Big recruiting weekend

If the weekend wasn't big enough against Wisconsin - under the lights, on national television and in alternate uniforms, the stands will potentially be holding the most official visitors at one time under head coach Bo Pelini.

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini spoke to the media on Monday and while there is plenty to talk about on the field when it comes to Wisconsin, there is also a lot to talk about off of it.

Nebraska will likely host a double-digit total of official visitors this weekend and Pelini says that it's partly to do with the recruits' schedule, as well as their fairly large class to this point.

"Sometimes you do it according to what players want to come and when they want to come and when they can fit it in," Pelini said. "We have a pretty large number of commitments at this point for us. Our commitments all wanted to come to this game and piggy back that on to some other guys who wanted to visit this weekend, so it's going to be a busy weekend recruiting-wise.

"It should be a good atmosphere, and I'm anticipating that the fans will be excited. It's a night game and with everything involved, the fans are going to be pretty juiced up for this one. It should be a good time to have a lot of recruits in."

In talking to Terrell Newby this weekend, Nebraska's only official visitor against Idaho State, there was a lot of time dedicated to him. He could feel additional attention given to him by being the only visitor. Coach Pelini talked about the challenge of hosting a big number of visitors and says that he has faith in his staff.

"I have a great support staff. My No. 1 priority is winning the football game and doing what I need to do for our football team. It becomes a busy weekend, but first and foremost we want to show the recruits a 'W' on the scoreboard," said the fifth-year head coach. "I've got a lot of great guys in my support staff. They'll spend the majority of their time up to game time with those recruits."

The visitor list will be fluid up until late Wednesday and possibly even Thursday. After that part of the week, the logistics of getting players in from around the country will be tough. The number of official visitors should be around a dozen, but there will also be a fair number of unofficial visitors in town as well.

Els has made changes to Nebraska recruiting since taking over as coordinator
"I don't know (how many visitors this weekend). Probably somewhere around 20."

First year recruiting coordinator Ross Els has shaken things up in Lincoln in his first eight months of holding the position. Els was crucial in the development of Big Red Weekend, which was basically a second junior day in June. There were 17 unofficial visitors, of which six were committed, three ended up committing on or after that weekend, and two are still considering Nebraska.

"I think he (Els) does a great job. He stays on it, he's very detailed," said Pelini. "There are a lot of things going on and your No. 1 focus is winning football games, and you need someone like Ross who is constantly pushing what we need to do recruiting-wise into continuing to evaluate.

"That's one of the biggest keys. You can't just say OK, the guys we've evaluated up to this point, that's it. You have to continue on there and keep looking to guys and keep turning over every rock and pushing through, not only with the guys who aren't committed, but even making sure we keep in contact and keep our relationships and keep the committed guys committed. There's a lot of work involved with that."

One topic Pelini and his staff talk about is areas that they are recruiting. He knows sucussful teams recruits areas where the talent is being produced, at the same time pulling kids from established pipelines. It's something that will continue to be evaluated over time and Pelini says that he and his staff will adjust as needed.

"We just had a recruiting meeting last week talking about it," said the head coach. "Are we going to stay with the areas we have? Are we going to stay national? Are we going to start zeroing in on and limiting a little bit of where we're going and making sure we are spending the right time in the places where, No. 1 are having BCS recruits and No. 2, places where we've had success. As I said, people a couple of years ago said 'How's being in the Big Ten going to influence your recruiting?' and I said 'I don't know. Time will tell.'

"We're compiling a lot of data and using that data to figure out if we have to adjust our approach going forward. We're already starting to adjust our approach on limiting some areas that we haven't had a lot of success in and taking our guys and putting them into places where we've had success in. We're going to continue to study that in the years going forward as time passes."

If you look at the areas where Nebraska is succeeding you can go out the West Coast, down to Texas and then also in the Big Ten footprint. Nebraska has tried to have a longer reach to states in the East, but Pelini has noted that time spent in the East in comparison to other areas might not be well spent.

"We've been spinning our wheels in some of those areas," said Pelini. "We're talking a lot about it and trying to figure out what's going to be our best formula going forward.

"I haven't made any hard decisions, but I have a pretty good idea of where we're leaning. We're going to get some extra presence in some of those areas where it may be too big for just one guy. Also, how much are we going to area recruit, and how much are we going to position recruit? Those are all things where it's about we are going to best use our time as wisely as we possibly can. We're trying to compile a lot of data to help us make those determinations going forward."

One state that is more in play now for Nebraska than it's ever been is the state of Ohio. Nebraska has strong ties into Ohio because of their coaching staff and Ohio is on an annual basis known for being one of the top talent producing states nationally. The state may or may not require more coverage from the staff.

"You look at it; you've got Texas, California, Florida and probably Ohio is next. Georgia has a large amount of kids that can go BCS-wise. For us Ohio is a big state," said Pelini. "We've had some success there and we're having some success there. We have two guys in Ohio. Do we need to spend more time there?

"It's an interesting thing because you have the MAC conference there. You have the BCS recruits. There are lots of guys who have signed Division I out of Ohio. Can you evaluate it? What kind of success can you have from out of there? I think because of my ties, there are probably some areas of Ohio that we are going to recruit harder than other areas of Ohio. That's something we're continuing to keep an eye on and making sure we do have a presence there and going forward and determining whether we need to put another guy in that state, because that's a big state. It's hard to cover with just two guys."

Coach Pelini's Monday Presser:

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Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for 10 years covering recruiting and football and has covered Nebraska recruiting for 12 years.
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