A new era of Nebraska football dawned Monday when the Cornhuskers introduced Matt Rhule as their new football coach.
While the jury is still out on how well Rhule, who was fired by the Carolina Panthers earlier this season, will perform on the field, he appears to have won his first press conference in Lincoln.
Rhule preached hope to Nebraska fans. According to Max Olson of the Athletic, his primary message was that Nebraska can be returned to the top of the sport, and he's the right person to do it.
"I'm here because this is the right fit," Rhule said. "It's the right time. If I have one message for you, we can absolutely do it. We can absolutely get University of Nebraska football exactly where it's supposed to be. It will be hard. It may take time. But it will be done."
Nebraska fans could use a bit of hope. A program that won consecutive national titles in 1994 and 1995 now has not won double-digit games in a season in a decade and hasn't played in a bowl game since 2016.
On paper, Rhule appears to have the credentials to back up his claims. After winning two games during his first season at Temple, Rhule led the Owls to consecutive 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016.
He then moved to Baylor, where he inherited a program reeling from a sexual assault scandal. Two years after the Bears went 1-11 in Rhule's first season in Waco, they went 11-3 and earned a New Year's Six bowl berth.
It's not just Rhule's words that have Cornhusker fans excited, either. He made headlines on Monday by poaching South Carolina offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, who is expected to join him at Nebraska. Rumors have swirled that Satterfield might even bring Gamecock quarterback Spencer Rattler with him.
Of course, it would be easy to look back just five years and remind Nebraska fans how excited everyone was about the hire of Scott Frost, who had led the Cornhuskers to a national championship as a player and led Central Florida to a 13-0 season as a coach. Frost wound up getting fired midway through his fifth season with a record of 16-31.
But at least until Rhule's team loses its first game, Cornhusker fans can remain optimistic and dream of returning to the lofty place they occupied in college football during the 1980s and '90s.