 12 at Purdue
Oct. 19 BYE
Oct. 26 at Minnesota
Nov. 2 Northwestern
Nov. 9 at Michigan
Nov. 16 Michigan State
Nov. 23 at Penn State
Nov. 30 Iowa
2014 Nebraska Football Schedule
Two non-conference games TBD
Sept. 13 at Fresno State
Sept. 20 Miami
Oct. 4 at Northwestern
Oct. 11 Penn State
Oct. 18 at Illinois
Oct. 25 BYE
Nov. 1 Minnesota
Nov. 8 Michigan
Nov. 15 at Michigan State
Nov. 22 Purdue
Nov. 29 at Iowa
For Immediate Release, Tuesday, March 15, 3:45 p.m.
Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne announced on Tuesday that the contract of Nebraska men’s basketball coach Doc Sadler has been extended two years through the 2015-16 season.
“Doc Sadler’s contract has been extended through June 30, 2016. We are pleased with the job Doc has done. He does things the right way and operates his program with integrity. We feel that with the facility improvements we are making in basketball, and the players Doc has returning, the future of our men’s basketball program looks bright.”
Media Relations Director
University of Nebraska
One Memorial Stadium
Lincoln, NE 68588-0123
Head Coach Bo Pelini
Pre-Spring Press Conference
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
On the new editions to the staff:
“Well, we want to win championships around here. And at the end of the day I like the way the staff came together. I think it’s been, we’ve had a very productive winter. We’ve had a really good few weeks, meetings have gone well, and I like the way things are coming together. And like I said its come together very much the way I like it, the way I expected it to. I’m excited about it; I’m excited about where we are and where we are heading forward.”
On selecting Tim Beck as Offensive Coordinator:
“You’ve got to go with what you feel is going to be the best thing for your football team. And it just kept coming back to the same guy. I have a great level of trust, a great level of confidence in Tim. We are very much on the same page philosophically, and what we are going to do going forward and it was a pretty easy choice for me.”
On the relationship with Tim over the last three years:
“Absolutely, you have experience with somebody, and you see I went that way with all my choices with how I filled out the staff. You know, I believe that you have to be on the same page philosophically, on the same page of the types of people you bring in. People who are going to represent me, the program, everything in a certain way. It goes beyond just X’s and O’s. In the game of football it’s not just what you do it’s how you do it, and how you are going to get to a certain point. I believe, I want to surround myself with No. 1, people that I trust. No. 2, people that I have a lot of confidence in, people of high character, people who are going to communicate well with players, people who believe in the same things I do value wise, discipline, accountability, all those things that we have built this program on and are the foundation of how we go about things. And I know I’ve got that, and I’m excited about it, and I’m looking forward to the future with how we’ve set it up.”
On what he would like to see differently from the offense:
“Efficiency. There’s a number of things, I don’t want to get into the whole what we’re doing offensively, that will play out in time. And like I said I am extremely excited about where we are, and let me tell you, we have done some very good things offensively. Like I said it’s not what you do it’s how you do it, how you get to things. And it’s very much the same philosophy we have on defense, multiple but simple. And let the players develop a true understanding of what we’re doing. And not just what you’re doing and memorizing what you’re doing but why are you doing it. So then you can react, you can play fast, you can play confident. I wanted to mirror the philosophy of what we’ve done on the defensive side of the ball and that’s what we’ve done.”
On the challenge of moving to a new offensive system:
“No challenge, it’s just like anything else, you know, teach, work hard, make sure you stress certain principles, you know you have an identity and you live it every day. And like I said, I like where we are as far as that’s concerned. And it’s very clear to me what I wanted when I hired the staff, when I put this thing together and what we have to do going forward. I have a very clear picture in my head of what I want going forward and that’s what I’m working toward, that’s what we are working toward.”
On if he considered any other offensive coordinators:
“Somewhat yeah, oh yeah, you consider all your options but like I said it all kept coming back to the same thing for me.”
