"NU testing impresses even Epley," read the headline on a story on the front of the Lincoln Journal Star sports page on March 15, 1996. What followed were the results of Nebraska's winter testing.
Strength coach Boyd Epley "reported that the average Nebraska player is 10 pounds heavier than last year but is able to jump higher, run faster and perform with more agility than ever before," the story read.
Standard offseason fare? Not exactly because these bigger-faster-stronger proclamations were backed with data from Nebraska's vaunted performance index, and they ran in the paper regularly during those days.
Scott Frost wouldn't mind bringing that Husker tradition back.
"I still want to get back to a day when we tested Nebraska," Frost said Thursday in Chicago. "I remember that. It was in your guys' papers every year, twice a year when we tested in our 40, agility run, squat, clean, vertical jump, all of those things.
"It was competitive. It was impressive. It was a big deal."
Frost, entering his first season as the Huskers' starting quarterback, certainly impressed in the spring of 1996. His pro-agility time of 3.91 ranked third on the team. At that point Frost held the quarterback record in the performance index, a measure that was weighted to compare players of various body sizes on the same scale.
According to the spring results published by the Lincoln Journal Star, Nebraska's team performance index (2049) was 105 points better than in 1995.
". . . [T]his team wants to do something nobody has ever done, and that's to win three national titles in a row," Epley told the Journal Star then. "The last time Nebraska had a chance (1970-71), they lost the opening game to UCLA the next year. This is the inner drive, the will-power, the force, working for these players to do their best."
How far away are we from seeing those results made public again? Undetermined, but perhaps soon.
"I don't think Zach [Duval] felt like we were in a position where we could make that public yet," Frost said. "We're really close to that now. Some of the numbers that I've seen out of the weight room are night and day different from when we arrived. It's going to make a big difference."
The Grab Bag
- Erin Sorensen offers three takeaways from Nebraska’s time in Chicago.
- We recorded a podcast high above the city late last night to talk all things media days.
- Derek Peterson on Nebraska’s defense and its effort to step out of the shadow of an offense-first approach.
- Here’s my column on the offseason hype surrounding the Huskers.
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.