Matt Rhule’s Huskers want to build a new legacy at Nebraska

Nebraska Head Coach Matt Rhule talks about Week 1 of the Huskers 2023 Fall Camp.
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 5:00 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Whenever Tom Osborne is in the building, Matt Rhule sees an opportunity to learn.

“What an unbelievable man,” Rhule said recalling a recent meeting with the legendary coach. “He just wanted to shake my hand and wish me luck.”

As he prepares for his Nebraska head coaching debut next week in Minnesota, Rhule is tasked with returning the Husker brand to prominence. He came to Lincoln with the well-earned reputation of being a program-builder. His track record at Baylor and Temple speaks for itself. In both cases, however, it took time.

His combined Year One record? 3-21.

Year Two? 13-12.

Year Three? 21-7.

And in Year Four at Temple, the Owls won 10 games and a conference championship.

Success under Rhule could be a multi-year project. Seniors like Luke Reimer have no interest in waiting that long.

“I want to win now,” the veteran linebacker said. “I don’t want to wait for Year Three, because this is my last year.”

That was the message Reimer and other upperclassmen conveyed to Rhule in a meeting shortly after he took over in Lincoln. They were pleased to learn their new head coach shared their win-now mentality.

“He’s kind of preached that with us as well,” Reimer said. “’Hey, this is Year Four. This is Year Five. Let’s attack this now.’

“He always talks about it. ‘This is who Year Four Rhule is.’ There’s pressure to win right now. I really appreciate that. And all the old guys—we want to win now. We don’t want to wait for Year Three when we know it’s going to work.”

Rhule left that conversation inspired by the group’s burning desire to be part of changing the trajectory of Husker football.

“Their care for the program is so strong,” he said. “I felt a tremendous obligation that we have to find a way to help those guys win.”

In his view, that starts with owning the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know when, but we’re going to be a team that plays our best football in the fourth quarter,” Rhule said, acknowledging the importance of late-game success under Osborne. “If we do that, we’re well on our way to being a team that can compete for wins and championships and bowl games and all the things that we want to have happen eventually.”

Fourth-quarter struggles plagued Nebraska’s 2022 campaign. Rhule made it clear, that’s not a burden he wants his team to bear.

“I think what happened in the past was a different entity,” he said. “We have to answer for what we do.”

While focused on what lies ahead, Rhule is drawing on the past for inspiration.

“When the ethos of who we are matches the legacy of what came before us, then we can build a legacy that comes after us.”