June 2, 2010

Where are they now: Rich Glover

Former Nebraska star Ndamukong Suh may be regarded by many as one of the best defensive players in school history, but it was guys like Richard Glover who paved the way for Suh well before he was even born.

A two-time All-American and two-time national champion, Glover played at a level arguably far ahead of his time, as he ended his Husker career as an inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame and a member of Nebraska's all-century team. In fact, Glover was so good that former NU head coach Bob Devaney called him "the greatest defensive player I ever saw."

In the latest edition of HuskersIllustrated.com's "Where are they now?" series, we sat down with Glover to catch up with one of the all-time greats.

When you look back on your time at Nebraska, are there any memories that still stick with you after all these years?

"I think just leaving Jersey City and coming to Nebraska was a positive experience. Then just playing football and meeting the young men who I played with from different parts of the country. I still stay in touch with a lot of them. Playing in the Big Eight at that time and all the teams that we played, then going to the bowl games. Back then, you'd go down to the bowl games for a whole week and hang out, you'd practice and you'd get to see the city a little bit. But the best part of the bowl games were after the bowl game you'd stay there an extra night, and they'd throw a big team party where both teams came together to hang out and meet the guys that you played against. You'd find out, 'Wow, this guy is a good guy.'"

Since you left Lincoln, have there been any Husker players - especially defensive linemen - that you've especially enjoyed watching play?

"I really like a lot of guys that have played for Nebraska. I can't remember all their names, but anytime there was a guy from Nebraska who made it to the league, I was fired up to say, 'Hey, that's a team I'm going to cheer for.' There were guys like John Dutton and Monte Johnson, and even players today like guys like Ndamukong Suh, I'm going to following him. So whoever is a Nebraska guy playing in the league, I'm cheering for that team."

Where are they now?
Player: Rich Glover, 1970-1972

Current city: Jersey City, NJ.

Family: Wife: Sonja; four children (two sons, two daughters) and five grandchildren.

Current profession: Glover is a physical education teacher at William L. Dickinson High School and was also the head football coach at Dickinson before the school dropped the program. He is currently the head football coach at nearby Ferris High School, another of the four public high schools in Jersey City. Glover also runs the Rich Glover All Access to Life Foundation, which works with inner-city kids to keep them off the streets and in school. For more information about the foundation, go to www.allaccesstolife.org.

Professional career: Glover was selected by the New York Giants in the third round (69th overall) in the 1973 NFL Draft. He played with the Giants for one season before joining up with the World Football league, where he played one season with the Shreveport Steamers in 1974. When the WFL folded the following year, Glover returned to the NFL and played two more seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before retiring in 1976. Nearly 30 years later, he served one season as an assistant coach at New Mexico State in 2004.

NU career accomplishments: Helping guide Nebraska to back-to-back national titles, Glover ended his collegiate careers regarded as one of the best defensive lineman ever to play college football. Not only did he win both the Lombardi and the Outland Trophies in 1972, he also finished third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995, was named to Nebraska's All-Century Team and had his No. 79 jersey retired by the school.

What has your impression been of what Bo Pelini has been able to do since he took over at Nebraska a couple of years ago?

"Coach Bo Pelini was there before, so he understood and knew what it takes to bring the program back to where it needs to be. He's been around a lot of great programs, but first off, he's got Coach Osborne there with him, and he understands what it takes. So (Pelini) has that person right there where he can go in and say, 'You know what, this is what we need.' So they know what they need to bring the program back. They have the facilities, and now it's just a matter of recruiting the right student-athletes who want to come there and want to work to become the best.

"He has done a great job, and I've seen the program getting better because he's surrounded himself with a great group of coaches. That's the first part, and the second part is getting the student-athletes. The best part is that he's got Coach Osborne there, and he knows what it takes to get the program where it needs to get, so I think Nebraska is on their way back."

What are some of the biggest differences between the defensive linemen of today compared to back when you played?

"Back when I played, they wanted linemen to be big guys, like Big John Matuszak. That was the big thing when I came - they wanted us to be big and this and that. But I think it's more quickness and speed now. You've got more hand stuff, and I think that's probably the biggest difference in the game. It's more about speed. They're not really into size. I think it comes down to a guy's desire, determination, his heart, how hard is he going to play and how hard is he going to work to get better."

So how do you think you in 1972 would stack up against the offensive linemen of today?

"I think it would be no problem, man. I know what I could do. I knew the type of player that I was. That's how you have to look at it - I don't care how big the guy across from me is, it's what you have. I had a lot of heart and a lot of desire, and I wanted to play and go against the best. If it's the best that they have to today, I'd be right there in their butts and have them saying, 'Oh man, I can't block this guy.'"

You're a Big Eight Conference guy - do you have any thoughts about what Nebraska should do amid all this conference expansion talk?

"I don't know. Today's game has changed because it's all about money. Television controls everything. When we were playing back then in the Big Eight, we didn't have all these different channels and the bowl games would come pick you they wanted. If they break up the Big 12, I think it would probably hurt their conference because now they'd have this super conference in the Big Ten, so you know, they'd be the big dog.

"So I don't know, I'd like to see them stay there, but whatever they've got to do, they've got to do. It doesn't make any difference what I say or what you say, because it's all controlled by the dollar and T.V., man."

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