Would Scott Frost really have turned down Nebraska for Florida if his entire staff would have been able to come with him? Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson tackle that and more in this week's mailbag.
On both sides of the ball, which position will see the highest ranked/return for recruits after a hugely successful '18 season? (@Corn_Huskers)
GS: This is a tricky one. My gut says wide receiver because the offense will be fun and lots of guys will have the opportunity to catch passes. However, I’m going to go with cornerback. I think one of the real overlooked coaches on this staff is Travis Fisher. When he talks he makes headlines but he is a great teacher of the position as well. If Nebraska’s secondary makes a leap in 2018, I can see him getting a lot of traction on the recruiting trail.
BV: Give me the tight end spot. I think the Huskers are fine there for the time being, but a year down the road it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they land somebody who eventually becomes a star. It’s an appealing offense with an appealing number of touches for a player at that position.
If Scott Frost were given the opportunity to bring his entire staff to Florida, would he be coaching there? (@Rawker8)
GS: I don’t believe so. I think the factor people don’t really like to bring up with Frost and company coming to Lincoln is that Nebraska was in a desperate position. So the Nebraska administration and fans would be the most patient and accepting of the staff no matter what given how much everyone wanted Frost to come home. In the long run, I think that will be a benefit to the program but it was certainly a factor.
DP: I don’t definitively know the answer to this question – this is mostly speculation – but I do wonder how much his family would have played a factor had Florida allowed the whole staff to come. I wonder if it would have been more difficult to uproot a newly-started family if there was a similar job open right down the street. Not that Florida would have beat out Nebraska head-to-head, but I do wonder if things would have been a little closer.
JP: It certainly would have made the decision more difficult, but I don’t believe the staff question was the only factor that led him to Nebraska. I think the pull of family and school pride is ultimately what brought him back to Lincoln. Florida is an objectively better job in terms of program ceiling because of location and reputation, but Nebraska might have been a better job for Frost when you factor in expectations from the fan base and administration.
What's the latest on Maurice Washington? I heard he's not on campus. Also, any other legitimate JUCO guys we might get? How is Miles Jones faring? (@thawildbunch)
GS: Nebraska is still hopeful that Washington will eventually make it to Lincoln but you won’t hear anything concrete until mid-July/early-August from what I’m hearing. At this point I think the best you can hope for is an academic redshirt that allows him to join the team but sit out the year. There aren’t a lot of great JUCO running back targets on the board that I’m aware of. Dedrick Mills from Garden City Community College in Kansas visited with a big group for the spring game but there hasn’t been much traction since. Early reports on Miles Jones is that he is what the staff thought he’d be. Which is to say: expect him to play a lot.
Considering new rule change, which freshmen get playing time but ultimately redshirt? (@vern_monty)
GS: The first player I thought of when this rule came down was Cam Jurgens. Early reports are that he is already working hard in Lincoln (no surprise at all) but it’s unclear if he will be ready to go 100 percent by the start of the season. If he becomes Zach Duval’s best friend throughout the season he could see spot duty late in the season to get his feet wet and keep his redshirt intact.
DP: A guy like Cam Jurgens makes a lot of sense to me or someone in the receiving room like an Andre Hunt. Will Farniok also feels like someone that could get some run on offense early on but ultimately take that redshirt. I don’t know how to feel about the defensive newbies yet just because of all the “we’re bringing in your replacements” talk over the last few days. Seeing a bunch of freshmen and sophomores out on the field early on just wouldn’t surprise me. Last year, things would have been a little easier to nail down but with new eyeballs on everyone, we could be getting all number of freshmen and sophomores playing.
