Two more suspects are under arrest in the July home robbery of Nebraska football coach Scott Frost. A 20-year-old man and 16-year-old boy were taken into custody yesterday. A 17-year-old Lincoln girl was arrested last week in connection with the burglary.
One week down. The Huskers have completed seven practices in fall camp, and for the most part, things are going as planned for Scott Frost.
“I see so much improvement from spring until now,” Nebraska’s head football coach said. “It’s amazing how far the guys have come. We still have a lot to improve on and a lot to get better at, but overall, I think camp has been really, really good and the players are giving us a lot of effort.”
There won’t be word on who the starting quarterback will be for about two weeks yet, and Frost will be looking for improvement out of that entire unit until then.
“(The quarterbacks) didn’t quite pick up where left off from spring,” Frost said. “I think the last few days, I’ve seen a big improvement, but everything just has to operate faster for them, and that’ll come when they’re familiar enough with the offense that it clicks in their mind faster.”
When asked about true freshman Adrian Martinez in particular, Frost said much the same.
“Adrian is great at times, and other times he looks like it’s moving a little too fast for him,” Frost said. “He’s got to pick up his pace both physically and mentally. At times, it’s tremendous. At other times, when he’s not quite sure, he’s a little tentative.”
Elsewhere on offense, the running back battle made a lot of news this week, particularly with sophomore Tre Bryant and true freshman Maurice Washington putting themselves squarely in the mix for playing time. Senior Devine Ozigbo is also progressing positively.
“Tre has done a great job,” Frost said. “Obviously (junior) Greg Bell had a good spring, and is doing a good job. Maurice has come in and shown some things. I think Devine is looking quicker and faster than I’ve ever seen him.”
- Frost hadn’t gotten to see senior linebacker Luke Gifford in action until this past week. By all accounts, Gifford made a strong first impression.
“I’d say he’s exceeded my expectations. He was still getting his sea legs under him a little bit at the beginning of camp, but he’s athletic, he’s big, he has pass rush skill, he plays hard. He’s what you’re looking for.”
- Frost stressed the importance of keeping his players active during the warm-up and stretch period of practice, saying that some players are even tired after warm-ups.
“Scientifically, the best way to get your body ready is active preparation,” he said. “It’s kind of a right of passage, too. To be able to not only go through stretch, but to really dominate stretch. It’s a mentality for us.”
- Frost named Gifford, senior receiver Stanley Morgan, junior linebackers Mohamed Barry and Will Honas, senior linebacker Dedrick Young as players who are embodying the type of toughness and physicality the coaching staff wants to see.
- There’s still no update on freshman receiver Dominick Watt’s arrival. Frost remains optimistic, but can’t estimate exactly when he’ll arrive.
- Frost also updated the situation regarding sophomore linebacker Quayshon Alexander and senior linebacker Sedrick King. Alexander is out for the season with an undisclosed injury, while King is currently dealing with personal issues in his home state of Florida. Frost expects King to return to Lincoln soon, and make a decision on whether or not he wants to be a member of the team in 2018.
You can contact Tommy at 402-875-3539 or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.
The Nebraska volleyball team is ranked No. 2 in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll released on Wednesday.
The Huskers received 20 of the 63 first-place votes. Stanford, which received 43 first-place votes, took the No. 1 ranking.
Texas, Minnesota and Kentucky round out the top five. Other Big Ten teams in the top 10 include No. 6 Penn State and No. 9 Wisconsin.
Further down the poll, Illinois is ranked No. 12, Creighton No. 13, Michigan State No. 22 and Purdue No. 23.
The defending NCAA and Big Ten champion Huskers return three starters from last year’s team, while eight of the 15 Huskers are newcomers. Nebraska will be replacing significant contributors in first-team All-America setter Kelly Hunter, second-team All-America outside hitter Annika Albrecht, honorable-mention recipient Briana Holman at middle blocker and defensive specialist Sydney Townsend.
Senior captains Mikaela Foecke, who was the NCAA Championship co-most outstanding player and an AVCA second-team All-American, and libero Kenzie Maloney, who was an NCAA Championship All-Tournament selection, will lead the Huskers into the 2018 season.
