Nebraska took to Memorial Stadium on Friday for a situational scrimmage. The Huskers ran a two-minute offense and a four-minute offense, worked from the shadow of the offense’s own end zone and then from the red zone and worked every aspect of special teams. A Big Ten crew also officiated the work for the first time this fall camp.
“Some good things today, some things we’ve got to clean up but that’s kind of the point of doing it,” head coach Scott Frost said after.
“I told the guys sometimes we practice so fast that it’s easy to just be focused on the rep and not the game situation, so we’re going to keep putting them in as many situations as we can so we make the right decisions. We need to have a smart team, not just a talented team.”
An example: the day began with the offense holding a lead and trying to run the clock out. The defense had timeouts to work with. The offense let the ball go out of bounds on one play to stop the clock and went a little too fast and the defense got the ball back with time still on the clock.
There were also too many penalties.
“Some of the little things that get glossed over in practice are going to get called by a Big Ten crew,” Frost said. “So it’s going to be great film for us to watch that and make sure we’re detailing our technique so those things don’t happen.”
If there was a theme of the day it was to not be complacent. Frost said he keeps waiting for the energy levels to dip and they haven’t yet done so, now 13 practices into fall camp, but he keeps reminding the team that just because they’re better than they were at this time last year, they still have a ways to go.
“We had a long way to go to catch some teams in our league, and we’re definitely better but we can’t stop here,” he said.
Other News and Notes
>> Senior tackle Christian Gaylord suffered a knee injury in practice that will likely end his season, Frost announced.
>> Frost said “10 or 12 of some of our best guys we’re going to be counting on” were either held out of Friday’s work or were limited participants. Quarterback Adrian Martinez got light work before having his day called, while wideouts JD Spielman, Wan’Dale Robinson, Kanawai Noa and Kade Warner were some of the players Frost named who were held out altogether. Neither Robinson or Noa practiced Wednesday but there hasn’t yet been an announcement about anything serious. (Frost doesn’t address injuries if they aren’t major.)
As a result, Frost mentioned redshirt freshman Miles Jones as a guy who made the most of the extra opportunities.
>> Frost said there is a battle going on right now between Isaac Armstrong and Michigan State transfer William Przystup for the starting punter job. Both, he said, had good days Friday.
>> JUCO transfer Jahkeem Green isn’t able to go full-pads yet after arriving on Tuesday of this week, but the Husker coaching staff is doing everything it can to get a good look at him. Early returns have been positive.
“I’ve never adjusted a scrimmage for one guy but we went live for 90 percent of the scrimmage and the last 10 percent was thud because he wasn’t able to wear pants yet, he was in shells only,” Frost said. “We got him some reps. He’s obviously a talented kid but he’s got some work to do to get in the type of condition the other guys are in, but you can definitely just today see some flashes of what he can do.”
>> Beginning later next week, the staff will start to turn its attention to the Aug. 31 opener against South Alabama and thus start adjusting reps in practice to flesh out a depth chart.
>> Asked about the talent infusion Nebraska has seen from back-to-back top-20 recruiting classes since Frost took over, the head coach said he’s pleased with his first two classes but he’s still building.
“We’ll be a complete team when we have four or five classes like that on our football team and a lot of competition,” he said.
Still, this 2019 class of freshmen has been very impressive. Frost credits the time the coaching staff had to fully evaluate, but he also credits the mentality of the class coming in to adopt the culture, learn quickly and be good teammates right from the jump.
“A bunch of these new freshmen on campus have been what we thought and in a lot of cases more than what we thought,” he said. Asked if any could have the kind of impact in their first year Martinez did last year, Frost said “Yeah I think there are several. I think there are several guys who are going to be household names at Nebraska some day.”
>> Frost is really pleased with the back-up quarterback situation right now.
“Noah Vedral’s playing as well as I’ve seen him play in the time that I’ve spent with him,” he said. “He’s doing some amazing things. Luke McCaffrey had another good day and continues to impress all of us. Bunchy’s gotten better and Matt Masker’s playing well. That position in particular is I think an example of the whole team — there’s improvement across the board that should help us from a frontline talent standpoint but also from a depth standpoint.”
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.