Matt Rhule is taking the helm of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He was officially introduced as the new head coach at a Monday afternoon press conference.

While Rhule’s most recent stop was a disappointing stint in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, he comes to Lincoln as a proven builder at the collegiate level. Rhule most notably build a program at Temple and rebuilt the foundation at Baylor following the Art Briles scandal.

During his press conference, Rhule hit on a variety of topics including areas of recruiting focus for the Huskers, his vision for controlling the line of scrimmage, and comments on the need for Nebraska to be the best developmental program in the country.

Here is the full transcript of everything Rhule had to say Monday afternoon, courtesy of Nebraska Athletic Communications:

Opening statement
“It was 1983. I was 11 years old. Diehard Penn State fan. The year before Penn State had won the National Championship. Now some people in this room might disagree with that, but for me they had won the National Championship. My dad was a teacher and minister, and we were living in New York City and had a chance to go see the Kickoff Classic. I had a chance to talk to Coach Osborne and relayed this story, and I was watching the Penn State Nittany Lions take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and on that day Nebraska won 44-to-6. I can still remember walking back to the subway with tears in my eyes wondering why Nebraska had to do that to us.

Fast forward to 1994 and walked on at Penn State and found some ways to get on the team and play, and we had an undefeated season in the Big Ten and beat Oregon 38-to-6 ,and Nebraska went out and played the University of Miami and beat them and once again there were tears in my eyes as we finished without a National Championship and Nebraska did.

I think about last Saturday morning and my wife. Trev (Alberts) talked about grinders. Just so everybody knows who my wife Julie is, my wife Julie woke up yesterday at 6 a.m., put three dogs, three kids drove 12 hours back to Charlotte and got there at 11 o’clock, ironed the kids clothes until 12:30 was up at 4, and she is here smiling. She is a grinder. She is the best. The University of Nebraska that once brought tears to my eyes when I was 11, that brought tears to my eyes when I was in college, it brought tears to my wife’s eyes because she has been telling me throughout this whole process since the very first day I got a phone call about a job from a university and different people had been coming at us, she has said this place, these people, this is the right fit for us. This is the right fit for our family.

So on behalf of my family, the most important thing in the world to me, my wife Julie, my son Bryant, my daughters Vivienne and Leona, thanks for paying attention to me guys. I want to thank Husker Nation. I want to thank the University of Nebraska. I want to thank Chancellor Green for this opportunity. But I want you to understand that this would not be possible if it were not for President Ted Carter. It would not be possible if it were not for Trev Alberts. It would not be possible if it were not for Angie Alberts because throughout this process we found what we had been looking for. We found leadership. We found alignment.

How do you put numbers like this up on the wall? How do you have the great seasons? How do you have five national championships? You need leadership and you need alignment. I have learned that lesson. I have learned that no matter how fertile the seed is, it has to be in great soil for the plant to grow. I could have taken a year off. Some people think that my wife was tired of me after six weeks. While that might be a little bit true, that is not why I am here today. I am here today because as I talked to Trev, the passion for football was reborn inside me. The passion for young people was reborn inside me. When we came to Lincoln and we snuck into Lincoln and we drove around and we said this is a place that is committed to greatness. This is a place, look at this facility that is committed to player development. These are people that love their University and love their state and love their football team. So as people ask me why I am here, because this is the right fit. It is the right time, and if I have one message for you, it is that we can absolutely do it. We can absolutely get the University of Nebraska and University of Nebraska football exactly where it is supposed to be. It will be hard. It may take time but it will be done so thank you Trev. Thank you President Carter for setting a vision for us that made us decide to call this home.

I want to echo what Trev said. I thought it was awesome watching the team on Friday play against Iowa and trying to figure out, hey is this going to be the team that I coach next year? Coach (Mickey) Joseph and his staff just showing tremendous leadership. The players on that team. I have had a chance to meet the team and talk to some guys showing the leadership to keep that team together, and again that is what I hope I bring, because if there is one thing I have learned in the last couple years after my foray in the National Football League, it is that anybody can lead when things are easy. That is convenient leadership. Who steps up when things are hard? Who stepped up for this team in the middle of the season when the coach is gone and guys can go either way? Who steps up when we have not had the success as a program as we want? Who is going to step up and fill the void, stand in the gap? I am honored that I have been chosen for that. I am just one small piece of that. Leadership is not just a position. It is a way of life. I hope and I can promise you this, I am going to start today. I am going to rip this suit off sometime tonight and I am going to go back to my office and I am going to start to recruit and I am going to start to do all the things, but I am honored to say that I have a chance to lead this football program.

