Nebraska Football Players Lined Up on Inside Field
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Frost Sets Spring Game Date, Talks Special Teams and Nebraska’s Decision to Not Play in a Bowl

January 20, 2021

Mark your calendars. You’ll need to flip an extra page this year. The Huskers plan to hold their annual Red-White Spring Game on May 1. 

In an appearance on the Husker Sports Nightly radio show Wednesday night, head coach Scott Frost laid out the hopeful timeline the Huskers will use this winter and spring as the team prepares for the 2021 season. 

Nebraska will start its winter conditioning period on Monday, Jan. 25. He said “the majority of the team” is back on campus and has gone through the required period of testing and quarantine per the university’s overall guidelines. Nebraska has 11 early enrollees from the 2021 recruiting class on campus as well as two grad transfer additions already in town—linebacker Chris Kolarevic and wideout Samori Touré.

Spring ball, Frost said, will begin in late March and lead up to the end of April. 

“We’re not sure if we’re going to have spring recruiting or not but I want to get a full winter conditioning (period) in before we start spring ball,” Frost said. “In order to do that we needed to delay the start of spring practice a little. 

“So, we’ll be the five weeks leading up to the end of April and then planning on having our spring game on May 1.”

The Huskers expect to have 15 full practices after last year’s spring period was cut short after only a few. The Huskers also had to cancel the 2020 spring game.

With a May 1 date for the game, a possible schedule for spring ball might have Nebraska starting sometime on or around Monday, March 29. 

The Huskers believe they might be able to have at or near a full stadium for that May 1 spring scrimmage. 

Final testing for the spring semester at the university begins on Monday, May 3.

Other Notes and Quotes

>> Frost said they gave the team a good four weeks off from football after the Dec. 18 win over Rutgers ended the season. Frost said he went dear hunting then took a vacation with his wife. On the time away, Frost said “I think everybody needed that a little bit.”

>> He also offered a little bit of insight into how the team came to its decision not to play in a bowl game. Despite being 3-5, Nebraska could have been offered a bowl bid this past season, but opted against seeking one. Here’s his full quote:

“I think a lot of the team—probably most of the team—wanted to go on and play, but this is kind of the one time because of how weird the year was that I wanted the team to decide,” he said. “We also didn’t want to go into a bowl game unless everyone was committed and gung-ho and excited about going and it was just such a long hard year that we couldn’t get a unanimous decision from that standpoint. 

“We went through a lot of things last year that I think the team needed to go through for growth and I’m glad we got the opportunity to do that this year, and I think it’ll lead to better things next year and beyond.”

>> For the second offseason in a row, the Huskers are looking for a new-hire coach to come in and manage special teams. The team “parted ways” with Senior Special Teams Analyst Jonathan Rutledge last week after he was hired in February of 2020.

“Really thankful to Rut for what he came in and helped us with and wish him nothing but the best,” Frost said. “We’re in the process right now of trying to find the right guy to come in and pick up where he left off.”

The Huskers currently have a job listing posted on their employment website seeking a Senior Special Teams Analyst (the same title Rutledge held). Rutledge made $150,000 for the job last season. A new hire talking the same title would mean the new man cannot offer on-field instruction. 

Rutledge, not one of Nebraska’s 10 full-time assistants, was limited to setting up drills before practice and going over film outside of it. He was hired after Nebraska replaced Jovan Dewitt, doubly responsible for coaching outside linebackers and coordinating special teams, with Mike Dawson, solely responsible for coaching outside ‘backers. 

Frost, now 12-20 in three seasons at the program, said he wants the new hire to “help turn the page” on special teams, a problem area for the program since Frost’s arrival. 

“If we were better on special teams I think we probably would have won a few more games around here the last year or two,” he said. 

>> Asked if Nebraska could add anyone to the 2021 recruiting class during the February signing period, Frost said “possibly.”

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