JP: With the sudden depth at wide receiver, you could see one or some of Dominick Watt, Andre Hunt, Justin McGriff and Katerian Legrone take advantage of that rule to get their feet wet at some point if they don’t straight up win full-time jobs. Perhaps one of Cam Taylor or Braxton Clark might do the same depending on what happens at cornerback. If the likes of Lamar Jackson, Dicaprio Bootle, Eric Lee Jr. and perhaps Ethan Cox can do enough early to hold down jobs, maybe those freshman corners don’t play right away. But if injuries hit at some point during the season, the coaches might not have another option besides throwing those guys into the mix.
BV: I lean towards the secondary and many of the names mentioned above. Nebraska is the least settled there, in my opinion, and it probably makes the most sense to have a few early-season game “tryouts” there to see what happens.
The players have to play both ways. Who would you select for your 7v7 team? (@Cory_Honold)
JP: My team: Lamar Jackson, JD Spielman, Luke Gifford, Jaevon McQuitty, Adrian Martinez, Dicaprio Bootle, Greg Bell. I tried to focus on guys with the athleticism and skill to make an impact on both ends for most of my picks. I originally took Lamar Jackson to use him at QB on offense, but with a later pick I decided Adrian Martinez is athletic enough to hang in at linebacker or corner on defense while lighting it up at QB on offense. Jackson and McQuitty give me bigger, stronger receivers with Spielman and Bootle bringing the speed, and Greg Bell is dynamic out of the backfield. Luke Gifford gives me a linebacker who can hold up in coverage against bigger receivers and he can snap it well enough to be the center on offense.
DP: My team: Cam Taylor, Stanley Morgan Jr., Alex Davis, Chris Walker, Jaylin Bradley, Tyjon Lindsey, Deontai Williams. I looked for two-way ability and length. Think I’ve got guys that can play physical on both sides of the ball and run what I want them to run well. Taylor was a pretty good dual-threat quarterback in high school so he’s my guy for throwing it. The rest are all big bodies on offense without sacrificing athleticism. And we drafted this time. I took the first pick while Jacob fooled around on Twitter, then we just alternated.
Any chance of a Mizzou nonconference game in Arrowhead? How about a 2-game set with LSU in Arrowhead and the Superdome? It's been since the 1980's for 'Husker fans in NOLA, I'd bet both fanbases would travel in droves. (@IdleIrishMinds)
DP: Funny you ask, just wrote about this possibility on Wednesday. Athletic Director Bill Moos, when asked about the potential for Kansas and Kansas State series down the road, said they were looking at other former Big Eight schools as well. Not just Oklahoma. Missouri came up and it makes sense to try to get them, an SEC school, on the schedule whenever possible. Where that might be, I’m not sure, though Arrowhead would be pretty cool and Moos acknowledged the KU and KSU games were attractive because of the Husker fan presence in the state. I would say things are looking good. Nebraska’s willingness in the last couple years to start adding games with those old rivals – both in basketball and football – is promising. As for LSU, that's a different story.
BV: I'd take a neutral-and-neutral Nebraska-LSU series, but I'd prefer a home-and-home somewhat selfishly. Tiger Stadium is near the top of my list of places I haven't been, and LSU always seems to rank highly among Husker fans any time this conversation comes around. I also have Ole Miss up there for a home-and-home, which wouldn't be bad for NOLA-area Husker fans. (Beats Kansas, that's for sure.) I've been to Oxford before and walked around the stadium, but never for an actual game.
What is the best offseason Husker football rage? Blackshirt distribution rage, Kickoff time rage, or Bill Moos smack talk rage? (@md_schmidt)
DP: Personally, it’s the Black Friday talk. I’ll complain about 11 a.m. kickoffs but they also mean I get to go home at a decent time. I want all the Bill Moos zingers I can have. The Blackshirt tradition I have an opinion on but don’t really feel it’s my place to steer that conversation, that’s for the program and alumni to decide. The Black Friday thing is probably my pick here because it’s just strange to me that it continues to be a topic. Seemed as if only one person didn’t care for the tradition and that one person is now gone and his replacement continues to get questions about it despite his continued support for keeping it and keeping it against Iowa.