Body clock adjustments have been made and it’s starting to feel like a normal game week for Nebraska.
Head coach Scott Frost gave a quick update on how the team’s doing after Thursday’s practice in Dublin. Huskers, including some practicing in their Blackshirts, followed Northwestern’s practice with just a day between current and kickoff.
Frost said the players have handled the hurdles of travel and body clocks “really well.” He’s happy with how the team planned its itinerary in Ireland. The team arrived on Tuesday at 10 a.m. and went straight to the stadium. After an event-filled day, the Huskers then woke up on Wednesday with some fatigue but practice improved throughout its duration.
“They’re dialed in and ready to play,” Frost said. “They’re doing a really good job of enjoying things when they need to enjoy it and focusing when they need to focus. Which is a sign of maturity.”
Overall, the head coach said his message to the team was to go and attack.
“Pretty much, the hay is in the barn,” Frost said. “And we’re looking forward to it.”
Echoing statements from Sunday’s press conference in Lincoln, offensive coordinator Mark Whipple will call plays from the sidelines. Frost said he still held some nerves not calling plays simply because it has been a few years since he wasn’t calling the offense. He’ll instead spread his focus on other areas.
Frost said he just wants “to see efficiency” out of the offense. With Whipple entering his first game as Nebraska’s offensive coordinator, that could come with some hiccups but Frost is confident in the staff.
“Really doesn’t matter what kind of offense you’re running, if you run it well it can work,” Frost said. “The key to that is just operating with some efficiency and speed.”
Between spring and fall camps, offensive personnel have practiced the playbook extensively. With execution of the offense has come confidence. Frost again said he wants to see that attacking, not tight, mindset against Northwestern.
Frost said he knows what to expect out of the defense and defensive players know their expectation. The head coach said he’s “anxious” to see the defense on Saturday. The only questions he still had revolved around adversity. How will the defense respond if a few breaks fall the other way and favor the Wildcats?
“We haven’t hit any adversity yet,” Frost said, “but when we do I want to make sure that they keep attacking, up 40, down 40, up 7, down 7, we need to be on the attack.”
Practice, playbook knowledge, scouting, Frost is satisfied where the defense is in all those areas and is anxious to see it during a game.
Attention turned to the return team briefly after Tuesday’s practice. Frost said this year’s team has more speed than previous years with more ability to catch the ball in return.
“We didn’t create many big plays last year on special teams,” Frost said. “Had some big plays against us two or three times that cost us.
“In general I think we got to be more aggressive and in tune to making plays that can change the game on defense and in special teams. I think the guys are ready to do that.”
No decision has been publicly made as to who those return men will be.