The University of Nebraska might not be ready to take pre-orders on Tim Miles "GATA" t-shirts, but the mentality has hit Lincoln with Miles, even if the players don't realize it yet.
"GATA" stands for "Get after their..." you can can use your imagination on the last word.
"He played collegiality at Northern State in Aberdeen, South Dakota. They had 'GATA drills.' They were the four hardest drills and we would start the day with those. And then we would do practice from there," recalled Miles when asked about the term.
Years later, as an assistant basketball coach at Northern State, Miles ran across the term again when watching football practice.
"Their defense talked about a "GATA defense." It was the relentless pursuit of the ball. When they would make a tackle, everyone would run and touch the ball. A guy not even in the play, would run to the ball in case their was a fumble. It was what they were known for."
It didn't take long for Miles to realize the term would work on the basketball court as well.
"It occurred to me when I became a head coach, defensively we should be relentless pursuing the ball," Miles said. "It made sense to just use it. I know Georgia Southern uses it, but I think I should contact my lawyer so I can trademark it."
When practices begin in October, a "GATA" chart will be created, for players to truly understand the coaching staff's expectations according to Miles. The staff will keep track of tips, deflections, dives and charges among other things.
"I think we have to improve our physicality," said Miles regarding the Big Ten Conference. "You never get an easy shot and you never get an easy look. You have to be great in half-court defense. Those are things we've done before and have been able to do successfully at times."
Nebraska gave up 65.6 points per game last season, ranking them 125th in the nation. The Huskers recorded 6.6 steals a contest, to put them in a tie for 155th in the country.
In their first year in the Big Ten, Nebraska finished 12-18 overall and 4-14 in conference play.
After committing to the program over the weekend, Seward Community College All-American Deverell Biggs signed with Nebraska on Thursday. Biggs played high school basketball at Omaha Central (NE).
"This is truly an exciting day for Nebraska basketball," Miles said. "Deverell is the first of what we hope to be many recruits from our great state of Nebraska. He is a young man with great talent, a great personality and a person who truly wants to make Nebraska a player on the national level. I love his ability, his skill level and his athleticism, and the fact that he wants to be an ambassador and a lead recruiter for our program. It's a great day to be a Husker, and it is great to have Deverell joining our program."
Biggs averaged 14.6 points, 3.1 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.7 rebounds per game for Coach Bryan Zollinger at Seward (31-7) ranking fifth nationally in steals.