Signing Day Press Conference
Feb. 3, 2010
"Obviously, today's the signing day. We're real excited about the class that we've brought in, real excited about it. We got most of the guys we went after. I thought we filled some needs. I think we've provided depth in our program. At this point, I'm really excited about the class that we're bringing in. I thank the coaches for all their effort. Being out there on the road and recruiting, the effort they put in, the amount of air miles they put in and everything that goes in to having a top-notch recruiting effort. I personally want to thank Coach (Ted) Gilmore, who heads up our recruiting, our recruiting coordinator. He really did a nice job of making this go. Everybody on our staff plays a big part in our recruiting. I want to thank Megan Rodgers, Jeff Jamrog, Aaryn Kearney, Scott Johnston, everyone who plays a part in it and a lot of people behind the scenes, but it's a group effort in recruiting. I appreciate everybody's efforts and what they do. I hope I didn't leave anybody out. I'm real excited about this class. I've said this before and I'll say it again, everybody thinks that recruiting ends today but to me it just starts because now our job is to develop the young men that came to play in this football program and make them become the best players they can be. I believe that most people lose sight of that fact. Recruiting just started today because now it's our job to take these young men who have high goals and high expectations and help them, enable them, to make those dreams come true. I believe that is where this staff is at its best. We have a great class as a whole."
On today in general and completing the class
"It played out exactly how I knew it was going to play out today. There were no surprises."
On the recruits' perceptions of the football program after last season and what NU's defense did for the program
"It's not just what the defense did, but where the program is and where it's headed. It's obvious that we already have a few good men and a nice group of kids committed for next year already. People are starting to take notice of what we're doing. I always say, the best recruiting tool is to win. We're starting to do that. We're right at that point. We're right at that verge of doing some great things in the program. That helps get people's attention. I believe we've gotten people's attention, but now we have to take it to that next level."
On the quarterback situation
"We didn't have to get a quarterback. Like at any position, we take the best guys available for the most part. Obviously, you always sit and say we have certain needs, certain numbers, and you want to have your numbers at certain levels at different positions, but you're not going to take somebody just to take somebody. We look at a lot of factors. Just because somebody is a talented guy and he's right for a lot of people doesn't mean he's right for us at Nebraska. Character, intelligence, there's a lot of things that play a part - getting the chance to look a young man in the eyes. There's some guesswork involved and you have to go with your instincts and your gut and make sure you're picking the guys you feel are best for this place. I believe we've been really good at doing that. It's the same with the quarterback position. We were fully prepared not to take a quarterback, but we had a few guys that we felt were right for us and in the end, we found one that was the right fit for us."
On Brion Carnes and Bronson Marsh at the quarterback position
"Bronson Marsh was signed to play defensive back."
On giving Bronson Marsh a grayshirt
"I don't want to get into that. It's a numbers thing. We want him to be a part of our program and whether that becomes a grayshirt or not, that still remains to be seen."
On winning the Holiday Bowl and its impact on recruiting
"I think any time you win, especially on a national stage (it helps with recruiting). Kids watch football. They saw the momentum we had at the end of the year. I think they see a program that's getting better, that's playing good football, playing an exciting brand of football and the more we do that, the easier it is to walk into homes and walk into schools and get people's attention. I think the Holiday Bowl played a big part in that. I think there were a lot games leading up to that to play a part in that."
On talk of Brion Carnes being off the table last night
"I knew yesterday that he was coming. I don't know. That's probably some blogger or whatever you guys call those people that really aren't informed but believe they are. You should have called me, I would have told you different."
On four in-state players signing
"We got the guys that we felt could help us win championships. We feel real good about the guys that we got. Right across the board, not just in-state, but out-of-state. I'm real happy with this class as a whole. It starts here at Nebraska. You hope you don't miss on guys. We also feel really great about the walk-on group we're bringing in. I believe we're announcing 16 guys today. I'm really proud of that group also. As a whole, we feel like we made our football team better today."
On signing six defensive line specialists
"We wanted to increase our depth on the defensive line and we were fortunate enough to get good players and guys that fit us. In the end, I don't know if we had six guys targeted going in or if that was the number we wanted, it might have been five, but if it's a really good player that can help us win a championship, we're going to take them in the end and figure out a way."
On having three junior college transfers in the signing class
"Like I said, we don't do a lot of junior college recruiting. We're very selective in who we get and what those circumstances are and who we go after in those regards and those three young men were some guys that we thought could have an impact and provide some depth for us and we're real happy with them. Not only with them as players, but the types of kids that they are and the programs they came out of and what they've been exposed to. We like that."
On if there will be any additions after today
"You never know what's going to happen. There are always guys who could pop up late or whatever, but we feel this is it. We like the class and we're happy with it."
What he's looking for in a walk-on
"What you look for in a walk-on is a guy you feel is going to be able to develop. His size, athleticism, speed, might be a little bit rawer, but in the end, guys who you feel that through coaching, development, weight training, through growth, through maturity, might be able to develop into an important part of the football team. There are already a number of those guys that have already done that around here and we believe we've just added to that mix today."
