Nebraska Football: Matt Rhule ‘culture’ has the air of authenticity Scott Frost lacked

Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule speaks at the introductory press conference (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule speaks at the introductory press conference (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) /

Culture has been the buzzword for Nebraska football for a little too long. It was the word that former head coach Scott Frost seemed to wield as a weapon. Whenever he didn’t get the outcome he hoped for, it was because he hadn’t “fixed the culture” yet. But he always promised that the fix was right around the corner.

Since Matt Rhule arrived, there’s still been talk about the culture, but it’s been a bit more subtle. It’s also been talked about far more often by others than by the new head coach himself. That’s one of the reasons the mentions of “changing the culture” in Lincoln seem more authentic than in the previous regime.

That’s not to say that anyone really knows whether or not the approach by Matt Rhule will absolutely work. There were plenty of people who heard the comments from Frost about culture and bought in. Then watched as the Nebraska football team lost game after game. Lost badly. Lost in new and terrible ways. And despite what felt like a new way to lose, the losses always felt familiar because the program was enveloped in a certain culture that seemed far too accepting of losing, even if it wasn’t conscious.

The latest talk of Matt Rhule’s culture came from the father of one of the Huskers’ newest wide receivers. Josh Fleeks came over from Baylor as a bit of a surprise on signing day. And anyone who doesn’t believe that he’s a believer in what he thinks Rhule will do in Lincoln need look no further than to the fact that Fleeks was planning on transferring to Texas Tech until the Huskers landed their new coach.

Nebraska football and its new culture

Josh’s father, Carlos explained a bit why his son decided to follow his former Baylor coach to Nebraska when he talked to the Omaha World-Herald earlier this week.

"“I’m telling you right now, you guys better watch out because Matt Rhule is coming on campus and will change many things at Nebraska. This is my thing from being a former coach: When players believe and have confidence in what’s going on, they’ll run through a wall for you. And that’s Matt Rhule.”"

What Carlos said next is the thing that Nebraska football fans should love.

"“He brings that extra mental aspect that a lot of kids need and don’t know they need. Him coming on Nebraska’s turf, he’s going to bring a different attitude. A winning attitude.”"

The elder Fleeks’ words are similar to what other people have said about what Rhule can do for the Huskers. Even other coaches have said this kind of thing.

So what makes someone who has heard talk about changing the culture before believe it this time. The fact that Rhule isn’t out there talking about it on the daily helps. Other people that know the man from other stops saying this kind of stuff simply has more of an air of authenticity.

We will of course find out whether that air is accurate once the Matt Rhule era of Nebraska football begins this fall. But things are looking brighter at the moment.