University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green had arranged an 8:30 meeting on Saturday morning withDave Rimington to discuss Rimington serving as Nebraska’s Interim Director of Athletics.
About an hour before the meeting, Green texted Rimington and told him this wasn’t a formal interview, just a casual talk.
“I came in,” Green said, “and Dave had a jacket on, he was dressed nicely and said, ‘I got your text and I have already been here 15 minutes, because I was so excited about what we were going to talk about.’ ”
Hey, what do you expect from the most decorated offensive lineman in Nebraska football history?
“I’m a Nebraska kid. I’m going to show up early all the time,” Rimington said. “Especially being a lineman Nebraska kid.”
That lighthearted moment from Tuesdays’ brief news conference showed how eager Rimington, an Omaha native, is to lead Nebraska’s athletics department, even if only in an interim role, for up to 60 days.
Green said Rimington, president of the New York-based Boomer Esiason Foundation, was the first candidate he considered.
“He was the first thought that I had,” Green said, “not only as his great accolades as a Husker, but because he also was an Academic All-American, and he represents our program so well.”
Rimington, who will take a leave of absence from the Esiason Foundation, said he’s not a candidate for the permanent job. He thanked former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, who recruited Rimington 38 years ago, for giving him a scholarship and believing in him.
Now, it’s Rimington’s turn to help lead an athletic department that Osborne also once led.
“I love this place,” Rimington said. “I will do anything I can to help it. I talked to the coaches today, and I am here for them. I am not here to fire anybody. I am just here to calm things down.
“We have a great university here, and I am going to do the best I can to help with whatever I can to make it better.”
Rimington said he’d like to help with relationships with former players, and he holds the walk-on program in high regard. He said he’ll also have an influence, albeit small, in the selection process for a permanent Director of Athletics.
“If I can accomplish two of those three things,” Rimington said, “I think I will be pretty happy.”
Although Green first reached out to Rimington, giving him a cold call last Thursday, he stressed that any member from a strong team of senior leaders in the Athletics Department could have filled the interim role.
“I felt, though, that would be a missed opportunity to bring in an outside person during this time to also work with us and provide some outside input for us, since we have decided to move forward,” Green said.
Nebraska will use a search firm, although Green will also form a search committee of university leadership, former athletes and athletic staff, in the search for a permanent Director of Athletics.
Green expects a short search, however, “We will take as long as it takes to find the right leader in place,” he said.
“It’s something I really started working on in high school, especially my junior year,” said Jaimes, noting his coaches there stressed he’d need strong technique, if he wanted to play at the Division I level. “I wasn’t going to be able to rely on just strength.”
Jaimes, a graduate of Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, made his first career start Saturday against Rutgers. He will hold the position Friday night when the Huskers play at Illinois.
“It was a great experience for me to get on the field and play with some upperclassmen,” Jaimes said. “It really brought me down to earth. It showed me I’m not the biggest and baddest on the field anymore. I just need to be really humbled by that.”
When Cavanaugh moved Jaimes to second string, that was a sign to Jaimes that he would be ready to play.
“I think he saw something in me,” Jaimes said, “and I saw something in myself, to trust in myself and trust in him that he has a plan for me.”
“For sure, I had nerves,” Jaimes said of his debut. “I think after that first drive, they calmed down a little bit.”
Progress for Jones
Chris Jones joined the team for Tuesday’s practice in jerseys, shorts and helmets.
That doesn’t mean Jones’ return to playing is imminent, but it sure served as a pick-me-up, for both Jones, and his teammates.
“It’s great to see Chris feeling better and doing well,” Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said.
Jones, a senior cornerback, suffered a meniscus tear in July and has been rehabilitating. His initial diagnosis was to miss 4-6 months.
“I have not had any new discussions with Chris,” Nebraska coach Mike Riley said. “I think that when that time might come, that he might be healthy to play, then we’ve got something to talk about.
“Until he is actually got to a point where he may be cleared, which we do not have that point today, then there’s no reason for that discussion yet.”
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