Husker head coach Scott Frost met with the media Monday afternoon, following the Huskers’ first practice of spring football, to set the scene for his third spring in Lincoln. He covered a lot in roughly 20 minutes at the podium, and Hail Varsity will have plenty more throughout the day, but here are some quick hits to pass the time.
>> Frost confirmed Husker quarterback Adrian Martinez will be “a little limited” throughout spring ball as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery on his non-throwing arm, but it sounds like the green non-contact jerseys will be sticking around for the quarterbacks, so Martinez should be able to handle everything he needs to handle, Frost said. Martinez took reps with the ones on the first day of practice.
>> With depth at wideout being a massive question mark—sophomore Wan’Dale Robinson has the most experience of any receiver on campus—Frost was asked if redshirt freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey would help out at receiver. McCaffrey did just that late in the 2019 season, but Frost said he’s competing solely at quarterback right now.
If he’s not the guy at quarterback when fall rolls around, Frost said the coaching staff will revisit a discussion they’ve already had about how to utilize him in different ways.
(Robinson said before Frost took the podium that he worked exclusively at wideout on Day 1 of spring practice.)
>> Robinson said that Frost gets along with new offensive coordinator Matt Lubick perhaps more so than he has with any other coach. Frost has given Lubick some leash, and the head coach said his new wideout coach and OC has already upped the organization levels of the offense both on the practice field and off the field.
>> On new senior special teams analyst Jonathan Rutledge, Frost said Nebraska went the analyst route instead of a dedicated special teams coordinator because he didn’t want to “burden” new outside linebacker coach Mike Dawson with having to coach outside ‘backers and special teams.
With Rutledge’s analyst tag, he’s not allowed to do any on-field coaching. Frost said he’ll be helped out by every assistant coach when it comes to on-the-field work.
>> Matt Farniok took some snaps at left guard Monday morning. The Huskers’ returning starter at right tackle would be pushed off that spot, Frost said, if a young tackle makes that leap.
That young tackle would theoretically be Bryce Benhart, a 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman. Frost said he had a strong first day of practice. Redshirt freshman Brant Banks is working behind Brenden Jaimes at left tackle.
Frost mentioned the return of all five o-linemen starters, saying the depth there is better than it has been yet throughout his time in Lincoln, and Jaimes said the offensive line has no excuses this upcoming season because of that.
“Bringing back five starters, there should be absolutely no excuses for anything,” Jaimes said. “Everybody should be competing as if their spot is on the line every day. Including me.”
>> Toughness was a major talking point from everyone who took the podium Monday morning. Asked if that emphasis is player-led or coach-led, Frost said this: “I think coaches need to demand toughness, but if it’s not coming out of the locker room you’re not going to have a tough team. I think we’ve been getting better and better at that.”
>> Though he said he’s not the one to make any announcements on the name-image-likeness bill currently on the floor of the Nebraska unicameral, Frost said Nebraska will have an announcement soon that will make it a leader in the movement to allow college athletes to make money in school.
>> Freshman defensive backs Henry Gray and Isaac Gifford are both out for spring ball as they deal with injuries.
>> With Austin Allen and Jack Stoll limited, former Rutgers tight end Travis Vokolek has a chance for a big spring in position coach Sean Beckton’s room. That’s especially true considering redshirt freshman Chris Hickman is starting out playing wide receiver.
Frost said the Nebraska native is needed more at wideout, so he’ll start out on the edge.
>> Redshirt freshman wideout Jamie Nance was a guy who drew praise both from teammates and Frost as someone who had a strong opening day of practice.
>> Redshirt freshman linebacker Jackson Hannah has been moved to outside linebacker as has defensive end Damian Jackson.
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.