Morning practices are a new concept at Nebraska this spring. The Huskers haven’t enforced morning workouts in more than 30 years.
Due to scheduling conflicts, practice is held from 6-8 a.m., which is actually earlier than what head coach Scott Frost prefers.
The players? They arrived at 4:30 a.m. ready to get after it on opening day.
“Good day one,” Frost said. “Really impressed with the effort and enthusiasm out here. The guys took to the style of practice we’re going to have really well. A lot of details that still need to get fixed, but that was good effort and intensity.
“Shoot. We practiced early. We’re forced to because of schedule, and most of the team was here by 4-4:30, ready to go. That shows me a lot of intensity and that a lot of guys care about what we’re trying to get done.”
It was so impressive to Frost, that he believed it was a smoother day one of spring in Lincoln than it was during his first season in Orlando.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that I love that team down there,” Frost said. “I’d go to battle with those guys anytime. That being said, this was quite a bit better first day than we had on our first day down there. I think the guys were a little more mentally prepared for it. As coaches, we were all a little better, because we had been through this process before. I was really impressed with the execution and the understanding of what we’re trying to get done on day one.”
In order to comply with NCAA rules, Nebraska had to count this week as a ‘practice week’ even if there was only one session. But since they were allotted the whole week, Frost said they were able to use the rest of the time in meetings with the team.
“Which really got us ahead with schemes on both sides of the ball,” Frost said of the meetings. “I also thought it was good to get these guys a taste of what practice is like before they go on spring break. Hopefully, that’ll discourage a little extracurricular over spring break if they know they have to come back and work like this.”
Frost has said time and again that he doesn’t believe in splitting practice in between the week of spring break, so he can get the best productivity out of his team.
He also mentioned Wednesday that he’s “seen a few spring breaks on MTV” and knows the players will be faced with a number of decisions that college students are faced with during spring break.
“Be smart,” Frost told the team. “We talked about taking care of the brother to your left and the brother to your right, making good decisions. We don’t have a lot of rules around here. It’s just do the right thing. These guys will be faced with a lot of decisions over the next week. I want to have them make good decisions so we make the whole team back. I also want them to make the type of decisions that’ll have them ready for practice when they return.
“It should be a rest week, but we want it to be active rest where they’re still moving and making decisions where they’re not going to give their gains back.”
This was the first look Frost got at his quarterbacks on the field since arriving. He didn’t point out anyone by name, but he was glad to see them throw footballs at least once before break.
“Quarterback is the toughest job,” Frost said. “It takes the longest to get comfortable, the longest to learn. They have to know what all 11 guys on offense are doing. Not just their job. I was really impressed with how well they took to it today. They’ve had a lot of training in the classroom already with (quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco), and I thought all the guys functioned well today.”
So. Noah Vedral has been particulary valuable. The Wahoo native transferred in January, and has to sit out this season, but he’s had live reps in Frost’s offense in several games for UCF last season.
“Noah’s ahead, because he’s had a whole year in it,” Frost said. “You can kind of see that polish and that refinement and just the ease with which he sees things and makes decisions. He’s been a big piece of our installation, because he’s able to be out here with the guys when we’re not, and if there’s any questions, he knows the answer to him.”
This and That
- Frost mentioned he had fun watching Sr. WR Stanley Morgan “run around and catch balls.” He said a receiver like Morgan is what they’re looking for to run their fast, high-powered offense.
- ‘Friday Night Lights’ was formally announced Thursday. It’l take place at Memorial Stadium on June 15. In the past, this recruiting showcase was open to the fans. Frost expressed interest in opening it up again, depending on the status of the stadium lights themselves.
“They’re working on the lights this summer, and we’ve got to make sure that we have them the lights so we can call it ‘Friday Night Lights.'”
- Jerald Foster, Mick Stoltenberg, Ben Stille and Stanley Morgan were all pointed out as guys who have taken on an early leadership role with the team. “Those have to be the guys holding everyone else accountable,” Frost said.
- Frost had a couple cups of coffee on Friday morning to wake himself up. “I ‘foofie’ mine up a little bit,” Frost chuckled. “(Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander) just sticks with black coffee. I have to sweeten it up.”
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.