When people ask why besides living here in Lincoln, besides the leadership I have found, besides the opportunity, just the resources and support. My son, he is the Youtube generation. I have seen the Tunnel Walk maybe 5,000 times. I have seen post-game celebrations. I have seen the hype videos. I do not know Nebraska well enough yet, and I hope you will bear with me because I want to embrace everything that has to do with the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska’s football program. But I feel like through him and through some friends of mine that have played here, that this is exactly the right place at the right time. And let me say it again, I believe we can do it, so thank you again to my family.

When you ask me what our vision is, obviously we want to have Heisman Trophy winners. We want to have awards. We want to win conference championships. We want to win national championships, but guys I am a day-by-day guy. I am a process guy. I am a what’s next kind of person. I can just tell you this. I want to build a team that is tough. I want to build a team that is hard working. I told the team that today. The price of glory is paid in here at 6 a.m. The price of glory is paid on the recruiting trail. We are going to work harder, I cannot say than anyone else, but we are going to work harder than we have ever asked ourselves to work, because this is going to be hard. You cannot win three games and then win four games and then just come to work excited, hey what is going to happen next. We have to have a plan, and that plan involves working harder than the next man. We are going to build a team that is tough. We are going to build a team that is hard working. We are going to compete at everything we do. There is not a game I expect to walk into where we do not expect to win. We want to honor the people that take their hard earned money. It is not a burden, but a responsibility on me as the coach to know that there will be people from all across the state who take the money they make with their hands and with their work with their daily toil and they spend it to watch our team play.

You cannot win every game every year, it just does not happen, but you can certainly be a team that people are proud to watch. That is the type of team I want to be from the spring game to practice to a mat drill to a weight lifting session to a meeting, I expect our guys to be tough. I expect them to work hard. I expect them to compete. I expect that because I and my staff will do the same thing every day. That is our vision for how we are. We are not going to be like new spread teams. We are going to be a little bit like an old school type of a team. We are going to be a physical team. We will be balanced, and I know you guys will ask lots of questions. We will always try to do what the players do well, but at the end of the day I do not believe you can win if you cannot win the line of scrimmage.

We want to have fast players, explosive players. We want to have speed. We want to have great quarterback play, but at the end of the day through the weight room and recruiting we want to have a physical team that can control the line of scrimmage and control the game. I believe that is the type of team that can win in the elements. That is the type of team that can win on the road. That is the type of team that can have a lead and keep a lead. That is the type of team that Nebraskans want to see. And finally how? Because it all sounds good. Press conferences are fun, but how are we going to do it, because the work I think it is important for all of us to understand that football has changed. College football has changed even in the last two years since I left. NIL portal transfers, all these different things and for all of us we can look at what we have done, we can celebrate the past, we can learn from the past, but we have to have an eye to the future. The game is changing around us and we have to change with it. We have to recruit people that want to be Nebraska men. We have to recruit people that want to wear the Nebraska N. We have to recruit people that want to pay the price for this team. I know that there is some salary stuff now, this guy can get this, this guy can get that, and we will be involved because we want to bring the best players here, but at the end of the day I want players that want to come here, that want to not just graduate but want to be educated. They want to take advantage of this opportunity to change their lives in the classroom. To change their lives through education. I want to bring players here, and I want to have a program that impacts the community. That when you see a Nebraska football player that you know wherever you are is better for them having been there. That they will always leave a place better than they found it. I want to bring players here who make the campus community better.

You aren’t going to see me and my family hanging out. You are going to see us at the local diner. That is who we are. We are not going to live in seclusion. We want to be a part of this community. I want players who want to do the same thing. Get educated. Graduate. Impact the community. Impact the campus and then play great football. I want guys who want to be great football players. I have had the chance to coach in the National Football League twice. So many players have left the University of Nebraska and gone on to the NFL. While talent can get you there, character and integrity and work ethic and professionalism will keep you there.

It stinks getting fired, but if there was one great thing that came out of the day that I got the phone call saying I was no longer the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, it was all of the players who played for me that are playing in the National Football League or going to medical school or are going to business school who were saying, ‘You know what coach, my life is better for having been a part of the program.’

