All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Husker safety and current San Francisco 49ers safeties coach Daniel Bullocks on coaching in the Super Bowl, stories from his time at Nebraska and more.
Want more Chronicles? Follow Carriker on Twitter and Facebook and sign up to get an email whenever a new show is posted.
Check out a full transcript below:
Adam: Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people’s show, where we check the pulse of Husker Nation. Brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital.
Today, I am joined by my former Husker Teammate, Mr. Daniel Bullocks. He and his twin brother, Josh, started in the early 2000s for the Huskers. Daniel earned 2nd Team All Big 12 honors. He was drafted in the second round by the Detroit Lions, where he played his NFL career. He is now currently the Safeties coach for the San Francisco 49ers, getting ready to play the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, on Sunday. How are you doing, Daniel?
Daniel: I’m doing awesome!
Adam: I want to thank you for joining me, and we’re going to talk a little bit about the Super Bowl here in a minute, but let’s start with some Husker football talk. I don’t know how much you get to watch the Huskers, maybe you get to watch the defense and the secondary from time to time. But what have you seen from the secondary the past couple of seasons since Coaches Frost and Chinander took over?
Daniel: You know, we don’t have much time to get to see the games, but when we travel I do get to see some. You guys have to be patient with Frost, I like the things he’s doing with recruiting, he’s bringing in some good players. With Coach Chinander, the things he did at UCF, his defenses have been known for taking the ball away. You look at Travis Fisher, he’s a guy I’ve known and played with at Detroit. He’s a good teacher, he’s done a good job with the Defensive Backs. Overall, when you look at the team, those guys are continuing to get better and continuing to improve.
Adam: I’m curious, because Fisher has been a good recruiter for us. What was he like as a teammate of yours in the NFL?
Daniel: Oh man, his ability to connect with everybody in the room. Fisher came in the second year I was there and he took me under his wing. The leadership he provided, he taught me how to study and prepare. With his communication, I think they’re going to be on point as they continue.
Adam: Lamar Jackson from Nebraska has garnered some attention as far as being a potentially high draft pick. Anyone else you could potentially see coming out of Nebraska getting drafted into the NFL?
Daniel: I don’t know all the guys, but obviously Lamar is a guy that gets talked about. He has the size and the speed, he can make tackles. I think he’s doing well down at the Senior Bowl right now. Other than that, the Davis Twins are doing well also, they have a shot to get drafted. Mohammed Barry, I know he had a good career at Nebraska, he may not get drafted, but he has a chance to have a good career in the league.
Adam: Switching gears to the 49ers, what has made you guys so good this year? You had been dinged up throughout the year, but as you’ve gotten healthy like in these playoffs, you are potentially the best defense in the league this year.
Daniel: Number one this year, is personnel. You look at the guys we brought in this year, from the free agent standpoint, going out and signing Dee Ford. One of the best pass rushers in the game. Quan Alexander, another free agent. He brings speed, physicality, and leadership to the table. On top of that, the guys we draft, like Nick Bosa. Another great pass rusher opposite Dee Ford. He is a technician with a relentless motor. Offensively, you look at a Deebo Samuel, a guy we drafted at Receiver. He took on that leadership role in a young group. Emanuel Sanders, we brought in half way through the season from the Denver Broncos, he took those guys under his wing.
So those additions were areas that if you watched us last year, you knew we needed to get better. You look at our defense, you see how we play, all gas and no brakes. You look at our team, the first thing that pops off the screen is you can see our guys love each other. They care about one another and celebrate when a guy makes a play. You see it on the screen, like a guy will make a play and the whole offense runs out onto the field to celebrate him. It’s about having each other’s backs and getting better every day.
Adam: I know he’s a corner, but what’s it like coaching a guy like Richard Sherman?
Daniel: He’s a talented guy. The thing about Sherm, is he’s a humble guy as well. He’s a great leader and a great communicator to the team. Not just the defense, but the whole team. You look at someone like him, he’s out there after practice, putting in that extra work. He’s been to the Pro Bowl throughout his career, he can play at a high level. From a scheme standpoint, the defense we run with the 49ers is the defense he ran when he was at Seattle. His understanding of the scheme and communicating that to our guys is big. Sherm is really like a coach on and off the field as well. He doesn’t just know his position. He knows all 10 other guys’ positions on the field. He knows the run and the pass stunts as well. I take my hat off to him. We’re just lucky to have someone like him on the field, who comes to work every day and understands the game, as well as the heart and willingness to help the other guys too.
Adam: What’s it like for you, as you get ready for the Super Bowl. I always wonder, do coaches get nervous before big games like players do? What are your emotions like as you get ready to coach in this Super Bowl?
