Nebraska is 0-4. There's really no sugar coating that. Coach Scott Frost wasn't in the mood to sugar coat anything after Saturday's 42-28 loss to Purdue, especially when he said he has players who look like they "love losing."
Frost has an undisciplined team. He knows it. He said it.
"I’m tired of looking at it," Frost said. "There’s really no difference from a coaching perspective from 'I can’t do it' and 'I won’t do it'. The people that won’t make good decisions, the people that are hitting people that are three yards out of bounds, if that keeps up I’m just going to ride with the guys that are doing it the right way."
Yet, there was a word that surfaced exactly four times in Frost's post-game comments: warrior.
"We’ve got a lot of warriors on this team and a lot of guys that played well enough to win, but I’m tired of coaching an undisciplined team," Frost said.
Nebraska was penalized 11 times for 136 yards against Purdue. There were special teams mishaps (again) and mistakes that negated big plays.
Frost looked around. He didnt like the players that were dancing on the sideline before kickoffs. His team looked undisciplined. He was over it.
It's not all doom and gloom for Frost though. He kept mentioning those warriors, after all. One of those warrios? Senior running back Devine Ozigbo, who the Huskers relied on heavily against Purdue. Ozigbo ended the day with a career-high 170 yards on 17 carries.
“It’s pretty simple, Mo (Maurice Washington) missed practice all week because he was sick," Frost said. "So we weren’t going to play anyone that didn’t practice, and Devine practiced better than anybody else. When he got hot, he was a warrior today and I’ll go to battle with him.”
Other players Frost will go to battle with? Senior linebacker Luke Gifford, sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman, senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. and sophomore defensive end Ben Stille, just to name a few.
"That’s not all of them, I’m not touching on all of them," Frost said. "I’m proud of those guys. At times the offense looked like I want it to look. We were shredding them at times, and this is the second time we’ve lost I think with almost 600 yards of offense. That’s not supposed to happen, but it happens when you make all the mistakes. It happens when you beat yourself, it doesn’t matter how many yards you have when you beat yourself.”
The guys Frost did mention have a fight about them. They're the type of players he wants to fill a whole team with, even if he doesn't have that roster just yet.
Frost was emotional at the podium post-game. He was emotional in the locker room too. For those guys that Frost wants to go to battle with, they're very much on the same page.
“I mean for me it hits me right at home," Gifford said. "He wants it just as much or more than any of us. That’s part of the problem. Guys played hard today, that wasn’t it. We just have to, like he says, need a bunch of guys that love football, and that’s what gets you through tough times like this.
"It’s not easy, no one wants to lose, it’s really hard, but if we’re going to change the way this season is going then we need guys that love football and want to go out there every day and work their butt off.”
“He has lived this and it hurts him just as much as it hurts us. He puts everything he has into the game plan and everything. It is inspiring to see that," Stille said. "Knowing your coach cares that much it makes the players want to care even more.”
For now, there continues to be more questions than answers. As Stille said, Frost has lived this before. It's all about getting back up after getting knocked down.
“I told the team this week, the thing I’m most proud of about my career at Nebraska is that when I was down I fought back. And life’s gonna throw a lot of things at you," Frost said. "Football is not the hardest thing life is gonna throw at you. Being 0-4 isn’t the hardest thing life’s gonna throw at you. But if you can look at yourself in the mirror after that and know that you have two choices when you’re down; stay down or keep fighting.
"And I’ve been through this before, I got a bunch of guys on this team that’ll keep fighting, too.”
Maybe those warriors will turn things around this season, or maybe it'll be next season. Maybe it was always going to take a little more time than anyone expected. Frost is confident it won't be like this forever. The warriors are there.
And he doesn't plan to have to say anything when it all eventually clicks.
"I won’t have to," Frost said. "You will.”
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.