Before you can develop the talent, you must secure the talent. To that cause, Nebraska's offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh was dogged in the recruitment of Matt Farniok.
What all came before the 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive tackle committed to the Huskers over Iowa and Michigan State on Wednesday night? Just miles of travel, and hours upon hours of conversations, that's all.
"You don't know how many conversations Cav and I have had. We've had hundreds of them," said Chad Stadem, Farniok's coach at Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Washington High School. "I've grown to love that guy. I've developed a friendship with the guy. He's a sincere individual, and in today's world, that's what wins people over, is when you are who you are and you're sincere and you're not a salesman."
It was not an easy call for Farniok, who told the Journal Star he started to come to the conclusion Nebraska was the place for him Tuesday night, then had that feeling cemented Wednesday after an in-home visit from Husker coaches, including Mike Riley.
Even Stadem, who began coaching Sioux Falls Washington when Farniok was a sophomore, wasn't quite sure until near the very end who the big lineman would pick.
"Both Iowa and Michigan State fulfilled what his needs were, but I just think it was a gut instinct," Stadem said. "I remember that's one thing I always stressed to Matt. I just kind of stayed in the middle ... but I just kept telling him, 'Matt, you're the only one that will know.' It comes down to that. 'You're the only one that will know.'"
When it came down to it, Farniok told his coach his heart was in Lincoln.
Don't undersell the connection to Cavanaugh either.
Stadem described Nebraska's second-year O-line coach as an "emotional, loving, father figure" type of guy. "I think that might have played into it, to tell you the truth. They developed a good relationship, a sincere relationship."
Farniok was just the latest example that securing offensive line recruits with great potential has not been an issue around here of late.
Now, can it be developed into producing the kind of wrecking machine unit so craved by Husker fans but not consistently seen during the 16-season conference championship drought?
It is a question without an answer for now. But just as it was in recent years, NU fans see great hope in the incoming offensive line recruits.
Farniok joins interior O-linemen John Raridon, Bryan Brokop and Boe Wilson as the new members in Cavanaugh's room in 2016.
The 6-4, 270-pound Raridon, like Farniok, was good enough to get selected to participate in the U.S. All-American Army Bowl.
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A lot of linemen in high school don't actually finish plays, said Gary Swenson, Raridon's coach at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. Raridon finishes plays and then some. Sometimes driving a guy 10 or 15 yards down the field.
"I almost felt bad for the defender sometimes," Swenson said. "They just can't get off the block, and they're helpless."
Brokop? Here's a funny story about Brokop. When film of the prospect from New Lenox, Illinois, was sent to the former Husker staff early in 2014, the initial belief was they were looking at a player's senior film. It was Brokop's sophomore film.
And Wilson, out of Lee's Summit (Missouri) West High School, has some versatility to his game. He could be a center or guard.
His high school coach, Royce Boehm, whose son Evan started 40 games on the interior of Missouri's O-line, has told the Journal Star: "Boe could be every bit of what Evan is. Boe is a player. Once that cat locks onto you, you had better look out, because you're going for a ride."
Nebraska's four O-line recruits join signees from last year that included four-star prospect Jalin Barnett, Christian Gaylord and Michael Decker, the Omaha North grad who was praised by Maliek Collins for his work on the scout team this past year.
Before that, the 2014 class under the old staff brought in four-star tackle Nick Gates, who beat out a senior for the starting right tackle job this past season, and Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer, both highly regarded recruits looking to make a mark entering their third year in the program.
Cavanaugh's group in 2016 will feature plenty of young players with promise, but now it must become something more.
Stadem is pretty sure of this: That new Husker named Farniok will work his tail off. (It's also worth noting Nebraska has already offered a scholarship to the lineman's younger brother, Will Farniok, a sophomore who is 6-4, 255 pounds.)
One of Stadem's favorite memories of Matt Farniok came at the DakotaDome this past November. During Farniok's sophomore year, the team went 3-6. Just two years later, state champions.
We did it, the big O-lineman told his coach, a bear hug to go with it. A lot of work produced that moment.
"I told this to Mr. Riley when I was talking to him a little while ago, I said, 'He's the glue. He keeps guys together.' He's able to talk to guys and keep them focused," Stadem said. "When guys get frustrated or mad about this or that, he's like, 'Don't worry, let's go, let's go work ahead.' He kind of kept the offensive line and offensive unit together."
The work never stops. But on Thursday morning, the lineman stopped for a moment to talk with his high school coach.
It'd been a stressful decision, no doubt. Now Stadem couldn't help but notice Farniok had a bounce in his step, a smile on his face. It was a young man confident about where he was going next.