LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Apr. 25)–Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule met with the media following Thursday’s practice.

He spoke on his mindset about playing real football during the spring game and why he organizes it like that.

“I just think it’s playing football, and we’re 5-7. I’ve said that from day one. We’re 5-7, we have to earn everything we get. I’ve never not done this. I think for a lot of our young players, what an unbelievable opportunity. They haven’t played in Memorial Stadium. What an opportunity for them to go out there and play and play in front of their family and friends and show what they can do. I’m excited.”

He discussed the importance of the team’s performance in front of a crowd and how telling it will be.

“That’s what I mean. I want to know who is going to go out there. Like I’ve said to our team, the Tuesday/Wednesday Huskers were better than the Saturday Huskers. The Saturday Huskers last year – doubt, fear, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of ‘what are they going to say about me?’. All of that stuff affects performance for young people. Tuesday/Wednesday, you get beat, you move onto the next play. You get beat on Saturdays, how we handled that wasn’t elite. That’s my job and that’s our staff’s job, but that’s also our players’ job. I’m very much excited to see us play in front of a crowd and I’m very much excited to see us operate in front of a crowd and see how we do. There’s a continuum in terms of how we’re blocking, tackling, running, but there’s also a continuum in terms of ‘are we improving at how we handle stress and how we handle pressure?’ I’m very excited to play in front of crowds. Last Saturday, we played in front of probably 500 people. This will be way different and it’ll be good for our guys.”

Rhule also talked about the NFL Draft and how players coming from Nebraska can stand out.

“People in the NFL, they’re never going to ask me about their players’ talent. They make those decisions themselves. What they want to know is the football character. Is this guy going to take notes? Is he going to learn? How is he going to learn? What’s his football character like? Meaning, will he work, will he practice? One of the major stats for a guy for if he’s going to be successful in the NFL is how often he practiced in college. I learned that talking to guys over the years. I think when people come watch us practice, they know we’re going to be physical. They know that we’re going to practice. It’s not about me, it’s about our guys. When Quinton Newsome goes to a team and he shows up to practice every day, takes care of himself, is professional in the building, then people will say ‘let’s go get more Nebraska guys.’ I love recruiting players from programs where I know they’ve been prepared well, so I know when they get here, it’s not going to be a big transition. Same thing for the NFL. All those guys are pros and I think they’ll do a nice job for whatever team gets them.”

The annual Red-White Spring game is scheduled for this Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. on BTN.

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