If one were to play a little word association with Scott Frost’s offense, “speed” would likely be one of the first words blurted out. Much of the staff’s recruiting efforts since they arrived in Lincoln has been focused on adding speed with the likes of Jaron Woodyard, Mike Williams, Greg Bell, Maurice Washington and others.
However, as fast as those skill players might be after the snap, the key to an up-tempo offense lies in the trenches. The offense can’t go fast if the linemen can’t get lined up in time.
“They’re ready to go,” offensive line coach Greg Austin said about his guys. “They know what the expectation is as it relates to playing faster between the whistles. They know the value in getting all the information as quickly as they can, making the calls. The purpose of tempo is putting guys in a vulnerable position, what I like to call putting them in the deep end of the pool with a weight on their ankle.
“They’re ready and they’re looking forward to that first first down and now they can push it, push it, push it. When we get rolling, we get that momentum going, they’re the ones that drive it. They’re the ones up front, they’re the ones that drive it. Ironically, they just happen to be the biggest, slowest, fattest guys.”
It’s been a slow process for the linemen to get in the kind of shape this offense requires, but the last few months of strength and conditioning have done wonders for the Huskers.
“When we first got here in the spring, we were all pretty dog-tired just going through the offense,” sophomore guard Boe Wilson said. “Now we’ve been with them for a couple months now, we’ve all gotten the hang of it. I think it’s been going well. We’re all in pretty good shape now.”
Personally, Wilson said he was excited about the new offense, which he sees as a better fit for his playing style and personality because of the speed and intensity required.
“Overall, the offense, at least personally, I think it’s easier to understand and it’s easy, you look at the sideline, we get the play, we go,” Wilson said. “So it’s a lot more fast-paced, of course. I love this offense. We bang heads every day, we go full speed. Just the nature of it gets us in good shape. We’re always going 100 percent.”
The Huskers aren’t quite where they want to be at this stage of camp, but Foster said he is excited about what this new offense is going to do to opposing defenses once the season begins.
“I’m really excited,” senior guard Jerald Foster said. “I can’t wait to catch some teams on their heels because this offense isn’t something that you’re able to practice for one week and be ready for us. This is something that, just like our defense, you have to practice every single day so that you can keep the tempo and you can be able to stay with us. I’m so happy that the coaches came in here and they’ve been pushing us and making our standard higher and higher every single day because it’s made us that much better.
“Our offense has really excelled from the first day that we tried to do this. From what you guys saw in the spring, our offense is, I’d say, about five time faster than that now.”
For Austin, the picture in his room is starting to come into focus with less than a week-and-a-half until the season opener.
“I feel good,” Austin said. “I’ll feel really good after Sept. 1 when we get some live action against somebody else besides out defense. I feel good. I think we have a solid group, good leaders, guys that will step up, guys that will challenge the group to get better. I think we’ve got talent enough, in my opinion, to do the job.”
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.