Barrett Ruud loved to pick the brains of former Nebraska players when they returned to Lincoln for visits.

Now a former Husker himself, Ruud loves having his brain picked even more.

Ruud, who’s beginning his fifth season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, watched film this summer with NU freshman middle linebacker Will Compton, offering tips on how to recognize formations, communicate with teammates and simplify the game.

All that tutoring has Ruud wondering if coaching might be a good line of work when his playing days are complete.

“I’m not very good at many things,” Ruud said in a phone interview. “I’m an average golfer. Basically all I’m good at is playing linebacker, and I guess I’m OK at teaching linebacker, too.

“I just like talking about football. Any help I can give anybody, I’m all for it.”

Ruud questions whether he’d be prepared for starting from the bottom of the coaching ranks, or for the moving and traveling that would follow.

“I don’t know if I’d want to do that yet,” he said, “but I’d love to coach linebackers somewhere. I enjoy that.”

He’s certainly made an impression on Compton, who said Ruud is “awesome” and somebody he looks up to.

Ruud was impressed with Compton’s debut against Florida Atlantic.

“I thought he looked really good,” Ruud said. “Honestly, I thought he was head and shoulders better than he was in the spring.

“Some guys are just natural linebackers, and I think he kind of has that.”

As for Compton’s story about Bo Pelini suggesting that he wear No. 51 — Ruud’s number with the Bucs — that was news to Ruud.

“I’m glad they didn’t give him 38,” he said. “I like 51 a lot better.”

Sanders’ guilt trip

When running back Roy Helu showed up to last week’s postgame news conference wearing a candy lei, secondary coach Marvin Sanders asked why Helu didn’t give him one, too.

“I said, ‘I thought you and I were tight,’” Sanders said. “He said, ‘Coach, they kind of go to my closest friends.’

“So all week I’ve been calling him ‘Mr. Helu,’ and he said, ‘Why do you call me that?’ and I said, ‘Only friends call each other by their first names.’”

Sanders spoke to reporters Saturday wearing a candy lei.

“I have a big-time sweet tooth,” he said. “There’s no question I’ll eat this.”

Going deep

* Who says fullbacks never touch the football? OK, so it was a pass, not a trap. Here’s guessing Tyler Legate doesn’t care. His fist pump said as much.

* A clarification on the pronunciation of Colton Koehler’s last name, thanks to an e-mail from a relative – it’s KAY-ler.

* Is launching red balloons for achieving a first-and-goal from the 3 a new tradition of which I’m not aware?

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com.