It is not about me, it is about all the people that touched me. So as we come here to the University of Nebraska, it is my intent to leave the University a better place for my having been here. It is my intent to make Nebraskans proud but most importantly for every player, walk on or scholarship, young or old, for every player that comes to play for us, comes to practice in these facilities and sit in these meeting rooms, I want them to look back someday and say my professional life, my personal life, my football life, it was all better for having been a Nebraska Cornhusker. I have gotten calls and texts from guys I know who played here and from guys I do not know that played here and the pride and passion that they all feel for having been here and worn the jersey and been a Cornhusker. I want all the future generations to feel the same.

So I will do my utmost best to respect the tradition, to respect the honor, and I hope you guys will trust me to take us to another place, take us into the future. It can happen. As Trev has said, the time is now. It is not about me. It is about all of us. We have to be all in. If you want to see something fail, you can have a bunch of people stand around and wait to see it fail. If you want to see something succeed, everybody even when you disagree, just move ahead and push ahead. It is going to take everybody, everybody who bleeds red to get the Nebraska Cornhuskers to where they are supposed to be. But we will do it. We are going to have to do it together. It is my honor, it is my family’s honor. I want to thank them again. I want to thank my mother and father that could not be here, who were so critical in my life. I want to thank all the players at the Carolina Panthers. I want to thank all the players who played for me at the Baylor Bears. I want to thank all the players who played for me at the Temple Owls. I would not be here at this moment in this iconic program if it were not for them.

I also want to thank, the picture is in the back whoever picked that picture of me with the Nebraska red that has to be at least 10 or 12 years ago and I do not look that good anymore, so I want to thank that person. I will finish with this. As we went through this process, Trev had some hurdles contractually. There were a lot of forces at work. Any time things got difficult, my wife would look at me and say trust the people. I trust them. I am just so grateful that they trust me. Thank you so much.”

On handling line of scrimmage
“When I talked to Trev, we talked a lot about what our philosophies were, so if you found a player that played for me at any of the three places, they’ll probably say five or six things. Don’t beat ourselves, win the line of scrimmage, which means run the ball and stop the run, so there are core tenants I believe in. How you get there? At Temple we were a fullback in the ‘I’ formation and occasionally spread out, and when I was at Baylor, we had three or four NFL wide receivers and were spread out. But at the end of the day, the offensive linemen and defensive linemen in high school football, college football, and in the NFL, they determine it. In terms of getting there, I’m walking in a little bit blind. I’ve seen the games on TV, and I’ve had a chance to watch this process, it’s gone on so long I’ve had a chance, but I’ll have to get into spring and see where we are to know that. For me, it’s just a vision, a vision doesn’t mean that’s the picture that’s here. The vision is to build up front, and that’s not just recruiting, that’s also the weight room and the way we want to train. I’m confident because we’ve done that at Temple. I think right now there are 24 guys playing in the NFL from Baylor and Temple combined, and none of them were four or five-star recruits. But we were able to develop them and that’ll be our plan here as well.”

On Interim Head Coach/Wide Receivers Coach Mickey Joseph
“I reached out to Mickey right when I got the job. I’m looking forward to talking to him and the rest of the staff sometime soon here. I’ve been on both sides of it. I’ve been an assistant coach on a staff that’s been let go, and I always appreciated the coach coming in and talking to me. I’ll try and be thorough with that process over the next couple days, and my family will go back tomorrow. The most important things to me right now are the current players. I need to sit down with them and talk to them. They know the issues in this program more than anyone else, and when I say issues I mean both good and bad. So I need to talk to the players and then talk with the staff and coaches. To me it all comes down to fit. People have to want to be here number one. They have to want to be in the role they’re in, and we have to all move forward. Again when I’ve not had success, it’s when people are pulling off into one direction, and there will be a very clear vision and process for how we do things inside the walls of the football program and within the x’s and o’s. Any staff member that’s bought into that, I’d love to talk to, and I agree I think Mickey did a fantastic job. I’ve known coach Joseph for a while before that, not personally but professionally. He’s an excellent recruiter and players love him, so I’m anxious to have a chance to visit with him and the rest of the staff.”

