Coach Scott Frost said he feels “refreshed” following Nebraska’s bye week. The Huskers had their first week off in eight weeks but are back to work in preparation for Purdue, which Frost said he’s ready for another game with this team. The Huskers and Boilermakers meet Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
One of the biggest things the bye week brought Nebraska was the opportunity to rest and heal up key injuries. That was especially the case for quarterback Adrian Martinez, who admitted he wasn’t 100% healthy heading into the matchup with Minnesota. With that said, both Frost and Martinez said the starting quarterback would be good to go against Purdue.
“He’s going to be 100%,” Frost said.
Frost had noted multiple times following the 30-23 loss to Minnesota that Martinez was banged up. Did that have an effect on Nebraska’s play calling, specifically the designed run plays for Martinez? Maybe, but Martinez said there is no excuse.
Martinez took the bye week to heal up. He also has worked on the “little things” and being “a little smarter” on how he takes hits in game.
“Maybe it’s getting down a little earlier, maybe it’s finding a way to avoid big hits from guys in the Big Ten,” Martinez said.
As for the team as a whole, Nebraska did get in some work during the bye week. Frost said he hit the “mad button” a couple of times last week when the team wasn’t meeting the standards set by the coaches in high-pressure situations at practice.
Nebraska knows it has its work cut out for it if the team wants to make a bowl game, too. The Huskers currently sit at 3-5 on the season, needing six wins to be bowl eligible. In many cases, Nebraska has come incredibly close to winning a number of games which is something the team is focused on heading into the final four games of the regular season.
However, Frost still sees progress in his team and is ready for another opportunity against Purdue.
“We’ve come up an inch short too many times,” he said. “Progress is obvious. People recognize the type of team we have and the level we’re playing at. It’s up to us to make the plays to get us over the hump.”
More news and notes:
>> Deontai Williams will return this season, Frost reiterated on Monday. Williams suffered a knee injury against Minnesota but Frost said during the bye week that Williams’ injury was “not too bad” and that he expects him to return this season.
In the meantime, it does not sound like Williams will be available against Purdue. Myles Farmer will likely start in his place at safety.
>> In other injury news: Offensive lineman Brant Banks returned to practice this week. He has been out since early October with what appeared to be a right hand injury.
Tight end Thomas Fidone is also working his way into the lineup following a knee injury he suffered during spring ball. Frost said he’s “still shaking a little bit of rust off” but that he has a bright future.
“When he’s ready to play and give us as good or better chance as other guys, he’ll be out there,” Frost said.
>> Nebraska’s offense has to be better in the red zone in the final four games of the regular season.
“Our basic stuff has to be better,” Frost said.
>> Will Martinez return for the 2022 season? That’s a decision that will have to wait. Martinez said there are things that are “way more important” than thinking about next season. He’s focused on this season and the upcoming matchup with Purdue.
>> Nebraska and Ohio State get the six-day pick option for the Nov. 6 matchup in Lincoln. Game time announcement is expected either Saturday night or Sunday, with possible kickoff times set for 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. CT. The network is to be determined.
🚨 #B1GFootball Schedule Update 🚨
🏈 Times and network designations for 2 games on Saturday, Nov. 6, have been set
🏈 The remaining 5 games will be announced following games on Saturday, Oct. 30
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) October 25, 2021
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.