Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Zavier Betts speaks to the media after football practice
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Renewed Focus Has Zavier Betts on the Rise For Huskers

August 05, 2021

The questions came almost weekly during the spring from fans. What’s going on with Zavier Betts? Why aren’t coach Scott Frost and offensive coordinator Matt Lubick mentioning him more? It was a quiet spring for the freshman wide receiver going through his first spring ball with Nebraska.

It turns out there was a reason for that. Betts didn’t get the reps he could have gotten during the spring because he didn’t earn them. He admitted that during his time with media on Wednesday following practice.

“I didn’t do as well in the spring as I should have and so that was on me,” Betts said. “I know my stuff. I’m running full speed on routes and I’m trying to catch everything I can. I’m playing a lot harder.

“I’d say my desire to get better has grown a lot more since the spring. It was there in the spring, but it wasn’t as big and as deep as it should have been. Over the summer I found ways to improve that. From then to now, I want to get better now.”

Betts is a player consistently mentioned as having an enormous amount of potential. Deontai Williams said that Betts has a lot of potential. Quarterback Adrian Martinez says the same of Betts. The pass catcher hears that praise which motivates him.

“Hearing it from my teammates and inside the program is the best way to hear it because I like the positive feedback and knowing that I’m doing better,” Betts said.

“It makes me feel good and makes me want to play better and harder for them. Outside the program — I don’t pay attention too much because I know emotion can come in and people are going to put their own biases in.”

Betts is having a strong start to fall camp. That’s because of his attitude shift. It’s also because he’s got a better grasp of the playbook. Being in his second year in the program has helped smooth out the learning curve. Lubick mentioned on Wednesday there is an advantage with guys returning. The team has been installing plays at a quicker pace. That’s allowing players to play faster and not think as much.

One other thing has also helped Betts. Hearing from someone outside the program who is a very familiar voice.

“I have a lot of conversations with my dad,” Betts said. “My dad’s kind of the one who points out some of the smaller details in my routes or my releases that some of the coaches may not pick up on. So, having conversations with him kind of gives me an outsider’s look, so that I can see what I can fix and get better on.”

The wide receiver room is a crowded group. There are a lot of talented players competing for playing time. Lubick believes the group could go three-deep at each wideout spot. Betts is among the players with the highest ceilings on the team. He’s continuing to work his way towards living up to that high praise from his teammates.

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