Husker head coach Scott Frost held court for an hour on the Husker Sports Nightly radio show Thursday night, fielding questions about Nebraska’s walk-on program and Wan’Dale Robinson and everything in between.
Here are some of the highlights from the show.
>> Frost had promising thoughts on the Husker walk-on program.
"I think it's going to be in the next year or two when you start seeing the benefits of the walk-on program. We've got a bunch of guys in the program that are talented enough to help us," he said. "It takes awhile for those guys to develop, just like any other freshman, and it's going to start getting competitive, frankly. We took about 25 walk-ons the first year, about 25 this year, we're kind of limited to between 150 and 160 players on our football team right now but sooner or later those spots are going to have to be earned."
Two names to keep an eye on from that bunch: sophomore guard Trent Hixson and redshirt freshman inside backer Joey Johnson.
Hixson started the spring game at left guard and if the Huskers had to play a game tomorrow, Frost said Hixson would be the main starter at that spot. He also said Hixson "would be one of the first ones" to go on scholarship if the Huskers have open ones to award, though he cautioned Hixson needs to continue to "earn it."
On Johnson, Frost said he has a chance to make some moves in a position thin on depth.
"If he makes as big of strides this fall as he did this spring, I think he's got a chance to help us," Frost said.
>> The Huskers hosted a dinner the night before the spring game where they welcomed back former players. Scott Frost looked at the guys in attendance, easily spotted the former offensive linemen, and thought, "They make me feel like a small person."
Then he thought something else.
“I saw a couple pictures of our incoming freshmen offensive linemen next to them and thought to myself, ‘OK, these guys are going to look like those guys someday,’” Frost said.
Those incoming linemen, set to arrive this summer, are 6-foot-9, 305-pound Bryce Benhart, 6-foot-7, 255-pound Jimmy Fritzsche, 6-foot-6, 300-pound Michael Lynn and 6-foot-6, 250-pound Matthew Anderson. Strength coach Zach Duval is going to have some big boys to work with in the weight room.
>> Frost thought the defense made the biggest jump during spring ball.
"Guys were just flying around better because they understood their jobs better, they understood how everything fit together better, our pace was just better," he said.
>> Keeping with the defense, Frost had praise for two defensive backs who didn't exactly start out in his good graces last season: senior corner Lamar Jackson and junior safety Marquel Dismuke. He said the coaching staff was concerned at times about whether they "were going to do things the way we wanted them to" but both have made drastic turnarounds.
"Now they’re models for our entire team to follow," he said.
>> One caller wanted to thank Frost in advance for the recently-announced "Big Red Blitz" tour in late May where he, Athletic Director Bill Moos and basketball coach Fred Hoiberg will spend time in areas affected by the March flooding around the state. Nebraska has raised funds for relief efforts throughout the last month and dedicated the Tunnel Walk video before the spring game to the people affected.
"If there's any state that has people with the fortitude and perseverance to get through something like this, it's Nebraska," Frost said. "We're trying to do what little we can to help."
>> You bet Nebraska's coaching staff showed prospective recruits pictures of the Huskers' spring game attendance compared to that of other programs around the country. Frost doesn't like to negative recruit against others, but something like that is strategic. The sellouts at Memorial Stadium are a tool and Nebraska would be foolish not to use it.
Frost sees the Huskers continuing to sell out the annual Red-White game, meaning it will continue to be a recruiting tool. No one else in the country can offer a true gameday atmosphere like that in April.
>> Another caller had a question about freshman athlete Wan'Dale Robinson and why he's more attractive at wide receiver (where Nebraska currently lists him) than running back?
"I think he can do both, to be honest with you and we'll use him wherever we need him,” Frost said. “He's just got a good feel."
Robinson's "position" is just going to be playmaker. That’s probably the best way to put it. He’s going to line up everywhere.
>> Frost liked the earlier start time for spring ball this season. During his first year in Lincoln, the Huskers only had one practice before releasing the team for Spring Break. This time around, the break was right at the midway point. It meant the team was done with spring ball earlier.
"It's nice being done with spring ball in time for our coaches to hit the road and not lose any weeks recruiting," Frost said. "That's one of the reasons you do it."
This year's schedule might become standard operating procedure moving forward.
>> Frost said he was a little upset he didn't get a call about the head coaching job at Nebraska after Bo Pelini was let go. Nebraska hired Mike Riley, Frost stayed at Oregon for one more season and then took the Central Florida position, but he said he thought he would have been ready if Nebraska called.
Still, he said he thinks everything worked out for the best.
"If things would have been different and I would have gotten the job here straight from Oregon, I think a lot of Nebraska people would have been excited about it, some maybe wouldn't have been on board, some maybe wouldn't have thought I was ready," he said. "I know after the success we had down at UCF, it was about as close to unanimous as it could be. That's helped our level of support.
"I think it's helped as we're struggling through a little bit early here to allow people to give us time, to know we're going to get it where we are going to get it. I think everything works for a reason and I think the timing of it ended up being great."
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.