If the first two games of the Matt Rhule era for Nebraska football are any indication, it's not going to be an immediate turnaround for the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska began their 2023 college football season with a rockfight loss to Minnesota on a last-second field goal. The Golden Gophers' game-winning kick came as a result of a back-breaking Jeff Sims interception. The encore for the Huskers was then getting routed in Boulder by upstart Colorado.
Though two games, Nebraska has a 0-2 record while managing just 24 total points. And on Tuesday, Rhule addressed the team's struggles. Unfortunately, he didn't paint a picture of a Huskers team that's going to fight back and make a bowl game. Instead, he all but promised a long 2023 campaign in Lincoln.
"This is kind of what you get when you hire me," Rhule said, via Adam Krueger of KMTV in Omaha. "It's not going to be a quick fix. It's not going to be overnight. It's going to be built to last. It's going to be built on rock."
Nebraska football: Matt Rhule says Huskers won't be a 'quick fix'
When you look back at Rhule's college football coaching track record, quick fix hasn't necessarily been in his vocabulary. When he took over at Temple in the 2013 season, the Owls finished that year going 2-10 with a 1-7 record in the AAC. In 2017 at Baylor, the Bears bottomed-out to 1-11 with a 1-8 conference record.
Though seeing that type of result at Nebraska in 2023 won't make many fans in Lincoln, the rest of the results should buoy long-term confidence. At Temple, Rhule went 6-6 the following season and then won 10 games in back-to-back years thereafter. Then at Baylor, the team went 7-6 in year two before going 11-3, making the Big 12 Championship Game and playing in the Sugar Bowl.
There was some hope that his rebuild with the Huskers would be a bit expedited, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Having said that, the makings of a foundation are evident. Nebraska's defense has showed up well through two weeks, even if they were worn down by Colorado in the second loss. It's the offense that isn't nearly good enough right now, which will surely be the next stage to build up.
Even if his NFL tenure was, frankly, horrendous, Rhule has a proven history of building up programs in college football. As he said, however, he doesn't do it overnight. Perhaps Nebraska fans can take solace in a likely bright future -- but that won't make the 2023 season any easier on the eyes.