Daniel: I’m nervous every game. This game, the Super Bowl, is the biggest event in the world. With all the media and televised stuff, they make the game bigger than it really is. Within the game itself, our calls aren’t going to change, the defense ain’t gonna change, the 49ers are going to play like we’ve been playing all year. For me, the biggest thing is making sure my guys are prepared. Making sure they know how the Chiefs are going to attack us, and that their guys can play fast and with a lot of confidence.
Adam: I was going to ask- It is just another game, at its core- when it comes to stopping probably the most talented offense in the league, what’s the key to defending the Chiefs come Super Bowl Sunday?
Daniel: They are one of the most talented teams across the board. It starts with Patrick Mahomes. He’s mobile, he’s talented, he has a great arm. He makes and extends a lot of plays. It’s going to be tough to try to stop him. Tyreek Hill is one of the fastest in the game, Travis Kelce is one of the best receiving tight ends in the game, and Sammy Watkins is good as well. So we have to limit those explosive plays. That’s first and foremost. And then we have to stop the run to make them one dimensional. They’ve been running the ball well the last four games. So if we limit the explosive plays and stop the run, it’ll be a close game. The biggest thing though, is we have to tackle. They make you defend every part of the field. We have to be great tacklers in space. If we can do that, we have a chance.
If you look at the other phase, on the offensive side, if they can continue to run the ball like they have in the playoffs, keep us off the field and Mahomes on the sideline, that’ll be a big plus as well. Special Teams has to control the field position. Ultimately, we have to keep them off the scoreboard. They’ve been scoring a ton, so if we can keep them under 20 points, or even better, under 14, that would be a huge plus.
Adam: Alright, so what’s your brother Josh up to these days? I haven’t heard from him in a while.
Daniel: Oh, he’s being a father. He has a daughter and they’re doing good. He chips in and helps out with football sometimes, but he’s doing a lot of things. He’s doing well.
Adam: Back in high school, you were the quarterback and he was the running back. Then at Nebraska, you were both safeties. And then, I find out that you were drafted in the same overall position at number 40. So I gotta ask, who’s faster? That’s always a fun one between brothers. And then, what was it like being drafted in the same overall spot?
Daniel: I would say I’m faster, of course. Josh would say he’s quicker. The draft thing was crazy. He got drafted 40th overall, and I got drafted in that same spot the next year. We thought for a while I had a chance to join him but I ended up going to Detroit. It’s just a blessing, God’s plan. Neither of us gets bragging rights over the other on that, I guess, but it was just a blessing.
Adam: I do remember at Nebraska, when we’d do the testing at the beginning and end of winter conditioning, you were just a smidge ahead of him every time, but you were both pretty fast, so that was impressive. Now, do you have any behind the scenes twin stories you feel comfortable sharing with the fine folks at home?
Daniel: Ha, well the thing is, my brother never got his drivers’ license until he got drafted. He always used mine. So, if he got a speeding ticket, you better believe it was up under my name. That was fun times. He has his license and all that, now, though.
Adam: That is funny, I did not know that.
Daniel: I’ll tell you another story, Adam. When you’re at Nebraska and you make a play, you know how they show your picture? We took each other’s pictures and nobody knew. Sometimes at practice, we would switch jerseys and no one knew but me and him.
Adam: Wait, what if one of you messed up and was getting berated, but it was really the other guy. You wouldn’t speak up and say, hey coach, that was really me?
Daniel: No, we didn’t do that. We knew each other’s position pretty well. The way the defense was back then, both Safety positions were pretty much identical anyway so it was easy.
Adam: Alright, any other stories you can remember from your time at Nebraska?
Daniel: Just being around all you guys. I can still name most of my teammates, I still talk to a bunch of you. Hanging out, having cook outs in the summer. Working out, grinding, that’s what I miss most about my time at Nebraska. Also, the people in Nebraska, and the relationships I built there. That’s the biggest thing.
Adam: Shot in the dark, and I know there’s a bit of an age gap, but do you have any memories of me that you’d share with the folks at home? It can be funny, embarrassing, I don’t care.
Daniel: I just remember when you came in, you were a baller. You were the strongest in the class. They didn’t have enough weights for you to lift. You were great coming off the edge, I think we led the league in sacks on year. But you were an awesome player at Nebraska.
Adam: Alright man, I appreciate you joining me and being kind with the stories. Most of all, good luck this weekend!
Daniel: I appreciate it Adam, thanks for having me!
Adam: Alright, Husker Nation, until next time, go Big Red, and always remember…
Daniel: Throw them bones!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.