On recruiting his nephew Mark Pelini and Braylon Heard from his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio
"Obviously we felt they were good football players. It was obvious (because) we took them. Hopefully they continue to have players coming out of there. Believe me, we'll go back there and recruit, but it's not just about going there because it's my high school. It's about guys that we feel can help us win championships."
On his emphasis on getting players from successful high school programs
"We go to numerous schools, some of them don't win any games, some of them win state championships. In the end, it all becomes a piece of the puzzle and evaluating them. Let's face it, winners seem to breed. It's obvious. It's just the way it happens sometimes. If you go out there and look at a kid who was an integral part of winning a state championship for instance, usually you're able to get them at this caliber of football. He'll obviously become somebody you want on your football program. Is that the case in all of these guys? I don't know. Every one of these guys has had the same success team-wise, but usually teams that have a lot of success and really good football teams and good football programs breed players who we want to recruit."
On where this class will put them numbers-wise
"We're actually going to be at 84, maybe 85. There are a lot more things that create numbers for you than seniors graduating.
On guys who still aren't back
There are some medical issues and things that have happened, I'm not talking about that today.
On taking four offensive linemen last year and three this year
"We were very thin at the offensive line position when I first got here. Really, we were thin at all the line positions. I believe right now we've added depth. I feel real good about it. I just look at our overall depth chart and it looks mighty different from when I got here. I'm really happy about that, especially if the guys develop and become the type of players we feel we can help them become. I like the way the roster looks right now."
On if they look for anything in particular in offensive linemen
"You can't just recruit one prototype of guy. We want good football players, kids who really love football and want to play with passion and great effort. That comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes. You look at our guys across the board, not any one guy is the same. It's what makes up the whole. We don't sit there and say this is a prototype guy; that is for the analysts. We watch the film and we make our decisions based on the facts and the projections of what we think they could be in the future."
On analysts saying the class lacks a high-impact player
"I like to base my decisions on my analysis, not somebody who isn't watching the same films I am. Everyone is going to have their opinion. We'll talk about it in a couple of years and figure out who is right."
On Zac Lee's recovery
"He's doing fine."
On guys deciding to enroll early
"If it's right for them. Some guys it's right for, some guys it's not. Some guys you'd encourage and others you discourage. It depends on the situation and maturity of the kid, where he is academically. There are a lot of things that go into that decision. It becomes a bonus because they are able to go through spring. To me, there is plenty of time to be a college football player. I don't think it needs to be rushed. I don't encourage them to rush it. I believe they should enjoy their childhood and enjoy their senior year. If somebody feels like it's right for them to move on, it's up to them. It's not going to make or break whether we recruit them in or not."
On how the team looks going into spring ball
"I like our football team. As long we stay on track and where we are with the direction we're headed; if they keep working the way they are. I like our football team right now. That could change any day.
On if there is a certain position they feel like they need to fill some holes
"We want to develop each and every guy on our football team. If we do that, we'll be able to compete with anybody in the country."
On if Lee will compete during the spring
"Probably not, but there are a lot of things that could happen there. I know he won't be there for at least the beginning of spring."
On if it is harder to convince players to walk on because of college costs
"Absolutely. You are talking about young men who will make a big sacrifice to come and live out their dream and get an opportunity to play. Most of them do it with a purpose because they believe that they belong and they are passionate about their desire to come play here. That is what makes it pretty special."
On recruiting guys in Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio
"We've always recruited those areas. You take the right guys. We have a presence in a lot of different places. We have our certain areas that we'll go to year-in and year-out. Other areas, you have to find guys that we specifically like, guys that we might have a tie (to) and go recruit accordingly. Every year is going to be different. Just with the population of Nebraska, we're going to have to go outside the borders some. You have to be pretty specific and go after the guys who are one, right for you and two, guys who you can realistically encourage and convince to fly over a lot of schools to play here at Nebraska."
On coaching Curt Tomasevicz in 2003
"(He's a) phenomenal young man, tremendous work ethic, was as tough as could be when we coached him. It doesn't surprise me that he is doing that; he'll win the gold. I know what is inside of him. He is a pretty special young man. He played that way as a football player. He was a great guy to have on the football team."
On if he talks to Curt
"I have not as of late, but especially when he was first getting going and trying to raise the funds and things necessary we were in contact. I believe at that time I was at LSU."
On if it is hard to recruit with the increased coverage of recruiting
"Business of covering recruiting? We can spend a few hours on that. I just laugh, honestly it makes me really laugh, it's amusing to me, it provides me with a lot of enjoyment reading the analysis and the rankings and the stars and all the other stuff that goes into recruiting. Honestly, I don't pay much attention to it other than when I am down and really want a good laugh."
On what he would rank this class
"Like I said, talk to me in a few years after we've had a chance to work with them and get them developed. I obviously recruited the class. I came here to win a national championship and win championships. I recruited a class that I fully believe will help us get that accomplished."
On the status of Rickey Thenarse
"I don't know what his status will be for spring ball, but he is doing really well."
On guys sticking with guys after they've committed to other schools
"Every recruiting story is different. You develop relationships and build trust. All that you worry about it what is going to happen on signing day. Each story is different and there are a lot of things that happen throughout the process. In the end you stick with the kids you feel strongly about and feel will eventually move your way. The other kids, you move on. All those things happen for different reasons; each story is different.