All-Big Ten Freshman Team selections Lauren Stivrins and Jazz Sweet are also key returnees in the Husker lineup.
Among the Huskers’ eight newcomers, five are true freshmen. Senior Brooke Smith, who won a national championship with the Huskers in 2015 and a Big Ten title in 2016, returned to the program for her final season after playing her junior year at Kansas State.
Sophomore Lexi Sun transferred from Texas after earning first-team All-Big 12 honors at Texas last season. Junior setter Mari Kurkova recently joined the program from Opava, Czech Republic.
The Huskers begin the season with the Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The regular season begins on Aug. 24 at the Devaney Center when Nebraska takes on No. 7 Florida in the VERT Challenge.
Offensive coordinator Troy Walters spoke for about nine minutes after Wednesday’s practice at the Hawks Championship Center.
He used the phrase “day-by-day” multiple times in that span, as the team has adopted that motto during their practices leading up to the first game.
“If we get better each day, then the sky’s the limit,” Walters said. “I think this could be one of the top offenses in the Big Ten if we take care of business each day.
Wednesday’s workout, the fifth of fall camp, was the first one where the team practiced in full pads. No big surprises, but Walters was pleased with what he saw.
“Good energy,” Walters said. “Guys stepped on that field and they were ready to go. Anytime you put (the team in) full pads, there’s that extra juice. Guys got after it, so it was good to see that when we throw the pads on, we don’t take a step back.”
One player that’s been a pleasure to watch for Walters is running back Tre Bryant. Bryant confirmed Wednesday that he has been granted a medical redshirt, and will be technically be a sophomore this season with three years of eligibility left.
“It’s actually kind of a blessing,” Bryant said. “You get that experience, and you also that year back, so it’s like I played two games for free almost.”
Bryant played for only six quarters last season, but racked up 299 yards and two touchdowns in that time before being sidelined with a right knee injury. He had knee surgery in mid-October, shortly after the Huskers’ loss to Ohio State.
Another running back who has seemingly caught everyone’s attention this fall is true freshman Maurice Washington. The four-star from Cedar Hill, Texas just arrived on campus last week in time for the first practice, and has wasted no time in making a splash.
“He’s just fast man,” true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez said. “He can do it all. He’s a damn good player. Husker Nation is really going to love him.”
Much like Washington, Martinez is a true freshman battling for a starting spot on offense. Redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia is the other top contender at quarterback, while sophomores Andrew Bunch and Noah Vedral are also in the mix. Coach Frost said at Big Ten Media Days that he’ll announce the starter under center a week before the first game.
Until such time, the competition remains wide open.
“They were all starting from ground zero,” quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said, “no matter how old they were. They’re progressing real well in terms of their knowledge. (The tempo) has gotten a lot better from the spring just in terms of when we want to play fast. We’ve gotten a lot better with that.”
Other news from practice
- Nebraska released its 110-man practice roster on Wednesday morning. Two scholarship players, senior outside linebacker Sedrick King and sophomore OLB Quayshon Alexander, were not listed on the roster. Head coach Scott Frost is expected to address this on Friday.
The 110-man roster. pic.twitter.com/A72eJKNCn2
— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) August 8, 2018
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.
Nebraska has completed less than a fifth of its fall practice regiment, but after only four practices, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander is seeing a transformation.
“We look like a completely different unit on both sides, I think, than the spring,” Chinander said Monday. “It’s knowledge of the system, it’s knowing how coach (Scott) Frost wants them to practice, and it’s probably more competition out there than it was in the spring. It’s a good thing right now.”
The unit that’s perhaps taken the biggest step forward, at least in Chinander’s eyes, is the secondary. When spring practice started in March, the Huskers had only eight healthy defensive backs on scholarship, according to defensive backs coach Travis Fisher.
They now have 16.
“That’s the most improved unit on the team,” Chinander said of the secondary. “By no stretch of the imagination are we ready to roll yet. We’re not ready to go out there and play a game yet, but that unit as a whole, the guys that were there, the young guys, that has taken a huge, huge step in fall camp, and I think we’re all pleasantly surprised with them.”
