It’s going to “be a process” Scott Frost said on Wednesday of Nebraska’s transition to an up-tempo offense. That will be true across the board, but it might be the biggest adjustment for the group with some of the most experience on the 2018 roster – offensive line.
“I like the talent we have up front,” Frost said of that group. “I really do. I like the body types and the size. We’ve got to change their bodies. The Nebraska I knew and the strength and conditioning and what was expected of them, and what kids look like physically. That’s not really what we’re walking back into but that’s what Zach Duval is here for. I think we got guys on the team that can be great offensive linemen but we got to go to work in the weight room, we’ve got to cut our body fat, eat right, we’ve got to get stronger, we’ve got to get in better shape.”
It certainly gives you a sense that Nebraska’s current staff probably would’ve recruited many of offensive linemen it inherited. It’s what happened with those prospects once they got to campus that would’ve been different. Given Husker fans’ love of line play and quotes like the above, the offensive line might be a good barometer for how the “Big Red Revival” is going as a whole.
Nebraska has 16 scholarship linemen on the roster right now, and a pretty good distribution of those scholarships by class: three seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, three redshirt freshmen and two freshmen. There are guys who have played a lot of football in that group, guys who have yet to make an impact and a slew of young players who will have a real chance now with a clean slate. It’s going to be fascinating to watch what happens up there.
I’m not a big body-type guy. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important, it’s just not one of the things I notice all the time. And that’s fine. You’ll have plenty of people telling you how much Nebraska “has changed” this spring. On the offensive line, however, it might be easier to notice these things given the clarity of the marching orders Frost provided this week – cut fat, get stronger, get in better shape.
Oh, and don’t forget about speed and athleticism. It’s the top trait this staff is looking for everywhere else, and offensive analyst Frank Verducci said in Nebraska City last night that applies to the big guys up front, too. That’s just one of a handful of notes on the offensive line – including some talk about right and left tackle – and the Huskers as a whole in last night’s thread on The Varsity Club, so be sure to check that out. Some good stuff in there.
More Winning, Losing and Surprising
New head coaches can boom or bust on the recruiting trail, but Scott Frost was able to capitalize on the momentum from leading UCF to an undefeated season to put together a solid, all-around initial class as the man in charge of the Cornhuskers. Frost and his staff pulled players from all across the country – Alabama, South Dakota, Mississippi, Kansas, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, California, and even Connecticut. This is not an easy task to begin with, but especially when you consider that he’s only been on the job a little more than two months. Nebraska ended with six four-star recruits and 18 three-star, placing the Huskers fourth in the Big Ten behind only Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.
I’m going to take a closer look at those Big Ten classes soon, and maybe take a selection-committee approach to re-ranking them.
The Grab Bag
- Nebraska native and former Husker assistant Bill Busch left Rutgers to become the safeties coach at LSU.
- Here are projected S&P+ rankings for 2018. The Huskers came in 60th.
- Which teams “won” each state in recruiting? Interesting map.
- ICYMI: Greg Smith looks at five instant-impact players and five sleepers in Nebraska’s 2018 class. Jacob Padilla also took a look back at Nebraska’s win over Minnesota.
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.