Gifford lives out his dreams as a Nebraska captain
Luke Gifford graduated from Lincoln Southeast and came to Nebraska with his high school teammate and childhood best friend Jerald Foster. Gifford is playing the season as a graduate student and has earned spots on the Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship Teams each of the past four years for his community outreach work.
Q: How special is it to you that Lincoln is your hometown and you are a captain at Nebraska?
A: It is literally what I have dreamt of. I am living out my dream. To be voted a captain by a team is the highest honor you could possibly think of. It comes with a lot of responsibility, especially with the way the season has started. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Q: What is it going to take to get the season turned around?
A: It is a grind and the little things are just so important. The little things that happen outside of football are very similar during the games when little things happen. Just taking that jump and that leap is going to go a long way. I think we can and we have made a lot of good strides. Going into conference play that is the first thing we need to take care of.
Q: Do you get awed by playing in college football’s historical stadiums?
A: Maybe the first couple of road games when I wasn’t playing. I got the experience and got to see those things so now its different. Now it’s more of a wow this is pretty sweet to play at those stadiums.
Q: You have battled through some injuries, and coaches have come and gone in your time. What is the message that you have to fans that this will get turned around?
A: There are so many expectations at Nebraska. Every place is different, but seeing the turnaround at UCF and how fast that went should make you believe. It is totally a process and it’s not as bad as it may seem. I know what it looks like, but there is a lot of good things going on and it is definitely headed in the right direction.
Q: What advice do you have for the kid from Nebraska, whether it be a walk-on or scholarship kid, about being able to play for the Huskers? What does that mean to you?
A: First of all I would tell them don’t ever take anything in high school for granted. Those are some of the best times you are ever going to have. Playing at Nebraska — if you get the opportunity — there is no better feeling than knowing you get to represent all of the other kids that get that chance. I think about that all of the time when I am out there playing. ... How am I representing all of the kids from the state?
It doesn’t happen that often that guys get that opportunity, and when they do, a lot of them make the most of it. I think just learning that, whether you are a walk-on or a scholarship guy, there is a lot of ups and downs. You can’t be too high or too low. I have been on both ends of the spectrum and it’s important to keep trucking along.
Q: You played with or against Jerald Foster your whole life. What is it like to be seniors and captains together?
A: It is super cool. Not very many people get that opportunity. To be best friends, roommates and to be able to do it together is cool. We haven’t really talked about how our time together this season could be the last one. I think we both are trying to take advantage of every opportunity we have. A lot of that is how we lead this team and how we perform on Saturdays.
Q: Battling against him in practice, and then being his roommate and best friend off the field, is there a friendly competition off the field?
A: Oh yeah. ... There is a lot of talking, but it’s a lot of fun. When I was playing safety in high school I would never see him in practice. Now If I get him I’m going to let him know and vice versa. He got me today and he let me know as soon as we got to the locker room. There was a time in fall camp where we both came up to the line of scrimmage and we were talking all kinds of trash to each other and Coach Frost was standing back there like ‘Boys, we got to play.’ Afterwards it’s all hugs, and that is what makes it so fun playing with him.