Senior safety Aaron Williams is back at nearly full strength after dealing with a nagging shoulder injury for the latter half of 2017 and into the spring.
The addition of graduate transfer Tre Neal from UCF has been especially helpful for some of the younger corners and safeties.
“Having (Neal) in the room has allowed the teaching at the position, both at safety and corner, to raise to a higher level,” Chinander said. “He also knows what we expect from practice, so he can guide (the younger players) in the drills and in the different segments.”
Neal started 18 games over three seasons at UCF, totaling 144 tackles during that time. During the Knights’ 13-0 season last year, Neal started every game and racked up 68 tackles and three interceptions. His third pick sealed a 62-55 double overtime win over Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship game on Dec. 2, 2017.
The Huskers have Tuesday off, but practice every day Wednesday-Sunday. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters, offensive assistants and a handful of offensive players will address the media on Wednesday.
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.
The excitement around Nebraska Football has not slowed for a second.
“It’s only gone up honestly,” senior linebacker Luke Gifford said. “When we got back this summer, it was go time and I think a lot of people were just so happy with the way that spring ball went and how much differently everything had gone, it just gave everybody energy.”
It certainly has given the senior class energy – a class recruited by Bo Pelini that will end their career with Scott Frost.
There’s been quite a change in the culture of the program over the last four years. In the last eight months, the winning culture that Nebraska seemed to have lost sight of has returned, and the team can sense it.
“Everybody’s wanting to win, and that’s something that’s been different from the years I’ve been playing,” senior defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun said. “It’s not just one position group. It’s not just the offense. It’s collectively the coaches, the players, everyone around Husker nation. We all want us to win and we all have that same mindset.”
High expectations for a first-year coach can be dangerous. In many cases, a coaching change is made after poor results. The Huskers just had their worst season since 1961. When Frost was brought on board in December, hope for the long-term future was restored.
In the short-term though, things could be difficult. While the Huskers return 15 starters, they boast the second toughest schedule in the country according to 247 Sports. Four of their 2018 opponents, Ohio State (No. 3), Wisconsin (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 12) and Michigan (No. 14) made the USA Today preseason coaches poll on Thursday.
What’s more, the only one of those four teams Nebraska gets at home is MSU. A gauntlet schedule, a coaching transition and a team that just went 4-8. Those are typically the earmarks of a “rebuilding year.”
Frost played at Nebraska. He knows as well as anyone that expectations in Lincoln are constantly high. He’s not asking fans to expect the world in his first year, but he wants to give them more than just a transition season.
“If we have anybody going into the season thinking this is going to be a rebuilding year, we’re not going to accomplish as much if we attack it,” Frost said. “It’s a natural progression when you have a team that’s coming off of a tough season that you have to first get them thinking they can win, and then get them knowing they can win and then getting them to expect to win.”
Senior right guard Tanner Farmer might already be expecting to win. The 6-foot-4, 325-pound lineman had a great summer, putting on 20 pounds of muscle and back-squatting 765 pounds three times.
“This is the best I’ve ever felt in my life,” Farmer said. “I feel like I can go out there and match up with anybody and do well. I feel like the rest of our offensive line can, too. I don’t feel like there’s going to be any defensive line that’s going to just steam roll us, that we’re not going to be able to match up with.”
Not surprisingly, the new standards and personal bests in the weight room have players’ confidence at a new high. Farmer expressed that new-found confidence on the eve of fall camp.
“I don’t want to just win the Big Ten championship. I want to win the championship. That’s my goal. You said, ‘is it a realistic goal?’ A lot of people say winning the national championship isn’t a realistic goal. I’m not about realistic. I want it all. Go big or go home.”
That excitement and confidence has naturally trickled down to the fan base. Akinmoladun has seen (and heard it) for himself.
“When Coach Frost came in, everybody was like, ‘Wow. Good things are going to happen.’ Even when I walk around, I’ve heard more ‘Go Big Reds’ than I’ve heard the last few years.”
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.
Nebraska head football coach Scott Frost’s soon-to-be home near 27th and Pine Lake in Lincoln was burglarized over the weekend, according to police.
