Scott Frost said Thursday when he met with the media he’s not going to look at yards per play or any of those more macro statistics. If there’s an analytic out there that will tell him success when calling pass plays out of a given formation, he’ll look at it, but “I’m a statistics guy only if it’s something I need to know … I know when we’re getting first downs and scoring. We’ve been doing that a lot more lately.”
So, if the head ball coach isn’t parsing Bill Connelly’s updated numbers every week, how does he measure offensive success?
“It all comes down to wins,” he said. “I’d rather win a game 2-0 than lose one 61-60. Right now, we’re going to have to score points to win games. That’s just the way it is, our defense continues to get better too, but I don’t think we’re going to win any 10-3 right now, in the Big Ten at least.”
Offensively, the Huskers have scored more points in the last three weeks (129) than they did in the first five (109) so it probably makes sense the first five games produced a 0-5 record and the last three have produced a 2-1 record. (Don’t bring up Northwestern. Don’t bring up Northwestern. Don’t bring up Northwestern.)
Add it all up and the end result is simply a more confident team. Things have changed drastically since the last time Nebraska went on the road to face a Big Ten power.
“To be honest, when we went up to Ann Arbor I’m not sure the team thought they could win,” Frost said. “I think they wanted to but I’m not sure deep down if some of the guys didn’t think they could win. I think we have a team that’s going up there thinking we’ve got a chance if we play well. That’s a big change and improvement.
“We’re playing a really good team, we’re going to have to play our absolute best to have a chance, but I think the mindset’s in the right place.”
Winning football games has helped sooth a lot of irritation, but the mood is just generally happier inside Memorial Stadium right now. Frost said the team is having fun playing football again.
“Guys are doing everything the right way now, guys are practicing hard, they’re playing for each other,” he said. “A lot of the things we’re trying to get done, that makes the attitude better. Certainly winning and expecting to win, those things help too, but all that has continued to improve and will continue to improve.”
Other News and Notes
>> Frost confirmed defensive end DaiShon Neal will miss the rest of the season after having season-ending surgery Wednesday. Neal posted about it on Twitter and though Frost didn’t want to get into the specifics, he did say Neal had been “gutting it out with an issue for a while and he just couldn’t go anymore.”
Surgery Went Well. Thank you for the Prayers and well wishes! #GBR
— DJ (@DaiShonNeal9) October 31, 2018
Sophomore end Ben Stille said Tuesday that part of senior Mick Stoltenberg depth chart move from nose tackle to end had to do with helping depth at the position with Neal out. Expect to see Stoltenberg at end if the Huskers give Stille and Freedom Akinmoladun a rest; sophomore Deontre Thomas will redshirt this season and won’t be available.
>> Sophomore Noah Vedral will be the Huskers’ No. 2 quarterback moving forward. Frost said sophomore Andrew Bunch is “perfectly capable and ready to come in, too,” but the backup spot is now Vedral’s.
>> A lot has gone into the re-emergence of Nebraska’s running game after last season’s struggles. A lot of credit rests with senior Devine Ozigbo’s transformation, Adrian Martinez’s dual-threat ability and Maurice Washington’s sheer talent. There’s also an improved offensive line and a scheme that breeds explosive runs.
Frost talked about both Thursday. First, on the offensive line:
“Offensive line has been getting better every week. Our two young tackles have really grown up, Jerald [Foster] and Tanner [Farmer] have done a good job for us, Boe [Wilson] has come in and given us a spark. Those guys as a unit, they’re playing pretty well.
“We’ve been lucky we’ve stayed healthy at that position. Coach Austin’s doing a great job with them. We couldn’t be doing what we’re doing on offense without those guys improving and playing well.”
Then, on his scheme:
“Scheme has a lot to do with it, but you can have the best scheme in the country but if you don’t have the right players running it it’s not going to work. And if you do have the right players running it, about any scheme works. I think our scheme gives opportunities for big plays in the running game and we’re able to find ways to manufacture space and create more on the offensive line, but without Adrian and Devine and those guys, those things wouldn’t happen. Most of the credit’s got to go to them.”
On the ground, 10 yards is considered the threshold for an explosive play. Nebraska has produced 68 such gains this season. It had 44 last year.
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.