LINCOLN–(KFOR Aug. 25)–Nebraska head football coach Matt Rhule met with the media on Friday, as part of this season’s first weekly news conference ahead of next Thursday night’s opener at Minnesota.

One of the things Coach Rhule talked about was the team’s identity and he added they probably won’t know until they play a game and likely after a couple of games.

“My challenge to them has been do not get to game four or game five and all of a sudden things slow down and have the light come on,” Rhule said.  “What I need to find out is are they going to be the type of team that just goes out and plays and does not worry about what happens. That is only way you can play this game is to not worry about the score and just go play. So we talk about that all the time. I see them do it in practice. Will they do it in the game? That is the challenge for me. That is the challenge for them.”

Rhule did mention about the state of program from when he arrived to where they are at in fall camp.  He says the team wants to have a very positive, stable, transparent environment, yet challenging.

“We have to find a way to help these guys win. I don’t know if they’re beaten down as much as I would say they just want this so badly and they are kind of looking everywhere,” according to Rhule.  “I think we’ve just tried to be very focused, so I think we’re in a good place right now.”

 As for what he’s feeling heading into his first game at Nebraska, Rhule mentioned the support he’s been getting from his own family and the athletic department staff. “There’s just an elite group of people here so I really am having the time of my life. I haven’t been this happy in a long time. You can probably tell by the look on my face,”  he said.

When it comes to Minnesota’s defense, Rhule mentioned Golden Gopher defensive coordinator Joe Rossi being “a great coach” with the talent they have and knowing what they’re doing.

“They do such a great job. They play team defense. Everything is funneled to certain players. Everything is put together,” Rhule said.  “I’ve never worked with Joe (Rossi), but I’m assuming they probably know the things that beat us and they practice those things.

The challenge for Nebraska’s offense will be handling Minnesota’s defense in third down scenarios.  Rhule said that aside from turnovers, the game may come down to winning some third down situations.

Rhule also released the depth chart for the Minnesota game, with Jeff Sims at starting quarterback and running back Gabe Ervin is also on the first team offense.  The kicking situation hasn’t completely been finalized.

“(Brian) Buschini was going with the ones and Tristan (Alvano) was going with the ones. Coming to Sunday we’ll have one more day of competition,” according to Rhule.

Nebraska football offensive depth chart vs. Minnesota. (Courtesy of NU Athletics)

 As for who on the Husker defense will receive Blackshirts?

“Yeah, we’re going to do that starting on Sunday. That’ll come out on Sunday,” Rhule concluded.

Nebraska football offensive depth chart vs. Minnesota. (Courtesy of NU Athletics)

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