Lincoln Police Captain Jeri Roeder says entry was gained through an unlocked door sometime between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon.
Since the house was being renovated, no one was living in the home when thieves stole items stored in the garage.
The reported stolen items initially included 14 championship rings from Nebraska, the University of Central Florida and Oregon, but those rings were found and were actually never stolen.
A gaming console was also reported stolen, but that too has been located.
An updated list of the stolen items include five pairs of Oregon Duck Air Jordan shoes, four Oregon football helmets and four autographed photos.
Police are asking for the public’s help in locating the suspects and the stolen items. Capt. Roeder thinks thieves may try to sell the items online.
The five pairs of Oregon Air Jordans were briefly seen for sale on Craigslist in Lincoln. The ad featured pictures of the shoes being sold for $200 for all five pairs. The ad was later removed.
Frost said in a written statement Monday afternoon that the incident is “obviously very disappointing and discouraging.”
Frost said all of their belongings were gone through and it will take some time to determine exactly what is missing.
Police are asking the public for help in their investigation.
Anyone with information is requested to call 402-441-6000 or Crimestoppers at 402-475-3600.
— Tommy Rezac (@Tommy_KLIN) July 30, 2018
Jane Monnich of KLIN contributed to this story.
One of the most recognizable voices in Nebraska will be honored this fall. Kent Pavelka will have his Face on the Barroom Floor at the Omaha Press Club.
Pavelka will become the 158th face added to the floor when he is added during a dinner and roast on September 13 at the Omaha Press Club.
The tradition began in 1971, and Pavelka will have several roasters on hand, including Larry the Cable Guy, Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles and longtime broadcast partners Matt Davison and Gary Sadlemyer.
The event is open to the public. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. with the roast starting around 8 p.m. Cost for the event will be $50 for members and $60 for non-members and reservations can be made by visiting the Omaha Press Club website.
“Kent is a great choice,” said Woody Bradford, president of the Omaha Press Club. “He’s a household name for any Nebraska sports fan. The roast should be terrific – people pay big money to see Larry the Cable Guy perform – and the other three roasters are fantastic in their own right. I have no doubt it will be a night to remember at the Press Club. I can’t wait.”
Pavelka is entering his 32nd season of broadcasting Husker basketball games in 2018-19, and has broadcast nearly 1,250 Husker sporting events during his career.
A six-time the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year Award winner, Pavelka has been calling Husker basketball games since the 1974-75 season, and returned to his broadcast position in 2006-07. A Special Merit Award recipient of the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame, Pavelka will broadcast his 1,000th Husker basketball game during the upcoming season.
In addition, he was the voice of Husker football for 22 seasons between 1974-1995 and also called games for for Midland College, Fremont High School, Fremont Bergan High School and Omaha high schools during his illustrious career.
In addition to his sports announcing, Pavelka has been a fixture on Omaha radio, serving as a morning show host/operations manager for KFAB from 1974 to 2001 and as morning show host for KKAR-AM (1290) from 2001 -2005.
Since 2006, he has run his own company, Kent Pavelka & Associates, providing his on-camera and voice talents and marketing skills to a number of clients.
For the past 12 years, Pavelka also has hosted the TV show, “Metro & More,” for Metropolitan Community College. His TV work also includes hosting “The Tom Osborne Show.”
Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook announced the addition of three student-athletes to the Husker volleyball roster Friday.
Former Husker setter Brooke Smith will return to the program for her senior season, while junior setter Mari Kurkova and freshman defensive specialist/libero Chen Abramovich will also join the defending NCAA and Big Ten champion Huskers.
Smith was a back-up setter as a freshman for the Huskers in 2015 during NU’s national title run, and was a serving specialist in 2016, producing nine aces in 18 matches played in her two seasons at Nebraska.
The 5-foot-10 Weatherford, Texas native transferred to Kansas State for the 2017 season, where she split time at setter and averaged 4.71 assists per set and 1.71 digs per set.
Smith was second on the team with 27 total aces and led the team in aces per set with 0.27.
“Brooke found out she missed Nebraska and the relationships she built in her first two years here,” Cook said. “She is a great addition to our team because she is such a hard worker, great teammate and a player everyone really respects. We are very excited to have Brooke back for her final season.”
