Scott Frost made his regular Husker Sports Nightly appearance Wednesday night spending an hour on air with host Greg Sharpe and the rest of Husker Nation via a few calls from fans. There was a lot packed in to those 55 minutes – hear the whole thing here – but let's start with the quarterbacks.
Frost was asked about the two returning scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, Patrick O'Brien and Tristan Gebbia, which turned into a discussion of what a quarterback in this offense needs to be able to do in general:
Quarterback's going to be a work in progress. We're going to let all of those guys compete. Everybody's going to get a fair shake and fair opportunity . . . At Oregon our first year we had Jeremiah Masoli who could throw but was more of a runner, and we were really quarterback-run heavy. The next year we had Darron Thomas who was pretty good at everything and we opened it up a little. Then we had Marcus [Mariota]. He could run, but we wanted to protect him so we did a little more throwing and kind of running back runs with him. Obviously this year with McKenzie [Milton] we didn't want to run him up the middle much either. He was just not that big of a kid, but he was an effective runner.
To touch on Tristan and Patrick, both are doing a great job. I can see them getting stronger. They can both really throw it. They're picking things up well. In our offense you don't need to be 4.4 as a quarterback, you just need to be an effective runner. When a defense dictates that you should pull it and run it, you need to be able to get some yards. That doesn't mean you need to be Johnny Rodgers or Mike Rozier, but being able to pull it and run it and get 6 or 7 and get down, I think both those guys will be capable of that.
Frost has made that 4.4 comment before, but still a good reminder as Nebraska gets ready to start spring practice. Which quarterback on the roster has that "effective" running ability? We don't know yet.
But the more interesting question might be what the offense looks like with whichever guy (or combination of guys?) wins the job in 2018. I need to pull some numbers and look a little more closely at how Oregon's offense changed from quarterback to quarterback, but if this offense is easily adaptable to a variety of skill sets that's a pretty distinct advantage.
A few other highlights from the show:
>>Frost on the early stages of winter conditioning: "There's already been some big gains made. It's really impressive. I've seen some before and after pictures and it kind of looks like 'The Biggest Loser.' You see a picture of someone seven weeks ago before they started with Coach [Zach] Duval and what they look like now there's guys making really big gains, cutting body fat, getting more lean. It looks like some of guys are having fun in the process."
>>Frost on the strength and conditioning program: "When I was out in Eugene I said if we could mix that style of play and that speed training with Husker power that we'd win a lot of games. And that's what we tried to do by getting Zach down to Orlando. He changed our team down there. We weren't just bigger and stronger than most teams we played, we also stayed healthier than anybody else in the country and a lot of that has to do with the way we train. He's already starting with the guys. He's going to make big changes in the roster."
Emphasis mine there, of course, but that's probably the undervalued part of strength and conditioning as a whole. Seasons at all levels are often decided by which teams stay the healthiest. If that becomes a Nebraska trait, that's good news for the Huskers.
>>Frost on the player's response to last year's 4-8 season: "Everybody needs to understand that what's going to get us to a different level is hard work. I hope we have a whole team of guys that aren't satisfied with their record last year. The way to fix it is to get in the weight room, get on the field, get in the classroom and work. I've seen a lot of guys starting to do that."
>>Frost on tackling: "One of my big passions in coaching is to coach tackling. The reason for that is I was a very average to below-average NFL player for six or seven years and in my first four or five years I was a bad NFL tackler if I'm being honest. Then I got down to Tampa Bay . . . and they taught tackling a completely different way, teaching you to run through tackles, to not break down, just shoot your guns and be aggressive and they taught a technique that went along with that. I went from being a bad NFL tackler to a good one. I always look back at that and wish I'd been around those guys earlier so they could teach me. Our defensive staff does an unbelievable job teaching tackling."
The Grab Bag
- The NCAA crossed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in its history. Here's how it got there.
- Mitch Sherman of ESPN on Jack Hoffman's spring-game run.
- Nebraska's tournament chances are up to 84-percent in today at TeamRankings. com.
- Here's a list of players still available on the graduate transfer market.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.