LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Sept. 14)–Nebraska Football head coach Matt Rhule met with members of the media on Thursday prior to Saturday’s game against Northern Illinois. Rhule discussed quarterback Jeff Sims, the trend of losing and how the program can overcome the adversity.
“I think Jeff is an excellent player,” Rhule said. “I think his best football has not been seen yet. I think he really wants to win and he’s trying to do things to make us win, instead of just playing each play. Being in the moment is really the message of our whole program. Play the rep and play that play. Unfortunately for us, some of those plays in the first two environments went from bad to almost catastrophic and we’re learning those lessons the hard way.”
He also spoke on the pressure of this week’s home opener.
“The hard thing for us is pressing the guys to keep moving forward,” he said. “They feel the pressure, they feel the letdown, they feel the constant questions on if this will work this week. It’s how you learn how to win. It’s something we have to play right through.”
Rhule addressed the excitement for himself and the team when it comes to stepping into Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
“I think for me I’ve worked and waited my whole life for the chance to step out to Memorial Stadium as the head coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers,” Rhule said. “The guys have worked their whole lives to put on that helmet and to go out and compete together. I’m going to take the field with joy. I’m going to take the field as a 1-0 team, not as a 0-2 team. I think a lot of the guys are carrying around the 0-2, instead of I’m carrying around the joy of playing this week.”
He discussed the trend of losing and how he plans to stop that mindset within the team.
“This is how you change however many years of losing,” Rhule said. “You confront head-on the things you’re afraid of, you confront head-on the noise you hear, you confront head-on those thoughts of fearing failure. You confront all of it, you overcome it and then you become a strong confident team. The program has confidence and I hope that being at home helps that process. The process is still internal, and we have to overcome the past.”
Kickoff against the Huskies at Memorial Stadium is set for 6 p.m. (CT) with live television coverage from FS1.