When it comes to his legacy, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah has a lot of potential ahead of him. The senior has a chance to become the first three-time 1,000-yard rusher in school history. However, that possibility is far from the top of his list of priorities during the 2014 season.
"It’s probably like 49th on my list I would say," Abdullah said. "Win is like one through 38. And then you’ve got championship 39 through 47.”
Abdullah's approach to the 2014 season should be a great sign for Nebraska fans. The I-back has not only been named a captain, but it's clear he plans to truly lead this team:
Well for me personally we are all teammates. We do a lot of things outside the football stadium and we get close as a team. I’m not reluctant to talk to anyone on the team. I have a pretty good relationship with guys, walk-on guys, walk-on freshman even at this point. I never hold back to talk to anyone if need be.
That relationship will be crucial as the season goes on. Abdullah's attitude will be as well.
|Career Stats - Rushing|
Since Abdullah made the decision to return to Nebraska for his senior season rather than declare for the NFL draft, he's made it a point to do anything and everything he can to benefit the team. That has included being a part of special teams.
Some fans have wondered if it makes sense to let Abdullah play on special teams. Many worry about potential injuries that could occur, but the senior isn't concerned. Instead, as Hail Varsity's Grant Muessel noted during fall camp, Abdullah sees no reason he shouldn't be contributing on special teams:
I consider myself one of the better players on this team, so I want the best players out there at all times. Just because you play a pivotal role on the offense doesn’t mean you can’t contribute on special teams, because you want the best 11 out there at every phase of the game.
As for where he'll contribute specifically? That has yet to be determined.
"Kickoff. All of them. You guys will have to wait and see," he said.
The main point behind Abdullah's mentality is that the team matters far more than he does as an individual. His goal is to get the Huskers to the Big Ten Championship, and he knows he can't do that if his focus is on his own accolades.
So Abdullah's focus will be on his team. He plans to be the leader who keeps the Huskers motivated far beyond the first game:
As the season goes on you get worn out and kind of lose that fire, but I want to be the spark for the team. I want to lead the right way. I want to set the tone of what it means to be a winner. And the way that we win is excellent leadership and staying the course throughout the year.
It's hard to imagine that Abdullah's attitude won't have an affect on those playing around him. It's also hard to imagine that if his goal to build up his team works, he won't reach that 1,000-yard benchmark anyway.
But for Abdullah, it's Big Ten Championship or bust. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
All quotes obtained via the Huskers' Aug. 25 press conference, unless otherwise noted.