On next couple days in Lincoln
“I literally got home that first day after no longer being the coach in Carolina and had a school call me. So I’ve been working on this for a while. Again, there was a lot of thought in our family that we would take the year off to spend time together. I think that’s really important for recruits to hear, and I’ve told every recruit that I’ve talked to that I’m not making more money to work today than I would be if I was playing golf back in Charlotte, like I could be on the golf course making the same money today. So this wasn’t a financial decision, but I thought I could fit here and the people are right. I say that to say that I had all that time to really dive into this and study some things NIL-wise and the transfer portal. I think this week’s important, and we’ve gotten going right away. We have a certain profile that we like to recruit to, big, fast guys even if they’re a little bit developmental. We want to get as much speed as we can get anytime we can get it, so we’ve gotten started with that. We just need to sit down with the guys that are here and see who else they were recruiting besides those who are already committed. This week is important, and I’m not sure if I’ll sleep much, but next week and the week after are important, too. Here’s what I know. The future of Nebraska football is not hanging on one decision, but is hanging on the accumulation of day-after-day-after-day of great recruiting, great development, great coaching, great teaching and we’ll just try to say what’s next every day.”

On what worked for him at other places and how he will implement that at Nebraska
“I think the other places it was very simple. We found the right people and the right staff. We found players we could develop. Players that love football that want to get developed. We took Haason Reddick, who was a walk-on with no scholarship offers, and he’s one of the top sack guys in the NFL right now. We practiced really competitively, we trained at a high level, we pushed the guys, we loved them. Nowadays a lot of coaches are afraid to coach their guys hard because they’re afraid they will transfer. If a player knows you care about them, if they really believe what I said earlier that I want your life to be better for having been here, then you can coach guys hard. I think the old school things of developing guys and pushing guys, wanting them to be better, is what got us there at those places. I won at Temple because I had a great athletic director in Pat Craft, a great president in Dr. Neil Theobald. They would calm the waters, and eventually we broke through. When I was at Baylor, I went there at an unprecedented time. I didn’t know what I was walking into when I went into Baylor. But we were successful there because of Dr. Linda Livingstone, Mack Rhoades, because of Jeremiah Dickey. Mack Rhoades, our AD there, when he was asking why we were going 1-11, he calmed the waters. The players got better, and people continued to buy in, and everybody was all in and pushing forward. Do I think we can do that here? I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I would not be here if I did not believe in the players we can get here, the history of Nebraska and their belief in player development on and off the field. In terms of a timeline, I learned at the last place to be careful about giving a timeline. I want to win tomorrow. I want to win right away. If expectations are unreal, people get frustrated. We are going to work our tail off starting today, and we will do it as fast as we can.”

On his first interactions with Trev and how his family impacted his decision
“I remember the first time I talked to Trev on the phone. My wife was nearby, and I was talking to him about football, the process and player development. My wife, I looked over and she was like it was the first time I’ve seen you this happy in a long time. I’ve learned you can work really hard, but you don’t have to be miserable. Developing players and being in an environment where everybody loves each other, that really brought joy to me. There were lots of hurdles. I wanted to make sure that this is the right place for my family. It’s not just about me. I am dad first. I don’t want to bring my kids and move them every three years. It’s my son, who is a senior in high school coming up, who was the one who said I want you to go to Nebraska, I want you to do this. He’ll make any sacrifice, whatever it takes. It was because everyone really trusted Trev and his vision. We loved meeting Angie (Alberts) and could tell it was a really good family. President (Ted) Carter was at Navy when I was at Temple, so we had that crossover playing in the championship game. At the end of the day, I want people to know what I am going to bring, how I am going to do it. President Carter and having that history with me was really important as well.”

On if his experience coaching in the NFL made him a better coach
“1000 percent. It made me a better man. When you’re in the NFL, you are depending on a lot of different things. So many parts have to come together. Recognizing that and being a part of that was great for me. Learning how to deal with challenges and adversity was really good for me. Dealing with the professional athlete was probably the best. Having a conversation with Ameer Abdullah and Christian McCaffrey, they are two guys, in the same position but completely different people. It really taught me, it’s not coach-player, it’s people-people. We all have different roles, but we are all just people. I think that interaction with the players really taught me. I was on the hot seat from the end of last year until the middle of this year, and when you’re a coach on the hot seat do the players really have to listen to you? If I’m proud of anything, it’s the relationships and the guys on that team that had my back throughout that process, and the guys who called me since I got that job. I think that shows me that I can come back to college and have the same relationships. The final piece is that we have always been a player development group, and I know it so much better now. Anybody can get you to the NFL. I want guys to stay there and have a second contract. The way you take notes, the way you prepare, I thought I knew that, and I always preached that, but I know better now. The final piece is that I am just so much mentally tougher. What I went through was hard, and it was hard on my family. When things are hard in life, you either break or you let it be a purifying fire that takes away the impurities, the ego and the anxiety. My family and I looked inward and towards each other, toward our faith and the future and stayed focused on the players. I come here now, not hardened by that, but steeled by it. I am excited to get started with these players, excited to get to spring, and excited to build a team.”

