‘Not unlucky, we have to be better’: Rhule recaps first season at helm
LINCOLN, Neb - As Nebraska ends their season at 5-7, not participating in a bowl game for the seventh year in a row, Matt Rhule’s first year as Nebraska’s head football coach is in the books - at least on the field.
On Wednesday morning, Rhule met with reporters to recap the season, and look ahead to improving the program during the offseason - be it meeting with players to build relationships, recruiting, or working within the transfer portal.
One thing Rhule did make very clear about 2023, Nebraska was not unlucky, they need to improve
“I don’t think we’re unlucky at all, I think we have to get better,” Rhule said. “At the end of the day, to be -17 in turnovers, you’re lucky to be 5-7. I won’t male that the only storyline, because that lets too many of the hook. I don’t see us unlucky at all, I see us as a team that fought to hang in games that if we didn’t fight as hard, we may not have been in.”
On Oct. 28, Nebraska picked up win number five to improve to 5-3, just one win a way from bowl eligibility. However, the Huskers followed up that effort with four straight losses to end the year, thus, falling short of the postseason yet again.
“Could not tell you how disappointed I am that we’re not in a bowl game,” Rhule said. “Could not tell you how soul-rockingly disappointed I am for the guys. But, with that being said, I do believe, like when I was 6-6 at Temple in my second year, not going to a bowl game ignited a fire for me and my players. Not making any predictions for next year, but I do know we’ll be a much better team next year then we were this year.”
The Huskers end the season with 31 turnovers. Many of those problems lied within the quarterback spot, as Nebraska’s signal callers threw 16 interceptions and struggled with fumbles. It remains in question if one of Nebraska’s three quarterbacks on their current roster will get the start next year, or if Rhule and his staff mat target the transfer portal.
Rhule explained how he looks to navigate the situation, understanding the challenges then portal represents when it comes to money and NIL, noting a quarterback in 2023 can cost upwards of $2 million.
“They have to be clearly an impact player, if they’re a one year player, or, someone with a few years we can develop,” Rhule said. “Then again, looking at the quarterbacks on our roster, obviously, it’s easy to look at the negatives. The turnovers, but I also see a lot of positives…. If Chubba had played more, would he be further along? I look at Heinrich, he wasn’t even allowed to go to quarterback meetings last year, so I’m really proud of him. Those guys have two years to develop and I think they have the chance to be really good players."
Rhule did note that WR Ty Hahn and DL Blaise Gunnerson plan to move on from Nebraska. Meanwhile, he believes 1-3 players will be drafted, including DB Quinton Newsome. Jeff Sims has not announced his future plans.