On Tim Beck being on staff last year and having a voice in the offense:
“Oh yeah, like I said it’s not so much what you do, it’s how you do it. And I think (Shawn) Watson is a tremendous football coach, smart, intelligent, good teacher, all of those things. But what I felt needed changed was the system. You just get to a certain point where I felt like a change was needed. What is just in the best interest of the program, of changing out the system, bringing in some fresh ideas, a whole new system and do it going forward. And I thought this was the right time to do it. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t in the best interest of the program.”
On when he came to the conclusion to make a change:
“I’m not going to talk about that. I believe I analyze things, you go back every single year as you go on, this just doesn’t happen at the end of the year, you know week by week you say ok well what do you have to do, what do you have to do to get better? And you’ve always got to be searching for ways to improve, ways to make your program better, your football team better, in every phase of the game, and you’ve got to make the decisions that you feel are in the best interest of your program as you move forward and that’s what I’ve done.”
On how the team and new recruits have reacted to the changes:
“Well, kids are resilient; I think they are excited about it. I think anytime you have change you know, no one in this world, very few people like change but you know it’s all part of the deal, you have to teach them, you have to develop some confidence in them but they are resilient, and I think that is what we have seen. I think they are excited and I think they are going to be more excited and I think they are going to really like it as they develop a better knowledge of what we are doing in every area. Offensively, defensively, special teams, you know we’ve made some changes, and I think it will make us a better football team going forward, and I think it will be real obvious to our football team.”
On the offense’s identity:
“You know I could sit here and talk about it for a long time, but you’ll see that when we roll that ball out there in September. Like I said it’s multiple but simple, you’ve got to be aggressive. We’re going to be an aggressive style offense period, end of story. There’s a lot of different ways to do that, and I’m not going to sit here and get into it and say we’re going to do this or we’re going to do that. We’re going to attack people, we’re going to get after them, and we’re going to attack them in a lot of different ways.”
On how the offense will be different from what they were doing:
“We’re going to do it better.”
On the offense being physical out of the spread:
“We will be physical. You know it’s interesting you say that, everyone wants to talk about the spread; you know there are a lot of different ways to run a spread offense. There’s a lot of different aspects, you have to be precise, you have to execute, and you have to have efficiency in what you do. There’s a lot of different ways to be physical. Just because you line up in a spread offense or you line up in a two-back offense doesn’t mean one’s physical and one’s not. You have to be multiple in what you do but at the same time you have to have a lot of the same for your players so they can be aggressive, come off the ball, play with technique, play with fundamentals, and understand the scheme so you can make adjustments as you move along and that’s what we do defensively. It’s nothing magical, and that’s where we are heading offensively.”
On anything carrying over from last year’s offense:
“There’s some carry over but there are a lot of things that are different.”
On how long it will take for the new offense to click:
“There is enough carry over, I think the understanding is going to get better as you move forward. There’s no question there. But you hope you progress and get better every week. The more opportunities you have to hone your trade the better off you’re going to be. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes work. We’re not where we want to be defensively yet you know, we’re moving forward and making progress and that’s what I see envisioned for our offense. But there is a lot of carry over, whats changed is how we’re going to get to it. I mean the terminology is different; we simplified a lot of things. Like I said I could sit here and talk X’s and O’s and talk about the system all day and it wouldn’t mean a whole heck of a lot to the people listening. I said I am really, really excited about what we are doing and how we are doing it and that’s all I care about right now and as we move forward we are going to keep getting better and we’ll be ready once the football is kicked off in September.”
On the quarterback position going into the spring:
“Like every other position, we’ve got talent, we’ve got guys that need to get better and work. I guess that’s what spring practice is for; it’s just the next step in the process for me. We have a lot to accomplish and we’ve got 15 practices and we have to come out each day where we are becoming a better football team. And position by position we have got to have guys buy in to what we are doing, work hard, make an investment, and we need to get better across the board. And that’s the challenge you have going into spring practice.”
