Mick Stoltenberg has had the coaching bug for a few years. The former Nebraska defensive tackle — honored with the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award Wednesday night at the Outland Trophy dinner — first noticed how much he liked helping teammates improve while still playing for the Huskers.
Now two months removed from his NU career, he’ll pursue coaching full time. Stoltenberg said he decided to retire from playing football — and forgo any chance of making an NFL roster — because of six knee surgeries that repeatedly left him in rehabilitation and less than 100 percent on the field.
The Gretna graduate got his fifth knee surgery last spring. He had his sixth and final surgery after a loss to Michigan.
“The game became a lot tougher to play after that rehab and coming back from that,” Stoltenberg said. “My goal was to finish out those last few games and try and get myself on the field and help out in any way I could. And to a degree, I guess that was accomplished, I was happy to be a part of that, especially how things finished — but it was a really hard decision.”
If a graduate assistant job at Nebraska were open, Stoltenberg said, he’d take it. Otherwise, he’ll put his name out there to see what he can find. The constant turnover on the defensive staff will actually play in Stoltenberg’s favor.
“I’ve dealt with a pretty wide variety of coaching tactics and philosophies and stuff like that,” Stoltenberg said. “There’s different ways you coach guys.”
NU’s current staff, Stoltenberg said, understands how to push buttons and use different styles of coaching. He expects Nebraska to rebound from its 4-8 season, the first under new coach Scott Frost.
“There’s a lot I can learn from these coaches,” Stoltenberg said. “They’re great coaches and I’m hoping to be in contact with them as much I can be in the future.”
Morgan training for NFL
When Stanley Morgan was a freshman at Nebraska, the receiver wondered if he’d ever leave the school.
The time went faster than he expected. And his career was among the best in Husker history.
He had the first 1,000-yard receiving season. He left as NU’s career leader in catches and yards, and the Guy Chamberlain Award winner is now preparing for a potential career in the NFL.
Morgan said he’s training in Calabasas, California, with several other NFL hopefuls, including LSU cornerback Greedy Williams. He’s heard from the Seahawks and Saints. He doesn’t know if he’ll play in an all-star game.
Training for the NFL combine — or if he doesn’t get an invite to that, NU’s pro day — is different than preparing for a season. Morgan hasn’t run a 40-yard dash at Nebraska.
“Just learning how to run one — learning my body, stretching well,” Morgan said.