Kurkova is a native of Opava, Czech Republic and played club volleyball for PVK Olymp Praha while attending P?ípoto?ní High School.
A 5-11 setter, Kurkova has been a part of the Czech Republic women’s national team and played in the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix. Kurkova played with the Czech Republic women’s national team in the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix and was part of the U20 team that competed in the 2015 World Championship. Kurkova, who has completed a bachelor’s degree, will be a graduate transfer with two seasons of eligibility.
“After Hunter Atherton’s transfer we began looking for another setter, and we found out about Mari and started the process,” Cook said. “She is unique in that she is a grad student, so she will be working on a master’s degree for the next two years. We felt that she would be a good fit at Nebraska because she has experience, she knows what she wants, and there is also a great Czech population in the state of Nebraska.”
Abramovich is a 5-foot-6 freshman defensive specialist/libero from Kfar Saba, Israel. She played club volleyball for Hapoel Kfar Saba last season and led her team to the ISR National Championship.
Hapoel Kfar Saba reached the second round of the CEV Champions League and finished 16th in the CEV Volleyball Cup. Abramovich competed with the Israel Junior National Team at the 2016 European Championship.
“Chen approached us about playing volleyball at Nebraska once she completed her army commitment,” Cook said. “Chen comes from a strong volleyball family, and her mom is a national hero for starting the Mother’s Volleyball League in Israel, and now it has spread all over the world. Chen played in a league that played with international rules where the libero is not allowed to serve, but she has seen a lot of tough serves and will be a great addition to our back row.”
The Huskers begin the 2018 season with the Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, August 18 at 3 p.m. at the Devaney Center.
Long-time NFL standouts Mike Rucker, Kyle Larson and Danny Woodhead headline a list of six players, including four Huskers, who will be inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
This year’s Nebraska Football Hall of Fame class will celebrate with an induction dinner on the UNL campus on Friday, September 14.
The class will be introduced prior to Nebraska’s football game with Troy at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 15.
Rucker, a major contributor on Nebraska’s 1995 and 1997 national championship teams, went on to be an All-Pro selection in his nine-year career as a starter at defensive end with the Carolina Panthers.
Rucker recorded 17 sacks and 40 tackles for loss during his career as a Blackshirt, before notching 55.5 sacks among his 421 career tackles in the NFL.
Larson, one of the top punters in Nebraska football history, claimed first-team All-America honors for the Big Red as a senior in 2003. A three-time All-Big 12 selection, Larson was one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award in 2003.
Larson, whose 195 punts are a Nebraska record, went on to a five-year career as an NFL starter with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Joining Rucker and Larson in the group of four Husker Hall-of-Famers are offensive linemen Dan Schmidt and Bob Sledge.
Schmidt was an honorable-mention All-American and an All-Big Eight pick at left guard for the Huskers as a senior in 1975.
Sledge was a first-team All-Big Eight selection as an offensive tackle for the Huskers in 1988, helping Nebraska to an NCAA rushing title and a conference title.
Chadron State greats Danny Woodhead and Casey Beran are also in the 2018 induction class.
Woodhead was a two-time winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy (2006, 2007) as the nation’s top player in NCAA Division II and a two-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American during his career at Chadron State.
He went on to a nine-year NFL career as a running back with the Jets, Patriots, Chargers and Ravens. He received an automatic selection into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2008, but will be formally inducted this fall.
Beran was the first Chadron State Eagle in history to earn both All-America and CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the same season.
The Hall will also recognize Bill and Ruth Scott of Omaha with its Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award, while Jim and Mary Abel of Lincoln will be honored with the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Awards.
The Nebraska Football Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Nebraska Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
Prior to 2015, players must have been either an All-American or first-team all-conference selection to make the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame ballot.
Beginning in 2015, Huskers who earned second-team all-conference honors dating back to the expansion of the Big Eight to the Big 12 (1996) and now the 14-team Big Ten, will be eligible.
Players are not eligible for the ballot until after a 10-year waiting period from the end of their collegiate careers. Major national award winners earn automatic induction. Active NFL players are not on the ballot.