It's about perspective, I suppose.
As a freshman and sophomore defensive end Greg McMullen realized a lot of success, posting double-digits in sacks in a unique 3-5-3 stack defense, all while his team made it to the playoffs and as far as the quarterfinals.
Last year they won four games.
"Quit complaining. I think that's what I learned. You have some guys who think they should play this position or be doing that, and that's all they do. They complain. They don't play," he said. "When you win, you do it as a team. If you aren't a team, you are going to have the kind of season we had last year."
For his own part it wasn't a complete disaster as McMullen said he notched nine sacks as well as an estimated 55 tackles. But he added approximately nine pass deflections at the line as well as a field goal and punt block.
At 6-5, 261 lbs., the very physical defensive end likes how this defense and his own mentality have made him versatile. "My first responsibility is sealing that edge. But after that I make sure nothing gets through on my side. That's why I think I can do a bit of everything," he said. "I don't like being considered either a guy who can stop the run or someone who just gets up field. I like to be able to do it all."
The reaction to his efforts has been positive as McMullen already holds an offer from in-state powerhouse Ohio State as well as Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Nebraska. That's all Big Ten, including the Huskers, which will officially join the conference after June 31st of this year.
That doesn't hurt Nebraska in his eyes. "I thought that I'd like to stay in the conference. It's not definite, because it's too early to make that decision. But I wouldn't mind it as it obviously gives me a chance to stay closer to home," he said.
Of course, the thought behind McMullen will be that he's going to Ohio State and that's that. He's from Ohio after all. He has the Buckeye offer, after all. On top of that, his best friend and fellow defensive end, LaTroy Lewis - he's got an offer from OSU, too.
Yep, if you are a fan of another school or perhaps a Buckeye fan as well, this one is signed, sealed and delivered - it's just a matter of time.
McMullen disagrees. "It's a great school, but everyone knows that. I just don't like people thinking that it's done, and that's where I am going. I am into making my own choices about things," he said. "There are a lot of schools to consider, and there are places that I want to go see. As for L.T., he's my best friend, but he'll always be my best friend, whether we play at the same college or not. We know we both have to do what is best for each of us.
"We know we have to make our own path and not take the one everyone has predetermined we should take."
That could still end up being Ohio State, but this weekend anyway, that takes a bit of a turn as Greg said him and Latroy are planning on taking an unofficial down to Notre Dame. Then in the Spring he said he plans to attend the Spring Game at Ohio State as well as the one at Nebraska. So, whatever decision he plans to make in recruiting, probably won't be coming anytime soon.
As for the Huskers, Greg likes what he knows about them thus far. "It's a defensive team. That's what they are known for, and I like what they do with their defensive linemen," he said. "I'm a defensive guy, so that right there is enough for me to give them a closer look."
As for what he'll be working on in the meantime and during the so-called off-season, McMullen said it's pretty simple. "I'm staying focused on my things like working out, but I'm also hitting the books hard," said McMullen who reports a 3.3 GPA right now. "My grades can always get better, and there is always something I can work on to make myself better. You never stop. The second you do, that's when you stop getting better."
Don't expect a decision anytime soon from the standout DE, and his criteria is wide open right now, starting with the academics of the program to where he fits in on the field. But don't worry about weather. He's in Ohio. He figures that qualifies everyone else has having a better situation than he sees from day-to-day. "We have to have the worst weather of anyone. I'm not kidding. It is miserable here most of the time," he said with a laugh. "So, no, weather isn't an issue in recruiting. Anyone else's weather has to be better than ours."