The Nebraska Cornhuskers are currently unranked in an ESPN preseason poll, but the team still managed to generate some buzz in advance of their September 2 opening date against Arkansas State thanks to their choice of off-day activities.
A video posted to the team’s official Twitter account shows head coach Mike Riley addressing the team before unveiling the surprise.
“I’ve been looking at this for a few days, talking to the coaches and studying it,” Riley said. “And we think—and I really believe—that you should have the day off. I’ve got one more thing for you.”
Rest days during the season and during preseason “two-a-day” practices are generally given by coaches as a way to reward players. Once the screen behind Riley flashed tickets to Kendrick Lamar’s upcoming show at Pinnacle Arena, it seems safe to say members of the Cornhusker’s team responded positively.
Players cheered and clapped as “DNA” played in the background, while a few hopped out of their seats to show Riley their appreciation in the form of hugs.
Kendrick Lamar tonight on the main man @Coach_Riley himself! Much appreciated ✊🏾💯— ZIG⚡️ (@TrulyDevine_22) August 18, 2017
According to L. Kent Wolgamott of the Lincoln Journal Star, Friday night’s show in Lincoln wasn’t sold out, but upwards of 10,000 people attended. That more than tripled the attendance from Kendrick’s 2013 Good Kid M.a.a.d City Tour stop in Pershing.
In 2016, the Cornhuskers posted a 9-4 record, presumably without having collectively seen a Kendrick Lamar show as part of the preseason activities.