Published Friday, November 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm / Updated at 9:50 pm
Ron Brown: Resiliency required for another Husker turnaround

Those inspired by comeback stories should watch the conclusion of Nebraska's season.

NU assistant Ron Brown thinks these Huskers have a chance at a turnaround, despite skeptics who've become more vocal since Nebraska's loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

“There's some great things being taught,” Brown said. “We have a chance to be very special before it's all done. It takes a process.”

Brown seemed cognizant of the growing criticism surrounding the Huskers as he spoke Friday in front of 250 people at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Convention Center.

But his message at the Big Red Breakfast was that Nebraska's players must disprove the negativity by sticking to their plan, working hard and believing in their potential.

“If we go on a winning streak here, play the way we're capable of playing, this whole state would be reignited,” Brown said.

That's what he shares with his running backs every day. He speaks with the entire offense once a week. He'll talk to the full team every now and then, too.
Brown is quick to remind that any great success stories include moments of misery.

“But the brilliance of the comeback is the attitude and the courage and the internal stuff — that rubber-ball stuff that's inside — that pops you back into shape and you just keep on bouncing,” Brown said.

He spent little time Friday talking about game strategy or personnel decisions, which often make up the weekly speech by Nebraska coaches at the event. Sometimes raising his voice or slowing his pace to emphasize points, Brown instead spoke about mentality and attitude.

He half-joked midway through a 20-minute introduction that he hoped it didn't sound like a sermon.

Brown quoted from the Bible to help convey his belief that trials make you stronger. The goal is to stay the course, which is why he referenced the start of his tenure at NU in the late '80s and early '90s — when Brown said Tom Osborne told his coaches that their jobs might be in jeopardy.

Brown brought up last season, too. Nebraska rebounded from a loss at Ohio State and won its final six games, getting a shot at the Big Ten title.

The message in 2012 was the same as it is now, Brown said.

“We want our players to understand: Be ready to work your tail off in the midst of a trial,” he said.

A few other notes from Brown:

Ľ Five fullbacks and I-backs have a chance to win the team's lifter of the year award. He didn't name anyone specifically. Ameer Abdullah shared the honor with Justin Jackson last year. Rex Burkhead was a co-winner in 2011 and he took it outright in 2010.

Brown's point was to convey the collective mentality of his running backs. He doesn't have to search for ways to get them to work hard.

Said Brown: “They're all gym rats. Workout freaks. P90X guys. Insanity guys. That's who I want.”

Ľ Northwestern's safeties stood out to Brown when he watched film of the Wildcats. Junior Ibraheim Campbell and sophomore Traveon Henry are “outstanding tacklers,” Brown said. He expects them to be heavily involved in the ground game Saturday, but he said they also “have the ability to cover passes, to not get beat deep.”

Ľ Adam Taylor is redshirting this year, but Brown said the freshman I-back from Katy, Texas, is going to be a “beast.” Brown complimented Taylor's mentality as a runner Friday.

“He's looking for somebody to hit when he runs the ball,” Brown said. “He ain't worried about breaking into daylight. He's worried about running over somebody.”

* * *

Video: NU coach Bo Pelini after practice, Oct. 31:

Video: The Big Red Today Show, Oct. 29:

Contact the writer: Jon Nyatawa    |   402-473-9585    |  

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football and baseball, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008.



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