Coach Speak: Micah Kreikemeier

Head Coach Dave Ridder knows a thing or two about defensive ends. In college, he played defensive end and so when he looks at Micah Kreikemeier he sees a defensive end in waiting. The 6-foot-3 and 210-pound athlete with a 4.8/40 from West Point (Nebr.) Central Catholic knows that it will take hard work to get there, but Coach Ridder says that you never had to tell Micah twice what he had to do.

Having a player like Micah Kreikemeier doesn't happen all the time, especially at a school like West Point (Nebr.) Central Catholic. Head Coach Dave Ridder had high praise for his Nebraska commitment.

"It was great coaching Micah," Coach Dave Ridder said. "We didn't have to tell him much and when he was told he did what you told him to do. He's a real quiet kid, wish he was a little more vocal, but he led by example. You could tell him something once and it was done.

"He was a great example for his teammates. He was not a very good player as a freshman, probably above average, but he really developed himself. He showed kids that he could do the same thing. He was a good example."

As a result of that hard work, Kreikemeier went on to start three years at Central Catholic under Coach Ridder. Coach gave credit to Kreikemeier's three biggest strengths as a reason why he was so successful on the field.

"My number one thing would be his intelligence. My number two thing would be his motor. There were a couple of times where we would try and take him off the field, on a kick receive or something to give him a break, but he would never come out.

"That third thing is that he is a team player. He would always try and think of things that would work for us offensively because they would try and shut him down as a tight end when he was there so he would think of other ways to win without him getting the ball. All he wanted to do was win."

Kreikemeier is a work in progress, but he's on the right track. He is taking the initiative to get to Lincoln early this summer and get to work. Kreikemeier is simply going to have to keep adding to what he has. If he does that the way Coach Ridder thinks he can, he could end up with his hand on the ground.

"He's going to have to continue to do things, things that he's done all long at this level, and he's headed down there early this summer to start working out. He has a real quick first step, but now he just needs that second, third and fourth step. He's quick.

"He could develop into a rush end, which is really a position that he could be very good at. Nebraska is thinking outside linebacker, but if he puts on 40 to 50 pounds and keeps that same quickness he'll be awfully tough."

Nebraska is looking at Kreikemeier to come in and fill in at one of the outside linebacker positions. When you ask Coach Ridder where Micah might fit in, he thinks that ultimately it might be with his hand on the ground. Micah has the hands and the quickness.

"I do think that defensive end will be his best suited position, but that's just what I think. He's just got that real good first step and I don't know a lot about that outside linebacker position. There is a lot of coverage involved with that.

"He also knows how to use his hands really well, so he's got that down. If he gets just another step and if had the build on him then I just think that is his position."

Coach Ridder might just tell you that he has coached Kreikemeier and that would be testament enough about his opinion about where to play Micah, but it goes deeper. Coach Ridder, Dave Ridder, lettered as a defensive end at Nebraska from 1981-1983 and went to three Orange Bowls.

So when Coach Tom Osborne returned to Nebraska, and it's most definitely Coach Osborne, that Coach Ridder couldn't have been happier. There was some disconnect that he felt between himself and the program that he played for.

"To have him back, for myself, I haven't watched too many games lately. It's not Athletic Director Tom Osborne, it's Coach Tom Osborne, and he just has that affect on things.

"We have a proven entity here and now it's our job to step it up and do our end of the job; where as under Bill Callahan he never was a proven entity, he just wasn't. Sorry.

"Under him and (Steve) Pederson it was really hard to latch onto, it really was. Being a former player, things weren't the way that we had learned.

"And, I don't know if it's true or not, but it seemed like there was a lack of respect for Nebraska people and Nebraska tradition. Calling Oklahoma fans whatever he did, we are the same people. It was just a different demeanor in Lincoln."

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