Things I know, and things I think I know:  

Casey Thompson is in the critical early stages of his new life as a Nebraska quarterback. 

He has an apartment in The Telegraph District near downtown Lincoln. He works out with the team. 

It's an important period for the graduate transfer from Texas because his new teammates surely watch him closely. After all, he's the odds-on favorite to be the starter in 2022. That's why he came to Lincoln. He plays a position that requires a certain level of acumen as a leader. Plus, he's set to replace a three-year co-captain in Adrian Martinez.

So, of course, Thompson's teammates will take note of his actions and words during winter conditioning. 

His father thinks they'll respect what they see.

"You know, Casey's just a football guy," Charles Thompson, the former Oklahoma wishbone quarterback, told the Journal Star. "A lot of people say in Nebraska there's not a whole lot to do. Well, honestly, he didn't do a whole lot in Austin (Texas). He's in there watching film. He's in there getting extra treatment. I mean, he's about football. He doesn't go out. He's not into the whole party scene. He doesn't drink. 

"He's really about developing his craft."  

Casey Thompson left Texas with a degree in sports management, needing only 3½ years to get it done. 

"The reason why I wanted to rush my undergrad process is so whenever I became the guy in Year 4 (at Texas), I'd have more time to watch film and meet with my receivers and also more time to get treatment," he told Hook'em.com in September. 

"Football is a priority for me and so is watching film," he added. "I think at the quarterback position, we have to watch more film, I think, than anybody else in all of sports."  

After Steve Sarkisian was hired as Texas' head coach last January, "Casey called the A.D. to get ahold of Sarkisian because he wanted the playbook immediately. Casey started holding meetings in his apartment with a lot of players, learning the playbook," Charles Thompson told the Journal Star last week. "That was before Sarkisian really touched base in Austin, long before the spring.  

"Then, during the season, Casey would take some of his NIL money and take out his linemen to eat. He's all about things like that."  

So, one can understand why Nebraska targeted Casey Thompson as one of its go-to quarterbacks in the transfer portal. During the process leading to Thompson's final decision on a new school, he established a relationship with new Husker offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.

But don't forget NU head coach Scott Frost in the discussion. 

"When Frost and Casey talked, Frost reminded Casey of an old high school coach he had," Charles said. "Frost is very intelligent. He thinks carefully about his thoughts and moves. I think he's somewhat of an old spirit, if that makes sense. 

"Everything just sort of fell into place with Nebraska."  

The elder Thompson wanted to make something else clear.  

"I read a quote from Trev Alberts that said, 'We are family here,''" Charles said of the first-year Nebraska athletic director. "They want to find a way for Frost to succeed, and they're allowing him an opportunity to do that because he is part of the Nebraska family. They brought back Mickey Joseph, who's part of the family. It has the feel of, 'We want our people to succeed and we're going to give them every opportunity to do that before we pull the rug out from under them.'" 

What's more, "When I looked at Frost, I also saw how loyal he stayed to Adrian Martinez despite the struggles. That's something we felt we missed at the place we were at." 

If Frost ultimately steers Nebraska's ship in the right direction, Casey Thompson likely will play a leading role. 

So, of course people are watching him closely. 

* If you've been reading the Journal Star in recent days, you've noticed plenty of comments from Alberts on a variety of pertinent subjects. Along the way, we've been able to get a much better handle on the sort of culture he wants to establish in the athletic department. 

For instance, in a discussion about Nebraska's financial resources and how they can help in hiring coaches, Alberts cautioned that money can be easy to spend and there's a danger in coming to feel entitled to it.  

"The second thing is, I'm not interested in anybody who joins our organization who is driven primarily by money," he said. "If the only thing you're interested in here is to be part of a place that has resources, that's not what made Nebraska, Nebraska. Does that make sense?" 

Hell yes it does.

"This job is a grinder job," he added. "This job has always been about people being willing to pay a bigger price than the other guy — players, coaches, administration, everything. That's part of what I love about it. But it's also part of what can be a challenge."  

* High five to Nebraska senior guard Kobe Webster for speaking his mind about issues in Fred Hoiberg's program, especially regarding a lack of accountability. Hoiberg said Webster's comments — and the reaction among fans and media — is a "learning opportunity" for Webster. 

Here's hoping Hoiberg regards it as a learning opportunity for himself. That's more important. As NU's head coach, he's 20-58 overall, including 5-42 in the Big Ten. He's 6-52 against power-conference teams and 1-27 on the road. 

In other words, I'm guessing Webster could've identified several other problems in the program had he chosen to do so. 

* One of my many takeaways from covering Hoiberg and Frost's losing programs is this: In such situations, head coaches become very vulnerable. There's simply not much they can say as critics fire away and question their methods. They basically become human pinatas. It's not much fun for anybody. 

A 5-42 record in the Big Ten? It almost seems like fiction. 

* How about those Niners? Two blocked kicks were key in Saturday night's upset of the Packers. 

During an interview last week with former Nebraska safety Daniel Bullocks, now the Niners' safeties coach, I noted the Huskers seldom block kicks anymore.

"They're going to get back to it with Bill Busch in charge of special teams," said Bullocks, who starred at NU in 2005 when Busch doubled as safeties and special-teams coach (NU blocked seven kicks that year). "Bill Busch, he's going to bring that energy and passion, and he's going to put guys in the right spots to make plays. I'm excited to see it happen." 

He's among many people in that red-clad club.

Originally published on journalstar.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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