In a lot of ways, 2020 has not gone as expected for Nebraska. It’s been one step forward to take two back for the bulk of the year on the field.
The lead up to the season was similar. There was a whole back and forth over whether the Big Ten would even play. Understandably, that situation wore on the team.
On the flip side of all that turmoil, the Huskers have become more accustomed to rolling with the punches. The team has also kept a fighting spirit despite the 0-2 start to the season. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has been impressed by the team’s ability to bounce back.
“You know, they are really looking forward being at home,” Chinander said on Tuesday. “But I’m really amazed at this group. We came in and that was a heartbreaking loss for them. There was not a good feeling in the locker room afterwards. Everyone in there felt like we should have won that football game. But we came in here on Sunday and Monday morning and these kids just want to play football.”
Chinander went on to say that the players have turned a corner in taking hard coaching. A pat on the back is no longer needed every day. Instead, the team is eager to learn so they can get better. They are hungry for success.
The team also has appreciated every moment they get to play.
“To have that opportunity in this crazy, weird year is what they really wanted,” Chinander said. “They will love the chance to play at home in front of the people they love the most but just to play football is what they want and it’s a pretty awesome deal.”
Throughout this early part of the week, Nebraska’s players have had a sense of urgency to them. It matches what Chinander described seeing from the group. Coach Scott Frost mentioned it too when asked on Monday about the team’s confidence.
“I think they realize that’s the situation they’re in,” Frost said. “There’s no doubt in my mind how much progress we’ve made. We just need to turn it into wins. That game Saturday was as frustrating a one as I’ve had here because we had opportunities to be in control of that game.”
Like his team, Frost feels they could have won the game against Northwestern. He didn’t think it was like some other games where the team was overmatched. It seems like a cliché now but the Husker coach believes his team is close.
“The guys are impatient, just like I’m impatient to get this changed,” Frost said. I keep saying it, but once it turns it’s going to turn in a big way and we need to have that happen soon.”
The Huskers have had their spirt tested more than once during the Frost Era. They’ll have another chance to break through this Saturday when James Franklin brings his Penn State team to town.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.