Nebraska’s coaches took into account the health of quarterback Adrian Martinez while game planning against Minnesota. Head coach Scott Frost met with the media Wednesday at Memorial Stadium and said Martinez has been banged up and not at 100%.
“I think there’ll be a time when I can talk about the things that he’s been dealing with, but he came out of the game clean so he’ll be as healthy as he’s been in several weeks a week from Saturday,” Frost said. “Some of the option stuff and quarterback-run stuff that we might have added to the game plan I guess wasn’t going to be available to us. We have to play better around him, and I’ve said that a bunch. We’re leading the Big Ten in sacks right now, and that’s got to get better. He’s got to trust his protection a little better.”
Nebraska enjoyed a strong start against Northwestern and rolled to a blowout win. That wasn’t the case against Minnesota, where a poor first possession doomed the Huskers on the road and had them in an uphill battle almost immediately.
How can that change for Purdue, which just knocked off previously unbeaten Iowa?
“We think we have to completely let it rip. A little bit of that is coaches. We have to be ready for the first drive—the first drive matters, particularly it mattered in that game,” Frost said. “We went three-and-out and they took seven minutes of clock and went and scored. We just watched the whole game with the offense. The first play we made a wrong read, second play had a guy open and protection wasn’t great and just missed it. And third play, had a guy open, the corner fell down on a dig route, but we probably threw it a little too quick and didn’t make the play. Then you punt to them and they go seven minutes and it’s 7-0.”
Frost said he and the players are tired of being so close in the games they fall short in. He talked with the team about making plays when it counts and being someone who can be depended on when it matters.
“We’ve made plenty good enough plays in several games to have the outcome be different,” Frost said. “A lot of guys have had opportunities to make a play. One more play, somewhere, to get it done. We haven’t done it yet. We’ve made some game-winning plays and then had chances to stop the other team and didn’t. We stopped the other team and had chances to go win it and didn’t. So we need our guys to be at their best in those situations, Adrian included.”
More news and notes:
>> Nebraska practiced twice this week. The Huskers had Monday off while they practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday.
>> Frost added to his “let it rip” comment when talking about faster starts for the offense. “We had a lot of good plays in the game plan, a lot of good schemes in the game plan. We started with one we liked and it should’ve been a good play, we didn’t execute it. But I think we can be a touch more aggressive and let the guys go.”
>> Frost and his assistants haven’t been on the road recruiting for 620 days. Frost said this 2022 recruiting class is going to focus on getting immediate impact guys instead of signing freshmen. “When you’re as close as we’ve been, one or two more pieces, one or two more guys will get you over the hump,” Frost said. “So we’re probably going to look to the transfer portal a little more, look to junior college a little more and focus on those things to make sure we replace a couple guys we might be losing and try to add a couple more pieces I think we need.”
>> Safety Deontai Williams snatched his fourth interception of the season against Minnesota, but injured his knee on the play. Look for Myles Farmer to be inserted into the starting lineup for now. Frost said Williams will be day-to-day and week-to-week. “He’ll probably be out for a little bit but he’ll definitely be back this year.”
>> Running back Rahmir Johnson was another Husker that got up slowly after a play at Minnesota. Frost said Johnson attended meetings but will need to pass concussion protocols before he plays again.