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Steven M. Sipple: NU locks in hard on Iowa targets; Sean Snyder intrigue; and an idea for Moos
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Steven M. Sipple: NU locks in hard on Iowa targets; Sean Snyder intrigue; and an idea for Moos

Iowa vs. Nebraska, 11.29

Nebraska football head coach Scott Frost talks with Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz before a November game at Memorial Stadium. 

Things I know, and things I think I know: 

Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos speaks openly about his desire for a genuine rivalry to spark up between his school and Iowa on the football field. We're talking about intense heat. Turn it up, he says.

Perhaps some critical 2021 recruiting battles could help matters. 

Nebraska is eyeing many of the state of Iowa's top high school players in the class of 2021. Husker defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, a former Hawkeye walk-on offensive lineman, heads up the charge. NU already has a verbal commitment from Henry Lutovsky, a three-star offensive lineman from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, for the class of 2021. But Scott Frost and company may be able to pull in as many as four more from the state in the 2021 cycle, according to analyst Mike Schaefer of

Bottom line, Iowa looms as important an area as any for Nebraska in this cycle, Schaefer says. So, even folks who are cynical about recruiting may find this stuff captivating. We'll help you with some names to monitor.

Nebraska has set its sights on TJ Bollers, the top-ranked player in Iowa. A four-star defensive end/outside linebacker from Tiffin, just 15 miles from Iowa City, Boller reportedly has strong interest in attending Wisconsin. But Nebraska is in the hunt. Curiously, Iowa lags behind. It's a race worth watching because the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Boller, according to Schaefer, may be the top player on NU's 2021 board, if that designation doesn't belong to four-star cornerback Avante Dickerson of Omaha Westside. 

Meanwhile, Chinander and Frost lit out on the road Friday to see defensive end/outside linebacker Jeffrey Bowie, a three-star prospect from West Branch. The sixth-ranked player in the state, Bowie (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) may be hard to pry from the Hawkeyes. But this battle's also worth watching.

All told, Nebraska is targeting no fewer than a half-dozen Iowa prep players. But the one who intrigues me most is Thomas Fidone, a 6-5, 220-pound tight end from Council Bluffs' Lewis Central High School. Recruiting insiders suggest Nebraska has an excellent chance to land him. We're talking about a four-star player with offers from Iowa, Michigan, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Purdue ... the list goes on. 

"Every year there are a handful of players in the region that you label as 'must-gets' and Fidone is one of those guys for Nebraska," said Nate Clouse, analyst for "Not only would he fill a huge need as a big and extremely athletic pass-catcher, but he also grew up cheering for the Huskers and you can't afford to lose kids like that."

Sure, Nebraska's had some success recruiting in Iowa over the years. But the Huskers hope for a major haul in 2021.  

I'm guessing a certain athletic director will be watching closely.

* Frost's staff of 10 full-time assistants is full. It's curious that nobody — as of now, anyway — has the title of special-teams coordinator. 

It's a big job. Ask any coach, anywhere. Considering Nebraska's special-teams struggles the past two seasons, Frost can't afford to give it short shrift.

It's possible he has an ace up his sleeve. A purple ace, if you will.

Sean Snyder, son of legendary Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, would be an excellent hire. I mean, find a program that was consistently better on special teams than K-State was under the younger Snyder's direction from 2011-2018. He was named Special Teams Coordinator of the Year in 2015 and 2017 by Phil Steele.

A source told our Parker Gabriel last week that Frost is considering Snyder for a position as an analyst or quality control coach. The 50-year-old Snyder is currently the director of football operations at KSU. Yes, far from the action. He also interviewed last week for a spot on Texas' 10-man assistants staff. He obviously wants back in the action. Back in the spotlight. He would find it at NU, even as an "analyst." 

Would he essentially be a behind-the-scenes coordinator? I'm not sure what Frost has in mind. But it obviously needs to be something good. 

* Consider this an addendum to a Sunday column that essentially raised the question: Would Frost ever give up calling plays on offense? 

One of his foremost mentors, Tom Osborne, called them during a quarter century as Nebraska's head coach. Osborne told me Saturday he spent at least 25 hours per week during the season studying the opposing defense. 

"But it was something I liked to do," he said. "I've seen coaches who were pretty good offensive or defensive coaches. But they began to turn things over more and more to assistants -- to a point where they really became sort of irrelevant. They'd do some recruiting and decide when to call timeout or when to go for one point or two. And that's about it. 

"When things go south on you during the game, you want to be able to have some idea as to what needs to be done. If you get too disengaged, you're really at the mercy of the coordinators or somebody that knows a lot more than you do about what needs to be done."

Tom seemed to figure things out OK.

* You want a brilliant entertainment idea? You came to the right place.

Give Moos a microphone and a comfortable chair, then put him on a stage somewhere and have him tell stories about Mike Leach, whom Moos hired at Washington State in late 2011. Make it a 90-minute show. That's how long Moos spent Friday telling me story after story about Leach. It was wildly entertaining, and most of it is even fit for print.

So I'll be rolling out the stories in coming days. Can't wait to share them with you. 


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