Nebraska football: The offensive line bonds over food and coach Mike Cavanaugh’s teriyaki chicken

LINCOLN, Neb. — Offensive linemen can eat. That’s why when offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh and his players get together outside of practice, it’s often for a meal.

Cavanaugh has been hosting team meals at his home since he arrived at Nebraska in 2014. He’s known either to cook for his players or order takeout. When the offensive line orders in, there’s one place they typically call.

That’s Phat Jack’s BBQ.

Phat Jack’s is a favorite of Cavanaugh. He’s personally a big fan of their ribs and burnt ends. His players are too. Offensive tackle Nick Gates found out what the group is capable of consuming at Phat Jack’s after the team ventured there to eat recently instead of getting takeout.

“I think they ran out of ribs by halfway through,” Gates said.

The eating exhibition didn’t surprise the coach.

“They all eat a lot,” Cavanaugh said. “We took them to Phat Jack’s one night and the guys were ordering two plates and those things are huge.”

While Nebraska’s offensive line would never turn down barbecue, there’s one thing that tops it: Cavanaugh’s cooking.

“He makes his teriyaki chicken with rice,” Gates said. “I think it’s furikake. It’s seaweed, sesame and stuff he puts on the rice. I love that. It’s my favorite.”

Yes, the teriyaki chicken and Japanese rice are famous on the offensive line. Gates said the excitement builds when they find out Cavanaugh has it on the menu.

Part of what makes Cavanaugh’s cooking so special is his attention to detail. He doesn’t just marinate the chicken. He marinates it for 24 hours. For the rice, he gets the supplies for homemade Furikake seasoning from friends in Hawaii. The same goes for his lo mein lo mein steak, which he kicks up a notch in the seasoning and presentation.

“If we [barbecue], I’ll make teriyaki chicken for those guys and then I’ll make lo mein lo mein steak,” Cavanaugh said. “I’ll season the steak with rock salt from Hawaii and garlic, then I cook it and slice it up Hawaiian style.”

Cavanaugh has no idea what it costs to feed his group, but he calls it “crazy” when they get together. When you consider a player like Gates is 6-foot-5 and 295-pounds, it can take a lot of food to feed a group of people close to his size. Cavanaugh doesn’t mind.

So who can eat the most in a meal? The group agrees it is one Nebraska offensive lineman, in particular.

“Tanner [Farmer],” Gates said. “He’s scarfs some food down. He’s definitely a big eater.”

Cavanaugh agrees. At 6-4 and 305-pounds, it’s no surprise that Farmer can eat a lot.

For the Husker Pipeline, the meals at Cavanaugh’s have become a tradition. It’s an opportunity to get together and spend quality time away from the practice field.

And while they could get together sans food, it’s probably best they not take the grub away.

“You don’t mess with big guys and food,” Gates said. “We eat a lot.”

Coach Cav’s Chicken Teriyaki


  • Boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • Mr. Yoshida’s teriyaki sauce


Place chicken thighs in a big Tupperware bowl with lid. Cover chicken thighs well with Mr. Yoshida’s teriyaki sauce. Refrigerate. Leave for 24 hours, shaking every so often. Grill chicken and place over rice.

Japanese Rice


  • One cup short grain rice
  • One cup water
  • A sprinkle of Furikake seasoning


Rinse rice in bowl. Repeat until water is no longer murky. Cook rice on stove or in rice cooker. Sprinkle Furikake seasoning on cooked rice and serve.

The post Nebraska football: The offensive line bonds over food and coach Mike Cavanaugh’s teriyaki chicken appeared first on Land of 10.

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