Nebraska’s lack of depth on the defensive line, especially at the interior of it, is no secret, Scott Frost said.
The Huskers’ fifth-year head coach joined ‘Sports Nightly’ on Monday to discuss the recently-completed 15 spring practices, as well as touch on a multitude of other topics around the program. The most important of those topics, however, was the situation on the d-line, which has lost two players to the transfer portal in Casey Rogers, a projected starter, and Jordon Riley, who was likely a rotation piece.
Riley followed former Husker d-line coach Tony Tuioti and transferred to Oregon earlier this offseason while Rogers has gained an impressive list of offers once he entered his name in the portal. He attended USC’s spring game last Saturday:
Unbelievable visit to USC!! pic.twitter.com/vVmXRZo4oU
— Casey Rogers (@caseyrogers99) April 24, 2022
Back in Lincoln, the Huskers are actively searching for transfer help to bolster their d-line.
“We like what we have,” Frost said. “The new way of college football is going to be doing your best to recruit for positions, expecting attrition and expecting to lose some kids and then trying to go out and fill the gaps you have. I think that is just going to be the way it is.”
On the quarterback front, Frost saw a lot of good things from Casey Thompson, Logan Smothers, Chubba Purdy and Heinrich Haarberg. Richard Torres, the lone quarterback recruit in the 2021 class, was limited all spring as he works his way back from an ACL tear suffered during his senior high school season.
One thing Frost wants to see more of, though, is consistency from the group.
“I think it’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be fun,” Frost said of the competition. “The tough part is getting reps to everybody and we’re going to have to pare it down pretty quick to make sure that we’re getting enough repetitions that the guy or guys playing are ready to go.”
The two transfers, Thompson from Texas and Purdy from Florida State, came from successful programs and know football well, Frost said.
“Chubba’s younger and I think has a little more learning to do,” Frost said. “But both have talent and I’m looking forward to watching them compete. They’re both real competitors, which is really nice to see at that position.”
Frost was asked if first-year o-line coach Donovan Raiola’s new and aggressive approach will help the physicality across the entire team.
“One of the things we’ve been talking about lately is making sure the leadership we do have breaks down the barriers between position groups,” Frost said. “You can have a great culture in one room, but if that culture doesn’t spread to other rooms, it’s limited. So if the offensive line’s culture is getting better and getting there, great, they need to demand that same standard from the tight ends and the receivers and the running backs and everybody else on the offense.
“We still need to see that happen a little bit, we need guys to be more vocal, a little more dominant. We have the right guys to do it, so they need to step out of their shell a little bit.”
More news and notes:
>> Like they have in the past, the Huskers recently began The Program, which is veteran-owned team-building and leadership development resource. Eric Kapitulik runs it and is a good friend of Frost’s.
“They’re a leadership and team-building group,” Frost said, “and they put our guys through a series of things to get them out of their comfort zone a little bit while teaching them all about how to be a good teammate, how to be a good team leader and how to get the team a little bit better.”
In everything we do — we attack❗️
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) April 24, 2022
>> Frost said he’s expecting two players in a crowded defensive back room to step up this season—corner Quinton Newsome and safety Myles Farmer.
“The biggest thing for me is those two have to take over back there. They’ve both been really good players for us, but we lost Deontai (Williams), Cam Taylor-Britt—it’s those guys’ show now,” Frost said of Newsome and Farmer. “I think, if possible, the talent is maybe improved overall from the secondary from last year, but the leadership is gone, and we need those guys to step up and help some of the new guys and young guys be consistent and reliable back there.”
>> Frost was asked about Javin Wright, an intriguing 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete who’s been working at nickel when healthy. Wright was forced to end his year early midway through last season following the discovery of a blood-clot issue.
“He has a medical issue that we don’t always see and we’re working really hard to get him cleared so he can be back,” Frost said of Wright. “He’s doing everything we can with the football team minus contact right now, and we have our fingers crossed that very soon he’ll get cleared to be back full go.”
>> Frost said the team will select captains in fall camp. There’s a leadership unity council made up of players who are the voice of the team and in charge, Frost said. The captains will come from there.
“It’s going to be kind of tough to pick four out of that group, but I expect we’ll be there by fall camp,” Frost said.