Imagine being the successor to a legend.
To a guy who missed one game in 15 years and went on to become the team’s all-time leader in receptions and passing yards. A guy who had to be told to take a day off. A guy named Jason Witten.
Yup.That might be how the Dallas Cowboys’ current group of tight ends feels. Interesting enough, though, they will be overseen by a man who is pretty familiar with the sentiment, himself. Take it back to 1990, when Doug Nussmeier was named starting quarterback at the University of Idaho.
Nussmeier stepped into the shoes left by his predecessor John Friesz, a three-time Big Sky Offensive MVP and 1989 Walter Payton Award winner. Friesz was named player of the year in the Big Sky as a sophomore, led the Vandals to a 9-1 regular season as a junior, and their third consecutive conference championship as a senior.
Imagine having those high expectations on you as a redshirt freshman. Now, imagine holding your own and doing just fine. Nussmeier earned a Big Sky Offensive MVP nod in 1992 and a Walter Payton Award in 1993, finishing his college career with over 12,000 yards of total offense. I’d say Nussmeier knows a thing, or two, about high expectations and filling big shoes.
Here are five more fun facts about the new Dallas Cowboys tight ends coach:
He’s a lefty…
Nussmeier is one of 32 left-handed quarterbacks to play in the NFL. The Oregon native was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1994 and spent four seasons as a backup quarterback. He also spent one with the Indianapolis Colts as backup to a rookie Peyton Manning.
Nuss and Scott Linehan go way back…
They’re both Vandals! Before Nussmeier and Friesz, Linehan was the starting quarterback at Idaho. He was brought back to his alma mater in 1989 as a wide receivers coach. In 1992, Linehan had the opportunity to mentor Nussmeier in his role as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. The pair reunited in 2006 in St. Louis where Linehan was a first-year head coach and Nussmeier accepted a position as quarterbacks coach.
He’s no stranger to storied football programs…
Michigan State. Fresno State. University of Washington. University of Alabama. University of Michigan. University of Florida.
Nussmeier has served as a quarterbacks coach at all of these stops and as a coordinator for all but Michigan State. He was expected to join LSU’s staff as an offensive analyst this year, but chose Dallas instead. This will be his second stint in the NFL.
He has good genes…
It appears Nussmeier’s oldest son Garrett is following in his father’s footsteps. The class of 2021 prospect is a rising star quarterback, and LSU has already offered him a scholarship.
— Garrett Nussmeier (@Garrettnuss13) June 14, 2018
He prefers to accentuate the positive…
This season, Nussmeier will coach a group of guys who have amassed 29 career games, nine career starts and nine career catches. The last two stats are from Geoff Swaim, alone. But, the first-time tight ends coach doesn’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.
“Everybody focuses on, ‘Well, nobody has starts, Nobody’s played,’ this and that, but everybody has to start a game at some point in time or play a first play at some point in time,” Nussmeier said. “I don’t look at that as a negative.”
Nussmeier has the opportunity to take a young, inexperienced group of guys and shape them for the future. Who better to do that than someone who’s been there? It should be interesting to see the progress of this group in the coming weeks.