On position changes and injuries going into spring:
“We have a couple guys that, I can’t think of all of them off the top of my head but Cameron Meredith will be out for the spring, and Jeremiah Sirles will be out for the spring. And they won’t participate but they should be pretty close to being ready right after spring ball and they will be in good shape going into the summer. Kenny Anderson just had surgery; he won’t be out there in spring practice. We moved Jake Cotton from the defensive line to the offensive line and we’re excited about that, that’s going to provide us with depth, and that’s another guy who we think is going to be outstanding on the offensive line and adds to a pretty deep group. That’s probably the most significant changes you’ll hear. And back during the season we moved Eric Martin to defensive end and we’re keeping him there right now.”
On Sean Fisher’s status going into spring:
“Fish is ready to roll.”
On what Jeremiah Sirles and Cameron Meredith’s injuries are:
“Sirles’ was a shoulder and I think Cameron’s was a shoulder too; they were both shoulders. They are both in pretty good shape, they both could go through probably the end of spring but we’re kind of at that point where you want to get them 100 percent.”
On Mike Caputo’s status:
On using two full-time assistants on the offensive line and more on John Garrison:
“John will also be working with the tight ends. You need more eyes up there. What I did was when I put together the offensive staff, almost to a man each guy on the staff can coach multiple positions. It gives you a lot of flexibility in practice, how you work with guys; get extra sets of eyes, different sets of eyes on different position groups. There’s a lot of flexibility on our offensive staff, guys that you know, Ron Brown has coached different positions, Tim Beck, Rich Fisher you know he’s coached a few different positions. He’s been on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball which I like. I mean you look at my philosophy on the defensive side of the ball where we have Carl (Pelini) and JP (John Papuchis) with the defensive line and that’s only four guys, now we have five so that’s almost half your group so it just helps. Plus Coach (Barney) Cotton is someone who has been an offensive coordinator, can help with the running game, passing game, a lot of different things, has a pretty extensive background. I just like the flexibility it gave us. And I talked to a lot of people about it and thought at the end of the day it was the best way to make our football team better.”
On what impressed him about Coach Rich Fisher:
“I’ve known Fish for a long time. Talked a lot of football with him. And I don’t know if you remember back in 2003 I almost hired him on the defensive side of the ball. He’s an outstanding football coach, great guy, has the right principles, great communicator. The same thing’s I saw in the rest of the guys. I’m real excited about them.”
On which offensive line position Jake Cotton will play:
On if the zone read would be part of the offense:
On what he was looking at in 2003 with Rich Fisher:
“At that time it was a linebacker job. He was just a guy that we had talked to. Like I said I’ve known him since I was with the New England Patriots.”
On how the hiring process turned out:
“It came out exactly the way I wanted it to turn out.”
On the difference in competing in the Big Ten vs. the Big 12:
“You know I spent a lot of time over the last couple months familiarizing myself with the Big Ten, and some of the opponents, especially the early opponents we’ll play in the league. There’s some similarities and there’s some things that are different. It’s probably not as multiple offensively; you know it’s a physical brand of football a little bit more of this is what we’re going to do and we’re going to do it well. The one thing about the Big 12 week to week you can kind of chuck out your game plans defensively because you are playing a whole different type of offense. Always there is going to be some of that but I don’t think it’s going to be quite as dramatic in the Big Ten compared to what we’ve faced as far as a scheme standpoint in the Big 12.”
On this offense being able to run out the clock at the end of a game:
“Oh yeah, this offense, I’m very excited about what we are doing, and how we are doing it. It’s going to be multiple and is going to involve a lot of different position groups but at the same time there is going to be simplicity in it that’s going to give our football team, our players an ear of confidence to where they have to learn the offense and they have to know not just what to do but why. And what’s going on, understanding the concepts of what we are doing. And it’s very logical. It’s going to allow a lot of different guys to play a lot of different position groups. There’s going to be some spread to it, there’s going to be some big sets to it, there’s a lot of different things involved with it and it’s going to create a lot of different problems for defenses and that’s how I look at it. I look at it as what can you do to give defenses problems and trust me we are putting together a scheme that is going to be able to take advantage of what other people are trying to do to us. We’re going to be able to attack them.”
