What we learned from Matt Rhule’s Signing Day news conference

Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule speaks during a news conference on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium. For more, visit https://journalstar.com/huskers/.


Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule took the podium Wednesday afternoon for the first time since his Nov. 28 introductory news conference and touched on a variety of topics.

From recruiting to the coaching staff, here’s what we learned at Memorial Stadium.

Potential is there: Rhule said it Wednesday morning on the Huskers Radio Network and again during his news conference: he believes the pieces are in place for Nebraska to succeed.

Offensive line built on depth on development: Rhule was quick to debunk the narrative the offensive line is Nebraska’s biggest issue. There’s a reason Donovan Raiola was retained and Rhule said he likes the group currently at the position. Rhule added his staff has put an emphasis on depth and development and they’re never going to not take a talented offensive or defensive line prospect.

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“We’re gonna put those guys in a good position that are here,” Rhule said.

Defensive identity: Nebraska’s staff has especially been active on the defensive side of the ball, whether it’s through recruiting or the transfer portal. Rhule said it’s still up in the air what Nebraska’s defense will look like under Tony White.

Temple ran a 4-3 and Baylor featured a 3-3-5, but Rhule said Nebraska won’t be limited to a specific look. As for what he looks for when adding pieces, a need for speed and athletes.

“I just tried to take the best players,” he said.

Quarterback room: One of the biggest question marks of the offseason. Nebraska added Georgia Tech transfer Jeff Sims earlier this week — the question is who he’ll be sharing that room with. Rhule said Casey Thompson is an “impressive young man” and looks forward to seeing him healthy but did not provide an update on Thompson’s future at Nebraska.

Signing day success: Rhule’s first 24 days in Lincoln have been full of official visits and a grand tour of Nebraska ahead of Wednesday’s signing day.

“Really pleased with today,” Rhule said. “It’s been just 24 days since (the introductory news conference), but a lot has happened. A lot’s gotten done.”

Rhule said one of the biggest challenges in such a short period of time has been building relationships, especially at the last minute. But one of his biggest priorities has been trying to show off Lincoln and keep in-state talent at home.

“I just think you always start at home,” he said. “The key to long-term success is for every fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh grader to grow up dreaming of playing here.”

Staff updates: Nebraska’s coaching staff is still being finalized and Rhule said it likely won’t be until January. He did provide one update — offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield will also coach the quarterbacks. Rhule also said he wants his coaches to be themselves and quipped there’s not going to be any celebrity coaches on his staff.

“They better wake up every day saying their No. 1 priority are the guys on our team,” he said.

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