Basically, wait and see if he’s on the field warming up in pads or standing on the sideline in street clothes.
Head coach Scott Frost met with the media Thursday — the last scheduled availability before Nebraska opens the 2019 season — and provided a “wait and see” update to the status of sophomore running back Maurice Washington.
“We haven’t decided yet,” he said. “A decision’s going to be made before kickoff, before the game starts on Saturday. I guess you guys will know then.”
On Monday, Frost said the decision is not just his to make, but that university officials would be involved in determining whether or not Washington can play in the Huskers’ first game against South Alabama.
Washington is still entangled in a legal case in California in which he faces both a felony charge and a misdemeanor charge. Both stem from an incident that occurred before Washington joined the Huskers. His next court date is set for Tuesday, Sept. 3, and it will serve as a preliminary hearing setting.
The running back was a limited participant during spring ball in March but did not play in the April spring game. That may inform the decision-making in this case, though Washington has been a full participant in fall camp.
“Maurice has been doing a good job of practicing with the intention he’s going to play,” Frost said. “The ball’s not in his court, it’s in our court as a university and a football program to decide, but he’s been doing a good job of doing everything we ask him to through fall camp, so he’ll be ready if that’s the decision that’s made.”
Other News and Notes
>> Frost didn’t have any additional information to provide regarding the suspensions of redshirt freshmen Andre Hunt and Katerian LeGrone. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced Wednesday that both the wideout and the tight end were suspended from all team activities indefinitely, but declined to offer any additional details, saying they were going to handle things in-house.
“We felt like we needed to be transparent and let you guys know,” Frost said. “I’m not going to comment on it. I know very little. We did what we thought was appropriate and that’s all I can say about it right now.”
For anyone wondering, Frost isn’t just intentionally withholding information. It’s likely a situation where he can’t say anything at all.
>> On the football side of things, Frost feels like the team is ready to open the season.
“I feel great. Our team just needs to play like it’s been practicing all fall and we’ll be in good shape,” he said. “It was a little different this week starting class on the same day we’re starting preparation for a game. I wasn’t as happy with Tuesday and Wednesday practice as I would have liked to have been, they were good, but I think just going to class and a lot of changes to the routine affected them a little. Today was really good.
“I think our guys are dialed in and ready to go and anxious to play a football game.”
>> Frost said true freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey had a “phenomenal” camp and in a lot of ways exceeded even Frost’s own expectations for him. But redshirt sophomore Noah Vedral is the established No. 2 quarterback and the goal is still to save this season for the freshman.
“We're going to do everything we can to redshirt Luke,” Frost said.
>> Frost wants to see two things on Saturday: cleaner execution and favorable turnover margin.
“I want people to tell me after the game that our guys were flying around and looked like we were playing fast in all three phases of the game. There's no sense dipping our toe in the water. We've been practicing fast. I want them to play that way on the field,” he said. “Turnovers would be the second one that I told them. We didn't get our hands on enough balls on defense last year.
“Last year, even on our first drive we turned it over and it probably changed the game. You’ve got to do well in the turnover battle. If we do well in those things and execute at a good rate – it's hard to execute as efficiently in Game 1 as you do later on in the year – but our guys have a lot of reps in what they're doing so hopefully that's improved as well.”
>> Frost’s mother, Carol, will be inducted into the Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday. Frost said it means a lot to him.
“Mom's the best athlete in the family,” he said. “She might be the best coach in the family. I’m a little proud of her and Dad. She deserves every accolade she gets. When she was doing the things she did, there weren’t opportunities for women in sports and there were even some people that frowned on it, so she really had to do everything on her own and independently and for what she accomplished under those circumstances is amazing. I’m proud of her.”
>> The Huskers still have two open scholarships but Frost said they have not been awarded to any other walk-ons yet. There’s a chance someone could be put on scholarship after this first game. Trent Hixson, the team’s starting left guard, was awarded a scholarship last week.
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.