On if he’s met with players and coaches and his goals moving forward
“I have not met with the current coaches yet, just the players. I started reaching out to the players as I could the last couple days over text and some phone calls. The message I had for them was not one player in that locker room signed up to play for me. Not one player was recruited by me, but I wanted to let them know, I chose to come coach you. I am here to be your coach. I am not one of those guys who runs everybody off. I’ve never done that. I come in and try to set a high standard, a high expectation and I hope the veteran players take my expectations and raise it. I wanted to make sure when we got back in the spring that we were going to work at a really high level. Hard work is not punishment. Practicing and playing football is not punishment, and being physical at practice is not punishment. I wanted them to understand the way we can get to where we want to be is on the practice field and through competing, that I wanted them to all be a part of it. I think it is an honor to be a Nebraska Cornhusker football coach and football player and I wanted them to appreciate that. Finally, I told them I’ll be here all week. I look forward to talking to each guy and hearing their perspective. I think it is important for me to learn more about this program right now.”

On if he prefers a certain side of the ball as a coach
“Not really. At Temple after a couple of years we were in the top 10 in defense. At Baylor in our last year we were in the top five in takeaways. After one year in Carolina, we were number two in defense. We have always built a culture of defense. I try to offset that on the other side by trying to run the football and be physical on offense, things we got done at Temple and Baylor at a very high level. I think everything is important. Every single play counts. In today’s world, where we all get pulled in different directions, we are just trying to teach the team that it just needs to win the rep. I love offense, defense and special teams, and I think that’s why I try to hire staff that are great teachers, have a lot of energy, care about their players and I have enough knowledge to see if there is a problem and step in if it’s needed.”

On meeting Coach Tom Osborne
“Coach was great. He just welcomed me and I told him I wouldn’t take this job if I didn’t have his blessing. He laughed and said I don’t need his blessing, and that I trust Trev and know you’ll do a great job. I am thankful that Coach Grant Teaff, who is a special person in my life, and Coach Osborne have a relationship, so I think they were able to visit a little bit. It was great to have a chance to talk to Coach Osborne. He’s someone who I have looked up to as a coach. I grew up in the era of the gentleman coach. The coaches that would battle for 60 minutes, shake hands and go clinic in the summer. That was Coach Osborne and Coach Paterno. He said he’d be here for me if I ever needed it, and I will certainly take him up on that.”

On what a successful team looks like and how he will get Nebraska to that level
“I think the first step is that we are those three things I talked about. That we are a tough team, that no matter what the situation is we do what we say we are going to do and get it done. This offseason we work really hard and compete. Sometimes in football you can get so caught up in the results you forget the process. Then if you lose by 2 or lose by 20, you lost. Sometimes we fool ourselves into saying it was a close loss here, close loss there. This game, you have a mission: you either win or you lose. I want to win as many games as possible, but win the right way. The way for me is the things I talked about in this press conference such as controlling the line of scrimmage and not beating ourselves or winning the turnover battle. If we do those things, the results will take care of itself. I want to go to a bowl game. I don’t want to play just 12 games, I want to go to a 13th game. That should be the bare minimum. I want to compete for the Big Ten Championship, I want to compete for National Championships. I don’t think we have the right to talk about that here today. Right now, this team and I are going to talk about being great this week in finals and recruiting. If you go 3-9 and 4-8, we just have to worry about the spring. Let’s be great this spring. It’s really how I live my life. What does success look like? As players continue to develop and keep bringing in great talent and these guys buy in, the wins will come.”

On how he will use the transfer portal and NIL 
“I think the good teams are doing both. I think as recruiting improves, the really strong teams probably have less transfer kids. The first thing I’ll do is continue to evaluate the roster. We will leave no stone unturned to find good players. We will take the walk-on program seriously, we will take transfers seriously, we will take NIL seriously. When I talk about all in, that’s making sure we have the money to do NIL at the level of the teams we are competing against. We will look at everything. We won’t sacrifice the ideals and integrity of the program. The guys that come here, there’s nothing wrong with a young man trying to make some money off his ability. They have to also want to be here for Nebraska, be here for their teammates, and want to win. When you find guys who want to come here, who want to develop and get a degree and want to serve the community and want to win, those are the guys we want to take care of financially when we win.”