August 20, 2009

Players don't mind Gilmore's tough love approach

Based solely on his quotes to the media, one would think Nebraska receivers coach Ted Gilmore has a group of mediocre receivers that have no chance at competing at the Division I level.

But that's just what he tells us.

While you might not guess it from the evaluations he gives to reporters, but Gilmore has actually been known to give some praise to his players when they do something well. It's just that he only does it when it's deserved.

"I know all of those guys are going to read what I say about them," Gilmore said. "I'm not going to come out and say a guy is there, because I always want them to keep working to get better. I want them to constantly try to improve each day."

So how do the players respond to Gilmore's approach on handling criticism and praise? After realizing he was doing it for their own good and not just being a jerk, NU's receivers have almost grown to prefer Gilmore's tough love style.

"Coach Gilmore is a guy who will never let anyone get a big head about you," senior receiver Menelik Holt said. "He always wants us to remember that there's more about the game and there's always more to perfect.

"He has high expectations for everybody, and every year he raises the bar to get more productivity out of us. Every year he's going to do what it takes to get that. I think he does a good job on both sides of teaching and giving praise."

Junior receiver Niles Paul admitted that he came to Nebraska with a pretty high opinion of his skills and knowledge of the game and the position. After a few practices with Gilmore, though, he realized he had a whole lot left to learn.

"It was tough to get used to, because I came in thinking I was doing everything right," Paul said. "I was definitely humbled by Coach Gilmore telling me what I was doing wrong. I had to get used to it.

"He gives us love, but I love the fact that even if we do something right, he's going to continue to teach us on it and show us how to do it better."

Both Paul and Holt said Gilmore always gives credit when credit is due, and if a younger receiver does something right in practice that he'd been working to improve, Gilmore always recognizes it and offers praise.

The good words are definitely there, but they don't last long. Gilmore has never been shy in always wanting and expecting more out of his receivers, no matter how good they get or how well they play and practice.

That constant drive toward perfection has been embraced by the Husker's receivers. The praise may not come that often, but when it does, it certainly means something.

"Gilmore, I think he's perfect," Holt said. "He's right in the middle. One thing he's never going to do is just feed into your ego. He won't do that. But when it's earned, he'll give you praise when it's earned. That's one thing he will do."

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