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Amie Just: Making NU special teams better starts with changing the culture.So far so good | Football

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Eight days into preseason practice, he wanted to know which practice period was the toughest for Husker. So he asked a few unnamed players for their thoughts.

“They all said it was a special team,” Frost said Monday. “That means we’re doing our job. It means they’re on board and making sure they put in a good effort there.”

There is no better way to say it. Nebraska Special Teams coordinator Bill Bush inherited the group after a collectively dismal season.

he knows it Frost knows it. Players know it. everyone knows it.

If the special teams unit painting on Saturday looked ugly (3 touchdowns allowed, 8 missed field goals, 4 extra points missed, a safety, etc.), the metrics are even uglier. brought an image.

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Of all the FBS teams in college football, Nebraska wasn’t the worst (Temple holds that distinction), but it’s right up there with the Owls in 129th out of 130 in overall efficiency across all four units. I was in by Football Outsiders. ESPN’s metrics gradually improved, with Nebraska going from his second to his third worst.

If Bush can help it, he wants to leave behind that embarrassing production unbefitting of Nebraska football in the past.

Changing that mindset starts with getting buy-in from everyone.

“Most places don’t have a defensive coordinator. Most of the time they just drop off during special teams and hang out on the sidelines,” Bush said.

“Coach Chins is with me on every drill. ‘What do you need to do?'” Bush said. “…Let me tell you, the offensive and defensive assistant coaches are kicking ass. I appreciate that.”

Bush continues: Yes. I’m in charge of that, but the assistant coaches are out and I feel like that’s going to make a big difference for us.

This is not his first rodeo. Nor is it his second time for Pender his native.

Ohio State v Nebraska, 11.6

Nebraska kicker Chase Contreraz (left) missed the second of two field goals against Ohio State in the 4th quarter at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 6, 2021.

Journal Star File Photos

Bush was a special teams coach at the University of Wisconsin (2013-14), a special teams coordinator at Utah State (2011-12), and previously played friendly games at Memorial Stadium (2005-07).

Scott Frost: Nebraska 'feels like one team', not old and new Husker

Bush’s 2007 Nebraska outfit ranked 26th in football outsiders special teams effectiveness, and his team at Utah State surged from 117th in 2011 to 66th in 2012.

“It’s really helpful to have Bill Bush here full-time,” Frost said. “Instead of having them tear it apart, just have one person in charge and have a consistent, constant voice. The detail is really good.”

Timmy Bleaklord, a transfer kicker from Furman, whom Nebraska has already tabbed as a starter, was quick to point it out, using the word “detailed” when describing his new coach.

In most places, kickers are left to their own devices during practice, Bleaklord said.

Bush didn’t want to talk about how other schools are doing, but he feels his professionals are doing very well with a structured 24-hour schedule.

“He schedules us for full practice and we work on things that kickers might forget to do on a daily basis,” said Bleaklord.

In addition, one of the cultural shifts Bush is trying to foster is that special teams are a third equal phase rather than an important aspect of the game.

That’s something linebacker Luke Rymer appreciates.

“It’s an honor to be on a special team,” said Leimer. It’s not like, ‘Oh, you’re the starter on offense, you’re the starter on defense. Those are cool things, special teams are like leftovers.’ We’re twisting it where special teams are just as important. “

Special teams should have been much more important, but what if the buy-ins seen in practice lead to the actual game?

Given Nebraska’s position last year, the Huskers can only go up from here.

Please contact the writer at 402-473-7440 or

On Twitter @Amie_Just.

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