On if simplicity was lacking last year:
“I don’t know if you just call it simplicity, like I said it was how we got to some things, it didn’t quite merry up over time to allowing us to have the best offense we could have, and that in a nut shell is why I made the change.”
On having three key players returning on defense:
“It’s very good, we have a lot of guys back on defense, and we lost a lot of good football players. Obviously we lost Prince (Amukamara) and (Eric) Hagg and (DeJon) Gomes and Pierre Allen. Those are some good football players; I hope I didn’t leave anybody out. We feel really good about our depth coming back, the quality of our depth coming back on defense. We get (Sean Fisher) back who we feel is a tremendous linebacker, you know I feel real good about where we are. I think Fonzo (Alfonzo Dennard) is going to be as good of a corner as there is in the country, same with (defensive tackle Jared) Crick and same with (linebacker) Lavonte (David) and you surround them with the type of talent and the type of depth that we have and we have a chance to be pretty formidable on that side of the ball.”
On sticking with the Peso as the base defense:
“That will be part of our package but just like always we will have the ability to play three linebackers, two, one, whatever we want to do. We were probably about 90 percent peso last year and we’re not going to be that high.”
On another versatile player stepping up to replace Eric Hagg and DeJon Gomes:
“We have some guys; we have a lot of versatility in our group. A lot of guys that can do multiple things. We’re to the point defensively that our coaches have done a good job and have a good understanding of our scheme so you have a lot of moving parts and a lot of guys that can do multiple things. We’re looking at some other things, we’re real excited about moving along with some new schemes and doing some different things and we’re excited about it. We’re going to pose some problems for some people. We’re excited about where we’re headed.”
On installing the offense in the spring:
“You establish your foundation, it’s the same thing we do defensively. Because once you have your base principles and your base foundation then everything stems off of that. That’s kind of how that works. It really merrys up to how we teach, how we implement and what we do on the defensive side of the ball with what we do offensively.”
On coming off a loss vs. the last few years riding the momentum of a win in the bowl game:
“We’ve had a tremendous winter and the guys have worked hard, they’ve committed, they’ve done a lot of good things, and I’m excited about where we are. And trust me no one on our football team me included, are happy about the way we finished off the year in that bowl game. Sometimes you get hit in the mouth and it’s how you respond to that. We’ll see. Looking forward to the challenges.”
On what he is looking for out of Taylor Martinez:
“He’s had a good winter as have a lot of guys, and I think we’re heading in the right direction in a lot of different ways. The guys understand, we’re now going into my fourth year and we’ve got a lot of guys on our football team who have been hearing the same message over and over and over going into the fourth year now. Its running pretty smoothly right now. The leadership is there, the commitment is there and I like where we are.”
On where he is as far as analyzing the Big Ten opponents:
“It takes time, I usually don’t start that process until a little bit later but I started earlier this year as we all did. And you know there are a lot of different things you’re trying to do this time of year. You all wonder why I haven’t been available to talk to the media a lot, we actually do some work, getting the coaches on the same page, philosophically, X’s and O’s wise, all of those things. Plus on top of that, getting a jump on a different type of offseason this year where there are a lot of different opponents so there is a lot of work to be done and that will continue on not only to spring ball but through spring ball. And I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a heck of an offseason, and I expect that to continue as we move forward.”
On the excitement of moving to a new conference:
“It’s a whole different set of challenges, but football is football. I’ve been coaching a long time and you look at the staff we have and there’s not a lot you can do that we haven’t seen before. So at the end of the day you have to do what you do and do it well. And that’s what we’re focusing on us right now. And the opponent part that’s for the coaches now to get us prepared and be ready for next September.”
On losing Marvin Sanders:
“I love Marvin, he had to do what he felt was the right thing to do for his personal and family situation at the time. Like I said we’ve done a lot together, we’ve shared a lot together, we’re good friends, we’ll always be good friends. And I support him and the decision he made, but fortunately I was able to go out and hire a football coach that I have a full and utmost confidence in and tremendous respect for. Football wise, you know personally it’s sad to see him go but football wise we got the best guy we thought for our football team.”
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