Nebraska head football coach Scott Frost appeared on the Husker Sports Network’s “Sports Nightly” for the final time in the 2017-18 school year on Wednesday night.
The Huskers just finished their final practice of the spring on Monday, and the head coach has been meeting with players individually this week to recap the spring and look at what’s still needed before the season begins.
Just like in the winter, better strength and conditioning remains as a top priority before fall camp begins in August.
“We weren’t happy with where the guys were from a conditioning standpoint or a strength standpoint when we got here,” Frost said. “(Strength coach) Zach (Duval) is the right guy for the job. We had a lot of ground to cover. Really, this past winter was a lot of just weight lifting to get the guys a base they could build from.”
Another thing Frost will be looking for more of is overall energy. He noticed a lack of it on Saturday prior to kickoff.
“The one thing that I want to see more of is energy from our team,” Frost said. “We ran out for the pregame warm up, and the guys went through it, but I didn’t just see the passion and the fire in their eyes to go out and compete that I want to see yet. When we take the field at Memorial Stadium, that’s a special experience for everybody.”
Something that appeared to be a positive was Nebraska’s offensive pace, especially with freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez running tempo. It looked fluent and was fun to watch, but just like with everything else on the team, Frost expects more.
“I’m not happy with (the pace) yet,” he said. “I think the guys took a first step into it, but we didn’t have the tempo popping like I want it to yet. There wasn’t enough urgency to get lined up and get things done. We’re close, but just a little bit more will help us offensively to keep people off balance.”
On defense, Frost said the tackling on Saturday was as good as it had been all spring, but the strive for perfection will be ongoing.
“That’s kind of the coach mentality that we’re never going to be satisfied until it’s perfect and it never gets there.”
Grad transfer quarterback?
Despite solid play from all of the quarterbacks in the spring game, rumors continue to swirl about Nebraska adding a graduate transfer to the position group. Frost said the staff will always look for players they think could help the team be better, but added there are “no immediate plans” to add anyone before fall other than those who signed in December and February.
Some have already come to their own conclusions on who the starting quarterback will be/should be, but there won’t be an official depth chart until some time in fall camp. Frost also said they won’t use the spring game to make evaluations. Even with the tough competition, Nebraska doesn’t plan to split reps under center.
“I played the position and I think you have to be out on the field to get a rhythm and improve,” Frost said. “It’s hard to make those jumps in your performance if you’re not getting the reps. Even if you’re making mistakes, you’re learning from them.”
There have been some “Sirius” talks this week about whether or not the tunnel walk should be set to different music this fall. “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project has been the track of choice since the tunnel walk began in 1994, but Gary Clark Jr.’s version of the Beatles’ “Come Together” was the song chosen for Saturday’s procession onto the field.
More changes could be on the way, but there’s no timetable for that right now.
“There’s talk about changing it occasionally, and seeing if there’s a special theme for the game if we can match it to that,” Frost said. “There’s talk of keeping it the same, and there’s talk of having a fresh new one every time we come out for a game, so I don’t know if a decision has been made on that.”
- Frost is still not sure if sophomore safety Breon Dixon or sophomore quarterback Noah Vedral will be granted a waiver from the NCAA and deemed eligible for 2018. Dixon transferred in from Ole Miss, while Vedral followed Frost from UCF. “You’d be better off asking a next-door neighbor,” Frost said when asked what the NCAA will decide.
- Frost met with junior running back Tre Bryant on Wednesday. Bryant missed the last ten games of 2017 and all of spring as he continues to recover from a knee surgery in October. Frost noted that while Bryant is excited, he “has a ways to go.”
- Frost confirmed Wednesday that defensive coordinator Erik Chinander will coach on the sidelines during games this season, while offensive coordinator Troy Walters will coach from the press box.
- Kicking was an area of struggle in the spring game, but Frost gave praise to true freshman kicker Barrett Pickering for a job well done in spring practice. “He kicked exceptionally well in practice,” Frost said.
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