The summer is officially beginning; incoming freshman are reporting, summer workouts are starting and college football is officially within 100 days. Football was definitely on the mind this week in our mailbag. Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson are back to answer questions on offseason pictures, new pipelines and more.
What are your thoughts on getting more guys like Damian Jackson? 1) The GI Bill so no scholarships needed, 2) An amazing work ethic and a natural leader, 3) Zack Duval shows he is a beast in the weight room.
JP: The problem with that is I don’t know how many guys like Damian Jackson there actually are out there. He seems like a pretty unique case. But if there are others like him out there, it certainly wouldn’t hurt the program to have guys like that on the team.
DP: Building off what Jacob said if you can find guys like him, by all means, go for it. The thing that makes Jackson’s story so awesome is it’s unique; not a ton of guys join the SEALs on a whim then leave for a college football team the same way. On other teams, Jackson might be viewed as a bigger risk than reward (roster spot for a raw project). On this team, though, I think Frost and company are nicely suited for more Damian Jacksons in the future, what with their developmental acumen and embracing of larger rosters. That kind of commitment and work ethic is always valuable regardless of the package it comes in.
BV: Frost, much like John Cook will volleyball, seems to like pulling from military sources for inspiration for team building (which makes a ton of sense for anyone). I don’t know how feasible it is, the numbers aren't huge, but if Nebraska were to open up a “pipeline” of ex-military guys, people like that can add things to a program.
Can you paint a complete picture of what it looks like for a football player between now and August? What do summer workouts look like? Can any coaches be involved at all? Do players take classes? Lifting sessions? Is any of it organized? By whom? (@thawildbunch)
GS: I’ll try to paint as complete a picture as I can. Summer workouts will get started this week as players return to Lincoln or report for the first time as incoming freshman. Coaches are allowed minimal meeting time per week (5 hours I believe) and the coaches are not allowed to lead any activities with an actual football present. The vast majority of things are organized by the strength and conditioning staff. This is why Zach Duval is so important from the recruiting process until a guy graduates, he spends a lot of time with the guys on the team.
DP: Guys will also spend a good deal of time before and after organized workouts in smaller groups at local training facilities. Lots of speed/agility training. There truly is no offseason.
Hitting Northwestern this year on my “Attend a Cornhusker football game at all B1G stadiums” bucket list. Does Greg Smith or any staffer have a short list of ‘must do’ places to eat or drink near there? I’ve only hit Iowa City & W Lafayette so far… (@md_schmidt)
GS: I don’t know if you already have a hotel booked, but I’d recommend not staying in Evanston. Just stay in Chicago and make a three day weekend of it starting Friday. You can take the red line “L” train up to Evanston for the game and it’ll be packed with Husker fans. I need more information about where you are staying but Kirkwood Bar in Lincoln Park is my favorite Husker bar in the city. I always send people to Smoque for BBQ and Weber Grill downtown for a great meal no matter what you get.
BV: Greg’s our Chicago expert so I’ll defer to him on everything else, but will add that Mustard’s Last Stand is right outside the stadium. Get a hot dog there before the game. Also, I really like Ryan Field. It’s a cool football experience.
Are we good? (@KevinEngelkamp)
JP: When you really think about it, is anything actually good? Good is such an abstract term. Unless “we” is referring to a group of dogs, in which case the answer is yes.
DP: Jacob’s answer makes me want to block and report him on everything… If you’re talking Nebraska football: maybe good, not yet great, soon. If you’re talking in general, James Bay has a new album out and it is quite good so I am a happy camper.
BV: Yeah, we’re good. At least I think that’ll be the determination for Nebraska football at the end of the 2018 season. I don’t know what the record will be, but the read on the Huskers will be that they’re an improving program, one that’s well-coached and tough to beat. I’m certain this will happen, so I can say “yeah, we’re good,” even though the proof is largely forthcoming.