Following the news that Adrian Martinez will miss the Iowa game this Friday with a shoulder injury he sustained last week at Wisconsin, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said he’s going to put backup Logan Smothers in the best position to be efficient and comfortable.
“Some of that has to do with what he does well and what we feel good about him doing, and other things about what Iowa does,” Frost said Wednesday at Memorial Stadium. “But there’s not going to be wholesale changes to anything.”
The fact that Smothers knew he’d be starting for about a week ahead of time will help him, Frost said, because he’s been taking snaps with the first-team offense. Smothers, a second-year freshman from Alabama, has progressed nicely in the passing department, Frost said. Credit former quarterback coach Mario Verduzco for that.
“That part of his game has improved a lot, along with other areas,” Frost said of Smothers. “So it’s a good opportunity for him and it’s a good opportunity for us to see what he can do.”
On the injury front, Frost didn’t sound too optimistic about a few key players, including running back Rahmir Johnson, safety Deontai Williams and defensive lineman Damion Daniels. He said “it’s going to be tight” when asked if Johnson and Williams will be able to play Friday.
“Rahmir’s fighting to get back, but has something that’s lingered on him a little bit,” Frost said.
As for Daniels, who didn’t finish the Wisconsin game, Frost said the big defensive tackle could “potentially” play.
“We’re just nicked up with a lot of people, they’re (Iowa) nicked up, a lot of people are nicked up around the country right now,” Frost said. “A lot of people limited or nursing something.”
More news and notes:
>> Frost said his team has “some interesting things” going on with Senior Day activities prior to the game with Iowa. The NCAA-granted extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic has added a layer of uncertainty for some players who need to decide if they want to come back or move on from the program.
“There’s a lot of guys who could be done or could come back,” Frost said. “Senior Day will be interesting because I think there’s going to be some guys who don’t walk that maybe don’t play anymore, and maybe some guys who do walk and come back and play another year. The way I feel about it is, anytime we can honor any of them for the hard work they put in here, we need to honor them.”
>> One of those players who has decided what he’s going to do is tight end Austin Allen. Allen announced through social media on Tuesday that Friday’s game against Iowa will be his last as a Husker. Allen set the school record for most catches in a single season (36) and is 14 yards shy of setting the single-season receiving yards mark.
One last ride. Thank you Husker Nation! pic.twitter.com/dO4YJbvMSK
— Austin Allen (@austin11allen) November 24, 2021
“Austin’s been the heart and soul of this team this year and going back. I’m really proud of him and what he’s accomplished,” Frost said.
>> Frost said Iowa’s defense is a bit different than Wisconsin’s. The Hawkeyes are only allowing 16.9 points per game, which ranks ninth in the country. They’re really good at stopping the run, too, holding opposing offenses to 2.97 yards per rush, eighth best in the country.
“Iowa is what they are. They’re a little more multiple than I’ve seen from them before and do a few more things, but they’re just really good at what they do,” Frost said. “They do a good job of taking things away and just making you earn it.”