Nebraska Cornhusker head coach Scott Frost speaks to the press after practice
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

A Deeper Dive on Key Comments from Nebraska at Big Ten Media Days

July 25, 2021

Big Ten Media Days have come and gone and Nebraska’s fall camp is now only days away. Before we switch gears to the season ahead, plenty has yet to be discussed about the Huskers’ time in Indianapolis. Athletic director Trev Alberts, coach Scott Frost and players Ben Stille, Austin Allen and Deontai Williams were Nebraska’s representatives on Thursday, tackling plenty of topics along the way.

As we dive further into what was said and what it means, let’s take a deeper dive into a few specific comments.

The quote: “We’re picked where we deserve to be. When we’ve earned it, we should be picked higher than that,” Frost said. “That being said, if predictions were right, we wouldn’t even have to play the games. My second year I think we were picked first for no good reason. I like where we’re at and if that puts a chip on our kids’ shoulders, then that’s a good thing.”

Why it matters: Derek Peterson wrote about this very quote and some information surrounding it on Thursday. Go read it.

I wanted to touch on it a little further here though, because this quote was really indicative of Nebraska’s time in Indianapolis. It was a far cry from Frost’s “people better get us now” comment at media days in 2018. That quote became whiteboard material for Big Ten foes who couldn’t believe the gall of Frost to step in and say that so early in tenure.

To be fair, Frost is a head coach. There’s a healthy amount of ego needed for his role. The difference was that it came across as a challenge for a conference that Nebraska was having trouble finding footing in. It’s a quote that surfaces frequently too, often as a punchline.

Three years later, however, Frost didn’t come to Big Ten Media Days to challenge anyone. He came with a little more levity about the situation surrounding him and his team. His message matched that of his new athletic director, as well as the message of the players in attendance. Everyone was on the same page, from top to bottom.

The Huskers walked away from Indianapolis with little being said outside of the Nebraska media contingency. That’s good. That’s exactly what Nebraska needed to do in Indianapolis. Frost, Alberts and the players needed to show a united front and a slightly humbled one. They accomplished that.

We’ll see what that means come fall, but for now? Nebraska seems to understand where it’s at in the Big Ten and that its performance come Aug. 28 will far outweigh anything that could be said in late July.

The quote: “I’m really passionate about making sure that the coaches just have nothing to worry about, can control what they control, can focus on the fundamentals and what it is they do,” Alberts said. “Scott Frost is the head football coach here because he knows football, and he knows how to recruit. So I’m going to work hard to make sure that he’s comfortable in knowing that the apparatus around the football program is operating appropriately and that he doesn’t have to worry about any of those types of things.”

Why it matters: What exactly was Frost doing?

“I’ve spent a lot of my time, more than I’d want in three years, dealing with things that didn’t have anything to do with football,” he said.

Again, what exactly was Frost doing? We may never know the extent of what was and wasn’t going on behind closed doors of the athletic department when Bill Moos was leading things, but it seems like there was some misunderstandings about who handled what. That would actually make the whole Oklahoma debacle make a little more sense, I suppose. Regardless of who knew what and when, is that something Frost should have been involved in beyond a conversation on his thoughts? Should it have ever spiraled into the mess it was, where people were saying various parties within the athletic department did and did not know the game was ever in jeopardy?

Without Frost or Alberts giving specifics though, we shouldn’t assume too much about what was and wasn’t happening. All that does is create unsubstantiated rumors. What we do know is that Frost and Alberts seemed to be on the same page that Frost was handling things beyond his job description, and this wasn’t an “other duties as assigned” situation.

Alberts needs Frost focused on football. Football needs Frost focused on football. If Alberts can step in and lessen the burden of all those “other duties as assigned,” then good.

One last thing on this, though. Frost doesn’t get a pass on how his first three seasons went because he was taking on more than he should have. The results are still the results. The hope—and point of this—is that a more focused Frost will lend itself to a more focused football team but only time will tell.

The quote: “I guess I have heard him talk a lot over the years,” Alberts said about Tom Osborne. “But I don’t want to be that guy who keeps going backward. We’re looking forward, right?”

Why it matters: It needs to be said that Alberts is allowed to talk about what he’s learned from Osborne. Discussing the lessons you learned from a former coach or mentor does not mean you’re stuck in the past. Everything Alberts has said since he was announced as Nebraska’s athletic director is that he isn’t looking back. “Nobody cares” what Nebraska did in the past, he said.

So don’t let him quoting Osborne become an unnecessary criticism that he’s looking back. Alberts likes to quote a lot of people he’s learned from, and he’ll tell you he’s gotten where he has by listening.

The quote: “I’m ready to get the season started,” Frost said. “We have been dealing with a lot of offseason things, I think our players are excited, it extends the year by a week, which is a challenge, but it also gives us two bye weeks in the middle of the season. It’s a conference game on the road, which is always tough in this league. We’re playing against a team with a new coach in Coach Bielema, so we’re going to be doing a little bit of guess work on some of his schemes and things we’ll see, but we’re going to do our best to get the players ready and this group of guys right now is a group that I’m more excited about than any group that I’ve worked with since I’ve been at Nebraska so we’re going to band together and do everything we can to get ready for that game.”

Why it matters: This is more of a housekeeping note. Nebraska reports for fall camp on Thursday, June 29—the same day as Fan Day for those keeping track—and will have just about a month to prepare for the Week 0 matchup with Illinois. It’s also a road game for the Huskers, so there’s a lot that has to happen before Aug. 28 rolls around.

Here’s what that will look like for Illinois:

“We have nine padded practices, the way I structured our first four weeks before we play Nebraska. It was actually difficult to even get that ninth padded practice in the way I wanted to do it,” Illinois coach Bret Bielema said. “So I think it’s more than enough if you’re doing things the correct way.”

The rules for fall camp are a little different this year. In an attempt to limit too much contact in preseason camps, an oversight subgroup committee and the NCAA released new rules in the spring to hopefully combat unnecessary injuries (but primarily head trauma).

Teams will have the same number of preseason practices (25) over the same amount of days (29), but the type of practices coaches can hold has changed. The maximum number of contact practices has dropped from 21 to 18, and the number of full padded practices allowed is nine. Teams can also hold no more than two consecutive days of full-contact practices and no longer than 75 minutes per practice session. Teams are also limited to two scrimmages total over the 29 days and some drills (like the Oklahoma Drill) are no longer allowed.

The new rules, as Bielema noted, will change how things are done. While Frost didn’t say much on the camp piece itself, his quote did lend itself to the challenge Nebraska now faces with the rule changes and the Week 0 matchup. Timelines have to change—they are certainly expedited—but the Huskers do get two bye weeks now in season. Frost seems to be a fan of that.

As for how Nebraska runs fall camp, we should see a schedule soon enough.

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