Coach Scott Frost met with the media Saturday evening following the Huskers’ 13-10 win over Northwestern. The Huskers’ won a classic Big Ten game on a last second field goal by Lane McCallum. Scott Frost spoke with the media about the game-winning kick, the various injuries in the game, Maurice Washington missing the first half and more.
Here’s the transcript from his question-and-answer session postgame.
On what was said to Lane McCallum before he kicked
"I called him a name and said go make it, and sometimes levity is better. I'm 44 years old. I could have jumped as high as he kicked that, but it got through. I think we were due a break somewhere. I’m happy for him. He made two out of three, and that was enough."
On sophomore place-kicker Lane McCallum
"We're certainly not so deep in certain positions. I think quarterback's one of them [with depth]. Had a lot of confidence in Noah [Vedral] coming in. He's looked really good in practice. [It] was great to see him have some success. We are kind of running out of guys at some other spots. I thought Wan’Dale [Robinson] stepped up when we needed him to and was a real weapon for us. Sometimes when you play well and lose its really hard, and sometimes you don't play your best and you win. That's a lot better. But some of the guys that were forced into duty I think did a really good job."
On quarterback Noah Vedral
"We had the ball on the 50 there. Well, his first drive was backed up a little. We're just kind of trying to probe and find ways we could move the ball and get a drive started. Also making sure we didn't do something and turn the ball over. I told the guys before the game I thought if we didn't turn the ball over in this game, we’d win. I think that turned out to be true. I think it probably should have been a little easier than it was. But they turned it over, and we didn't and really that was the difference in the game."
On the game-winning kick
"Of course, it would happen that way. I mean, it's making me old before my time, some of these things and not having a healthy scholarship kicker certainly hasn't been ideal for us. We've been searching for a guy that we can use. Lane’s been the best. Glad we picked him the way this turned out. We’ve got to get some of those issues addressed, but worked out for us today."
On sending McCallum back out after he missed a kick in the third quarter
"We talked about it. There's a couple other guys that have been kicking pretty well in practice, including a guy [Matt Waldoch] that's only been working for a couple weeks. I asked him the other day if he was going to get nervous. I use a different term, but get nervous if he had to kick in front of 80-some-thousand and his answer was good. He said, ‘No. I've kicked, I played soccer in front of 50 people in high school. So, I think I'll be OK.’ But it's hard to put a kid in there that has never done it in a game, and Lane was the obvious choice and punched it through."
On in-state players toward the end of the game
"Noah made a couple big plays. Obviously, Lane’s going to be the hero. Noah came in, Noah’s been biding his time in our program as a coaching staff for a long time. It's great to see him get his chance. I wish it wasn’t under the circumstances it was under, but he made the most of it. I think [he] made a couple plays when we needed him to, and we'll see where we are going into next week. Hopefully, it's Adrian [Martinez]. If it isn't then Noah [will] be ready."
On the misfires on offense
“I told the team we need to address this. We haven't played well coming out of halftime in a few games. So, I don't know whether to line them up and scrimmage for a couple plays before we start second half of what to do. But other than that drive and the field goal where really it was the kickoff team that put them in position, the defense played really well and it's a good thing they did because we sputtered on offense. A ton of credit to Northwestern. You know, watching tape when a team holds Wisconsin and other teams to the points that they have, that's a well-coached, physical defense. It certainly didn't hurt that we were down a few weapons throughout a lot of the game, but we need to play better on offense. Good to see the defense do well, so I know how many misfires there were, a ton of credit goes to Coach Fitzgerald and his team as well.”
On sophomore running back Maurice Washington
“I held him out of the first half because of internal things and rules. Mo is such a special player, but we need to be able to rely on him all the time. And that was my decision to hold him out the first time.”
On freshman wide receiver/running back Wan’dale Robinson
“He's not afraid of much. He wants the ball in these situations. I said the same thing after the Illinois game. He's going to be a weapon for us around here for a long time. But, we need some other guys to step up and be weapons. It really shows itself when JD [Spielman] is not out there, and we need guys to step up and keep being in the right place and making plays. Wan’Dale has proven himself to be a guy that we can rely on when we need him.”
On play calling without JD Spielman
“They’re a tough defense anyway, and a lot of people have struggled to put up a lot of points against them. I think what they do is smart for their personnel. They sit back in zone and try to make you throw everything in front of them and then they rally up and hit you. They think their guys in the box are big and stout enough to stop you with maybe a hat down in the box, and a lot of times they are. They’re not going to let you get behind them. So, you have to put drives together and piece it together. There's certain things we designed for Wan’Dale, and we design for JD and we designed a shovel pass to Wan’Dale tonight and it should have led to points. So we're going to design certain things for certain guys the rest of it. The ball is going to find guys when they're open. Then I wouldn't say it changes my play calling, other than taking those plays that are specifically designed for him for certain people out of the equation.”
On if he knows the extent of Adrian Martinez and JD Spielman’s injuries
“Not yet. Neither one is too serious, but I don't know the details yet.”
On quarterback Noah Vedral
“Noah can run our whole offense. He has been for a few years now and he's probably the most familiar of anybody on our team with what we're doing because he's been around it the longest.”
On how Noah Vedral handled the game
“He handled it great and I think it was plugged into what we wanted to do. The long pass down the sideline to Wan’Dale that got us in field goal range was something that wasn't even on the call sheet. So we are just kind of trying to adjust and get him in something that we thought would work based on the way they were rotating on that motion. He made a good throw. Wan’Dale made a good play. It was great to see him on that last play we called something that we hadn't practiced, but I just wanted to get the ball in the middle of the field, and he knew that and understood it and got some yards and got down. We got the time out and squeaked a field goal over their D-line for the win. So, a lot of credit to Noah. I'm happy for him.”
“Probably not a surprise. We need to play better. We need to finish a couple of those drives. They are a really well-coached team, and they don't beat themselves very often And they kind of did today at the end. They threw the interception that made the difference. Last year we had the strip sack that probably made the difference. When you're in a tight game, special teams and turnovers are the difference and I think that last pick we got probably was the play of the day.”