When head coach Scott Frost met with the media Thursday, he said his guys seem ready. No. 5 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) awaits on Saturday, ESPN’s College GameDay is in town, this has been a week full of distractions, extra attention and excitement. Frost doesn’t think the distractions have gotten to his players though.
A good week of practice, he thinks. Improvement day-by-day. Nebraska, Frost says, has nothing to lose right now.
“I don’t think our guys have anything to lose this week but to go out and play,” he said. “This is a really good team coming in, I don’t think a lot of people are going to pick us to win, rightfully so because they’ve got one of the best teams I think in the country right now. They’re playing really well and at a high level. There’s no reason for us to be nervous or uptight. We’ve just got to go take our swing.”
If you’re looking for insights as to how he feels heading into the matchup, you’re probably left wanting after his last availability of the week. Frost appeared to be keeping his cards pretty close to the vest on this one. Instead, Frost, as he did Monday, focused on the big picture. This game is a sign of things to come.
“There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind where this program is going,” he said. “The improvements we’ve made, that we continue to make. We’ve got some really good seniors on this team but the majority of our good players are young still so we’ve got a ton of room to grow, and we’re heading in that direction.
“Last year we went up to Ann Arbor and got whipped and we played another really talented team when we went to Columbus and we fought, and that was a big improvement. Sooner or later this program’s going to be ready to take on that challenge and overcome the challenge. These are the games you want because this let’s us see where on that road we are. I don’t have any doubt we’ll get there. We’ll take our swing on Saturday and see how far we’ve come.”
A measuring stick to see how much progress has been made and how far the Huskers still have to climb. Frost said he’s already seen his team clear a few hurdles — the latest coming last Saturday when Nebraska fell down early and found a way to win a tough road game — but this is the next one.
“Winning a big game against a really good team is a hurdle we’re going to have to jump over and we’ve got a shot to do that Saturday. We’ll see where we stack up.”
Other News and Notes
>> Nebraska has one remaining scholarship to award. Frost said he’d announce that when he’s ready to, but that he has an idea of who it’s going to.
>> The Huskers will not wear their Blackshirt-inspired alternates this weekend. When asked, Frost just answered with “Down the road.” So, technically, that doesn’t rule out Saturday, as it is down the road, but the head coach wasn’t interested in talking about them.
>> The kicking game continues to be a headache. Frost started to laugh when asked if they’d found any answers. “It hasn’t been very good,” he said. Nebraska doesn’t currently have a kicker with the combination of readiness and leg to either force touchbacks on kickoffs or give the coach confidence in attempting any kind of field goal beyond a chip shot.
Lane McCallum is just on extra-point duties. William Przystup was strong in the kickoff game against Colorado but couldn’t find the end zone against Illinois and field position hurt Nebraska because of it. Isaac Armstrong’s experiment at kicker might be over. And Barret Pickering still doesn’t appear close to a return.
“Certainly not something we anticipated, if we would have anticipated it we would have done more to try and address it beforehand,” Frost said. “But we’re hoping Barret gets ready sooner rather than later and in the meantime we’re going to do the best we can.”
The kicking situation won’t necessarily force Nebraska to add in a few two-point plays in preparations for Ohio State, but it does change play-calling when Nebraska gets into scoring position.
“I think more than anything it changes your play-calling a little when you get down in the red zone, or in overtime, those kinds of things, to try and do what you can to not leave it up to a kick,” he said. “But we kind of think that way anyway, when we get to certain parts of the field, that it might be four-down territory.”
>> It appeared that sophomore wideout Kade Warner went through walk-throughs with the team Thursday. He has yet to make an appearance this season, but Husker coaches have remained optimistic about his ability to contribute. Thursday’s are shell days, but it’s still an encouraging sign he was out there.
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.