Frustrated. Concerned. A little bit bored. That sums up Nebraska football right now.
Coach Scott Frost joined Sports Nightly on Tuesday to talk about life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the team is processing it like everybody else. While they’re all eager to get back to a normal life, they also know the priorities at this time.
“Everyone’s safety and well-being is most important,” Frost said. “We’re dealing with it like everybody else.”
Frost did get a chance to speak to the team before classes shut down, taking everyone into the indoor facility at the Hawks Championship Center. They even spread everyone out to abide by the 6-foot social distancing recomendation.
“We kind of gave our guys a tentative game plan,” Frost said. “It seems to be changing every 24-48 hours but hopefully at some point we’ll be able to get the guys back on campus. Their safety and their health is our No. 1 concern and getting them back to at least focus on academics and make sure their grades are right with online classes is important. We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now but we’re trying to communicate with our kids as much as we can and keep them happy and healthy.”
Part of keeping the players happy and healthy is keeping them active. While places like gyms are closed (meaning lifting weights is out of the question without access to a home gym), Frost said some of the players have been able to go out into fields and run. The Nebraska staff even provided a workout plan for the players to follow if they’re able while home.
“Anything our guys can be doing right now not to lose the gains that they’ve made is important,” Frost said.
More news and notes:
>> The Nebraska coaches are Zoom people. They have a daily Zoom call every day and have turned attention to recruiting.
“There’s going to be a big hiccup in this recruiting cycle without being able to have kids unofficially on campus,” Frost said. “We’re trying to find out if we’re going to lose our entire spring recruiting where our coaches go out or not. We’re burning up the phone lines and trying to talk to ‘21 recruits about the great things about Nebraska and trying to get ahead with recruits in the ‘22 and ‘23 classes.”
>> Frost has tried to stay in touch with and communicate with both campus and government officials as much as possible. He said everyone has been great and that he knows “they have more important things to worry about than the Nebraska football team.” He’s still been able to get some information to help in leading his team.
>> Nebraska canceled the annual Red-White Spring Game scheduled for April 18. It was a tough decision, but one Frost understood.
"It's a sacrifice we're going to have to make,” Frost said. “I'd certainly want to sacrifice the spring game for the sake of the season next year.”
>> Dave Ellis, Director of Performance Nutrition, and Dennis Leblanc, Nebraska's Executive Associate Athletic Director for Academics, have both been vital in recruiting for Nebraska and in navigating the current situation.
“We’re leaning heavily on those guys right now,” Frost said. “We have quite a few kids that are here in town and honestly, it’s probably safer for them here than at home or they had rehab to do.”
Nebraska—with the help of Ellis and Leblanc—have been able to take care of those still in Lincoln. That includes meals that are served in “grab and go” fashion, and tutoring/mentoring as classes go online.
>> LSU coach Ed Orgeron started a trend of college football coaches commenting on COVID-19 in hopes of limiting exposure to the virus and "flattening the curve.” Alabama coach Nick Saban also released a video on the matter, and Frost followed suit in his comments made Tuesday night.
“"I think Nebraskans are following orders better than most people and staying away from each other. I think the key to that is the better we can do with those things right now, the quicker we can hopefully get back to a normal lifestyle,” Frost said. “Like I always am, I’m really proud of Nebraska and the leadership and the people here and how we're handling this.”
Frost ended his time on Tuesday saying he hopes things can get back to normal soon but that he knows there are bigger problems than football.
“There are people that aren’t going to work, aren’t getting paychecks, that are laid off,” Frost said. “Nebraska people need to all rally around each other and be supportive of people that are really in need. We’re looking for opportunities to do that as a football team too because I know there are people with bigger problems than we have and hopefully we all do what we’re supposed to do so we can get back to normal.”
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.