April 23, 2024

Matt Rhule investing more in Nebraska after roller coaster weekend

Nebraska Cornhuskers Football

Nebraska Coach Matt Rhule walks along the sideline during a timeout in the third quarter against Iowa Friday November 24, 2023 at Memorial Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska’s second-year coach gave his voice of reason after he stepped up to the podium Monday morning, following a weekend of uncertainty with the athletic department.

All eyes were on Matt Rhule as he made his first public comments, and expressed his concern about the untimely departure of Athletic Director Trev Alberts, who took the same role with Texas A&M. After all, Alberts was the one who hired Rhule, and jumped through loopholes to work out his contract with the Huskers.

There were some very important individuals that reached out to Rhule as everything transpired over the past few days, including Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne, and Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen. They all were concerned about Rhule’s outlook on the state of the program, which currently has no long-term leader set in place.

President Ted Carter stepped down and left for Ohio State at the end of December, and Alberts had his introductory press conference as the Aggies’ Athletic Director Monday afternoon. Although Dennis Leblanc is currently Nebraska’s interim AD, Rhule believes this is a pivotal time for the University to find permanent leadership.

Rhule revealed that he was just as surprised as Big Red Nation of the news that Alberts decided to leave his alma mater. He was on the golf course with his son when Alberts gave him a phone call about it, and was sad how everything played out. Regardless of the matter, Rhule remains fully committed to Nebraska, and is confident that the school will bounce back even stronger following this dark cloud.

“This is an opportunity for us to look at everything within our athletic department, everything within our University, and how we can be better,” Rhule said. “Because this is an amazing place.”

Amid all of the turmoil, Rhule is trying to focus on spring ball and get his players up to speed. He could care less about his job security at this point, and believes the team has made tremendous strides over the past eight weeks. Rhule even reached out to Georgia’s Kirby Smart, and wants Lincoln to be a destination place for inquiring minds to come visit.

There’s no denying that Nebraska’s men’s and women’s basketball team squaring off against Texas A&M in the NCAA tournament later this week has created a distraction. Still, Rhule wants the fans to keep their focus on what the players accomplished, and how the Huskers can take advantage of the spotlight.

“There’s so much that’s right, there’s so much that’s good, and I’ve gotten kind of frustrated over the last couple of days as national people call me asking what’s my contract situation like,” he said. “I’m here and I’m all in, I love Ted Carter, I love Trev, but I came here to be at the University of Nebraska, I love the people that I’ve met, and we’re not going anywhere.”

It’s crystal clear that Rhule wants Nebraska’s next leaders to have a sense of urgency with getting everything turned around. At the end of the day, the 49-year old coach strongly feels the program is on the rise, and all of the goals that Rhule had when he took the job are still accomplishable.

Revamping the offense, and getting Nebraska back to a bowl game for the first time since 2016 are top priorities. So as long as Big Red Nation is still rallying behind Rhule, and he has the support from all of the upper powers that be, he knows the Huskers will come out of this stronger than ever before.

“We don’t have major problems, we have an unbelievable athletic department, we have an unbelievable opportunity, but we must have a vision for the future 20 years from now.”