Nebraska coach Scott Frost addressed the media on Saturday following the Huskers' loss at the hands of the Troy Trojans 24-19.
Frost was asked about teaching a team how to win, improving special teams and what needs to be worked on this week in prepartion for Michigan.
What were the most important takeaways from the first games?
“We still have a lot of work to do. I think we’re a better team than what the results say we are, but that doesn’t matter. I just got done telling the team that when things get tough like this, you’ve got two choices; you fight back and you work even harder or you give up. I also told them that if anyone doesn’t want to stay on board this ride with us, let me know now and we can get off. I know where this is going, we just haven’t had the results early that we need.”
What was the mentality of the team on the sideline?
“There’s no reverting back to 2017. We just have to make sure that everybody does a better job and that everybody practices habits that lead to championships. We have a lot to fix, the coaches have a lot to fix and the players have a lot to fix. Little things lead to small things and the same small things that hit us today like spot and end points, giving up special teams plays, turning the ball over, dumb penalties. I can’t tell you how much we talked about that all week and it happens again. So, we’ve got to do a better job as coaches.”
Is there a method to teaching a team how to win?
“It’s just got to happen. They’ve been working hard enough and they deserve to win. They deserve to win a bunch of games as hard as they’ve been working. Sometimes it’s got to happen, and once it does things get a lot better but I’ve got a bunch of guys in the locker room that are broken hearted and it doesn’t hurt anyone worse than the coaches and those guys in the locker room. Nobody is happy with what’s happening. So, we all have a lot of work to do.”
How did you think quarterback Andrew Bunch performed?
“I thought he did a good job getting thrown into that situation, both kids did. We’ve started two kids that are both freshmen in their first start ever and our first two games after we lost that first one. I thought [true freshman] Adrian [Martinez] played really well in the first one. For what we asked [sophomore] Bunch to do, I thought he did a good job. We kind of wanted to ugly the game up and not lean on him early. That’s impossible to do once you give up the punt return and turn the ball over and you spot them two scores. We had to lean on him, and when we asked him to make throws. I thought he made some really good throws and did some good things. We got off of our rhythm and off of our game plan early and what we went into the game wanting to do because of how the first quarter went.”
Was there any thought of bringing in Adrian Martinez?
“No, Adrian wasn’t ready to go today. He actually looked really good in warmups, but we were just worried about it. Look, he’s going to be here a long time, and our decision will be made based on his long-term health more than anything. That wasn’t an option.”
What will the team focus on most in practice this week?
“What are we going to work on the most? Football.”
How do you go about improving special teams?
“It’s gotta matter. It’s gotta matter to everybody more. We had great effort in special teams this week, a lot better attention to detail. One penalty is on me. I got done with the drive, was frustrated, we didn’t get it in the end zone. I wasn’t even looking at the play clock, and we got a delay of game penalty. I don’t know if he would have made that or not. Certainly don’t want to burn a timeout there. We've got to take the field better and get that whole thing going faster, but that one is on me. Field position, other than them muffing a punt, was decidedly in their favor, and we have to fix that. We've got to be able to make some plays on special teams, and those kind of things in a tight game, those are the key things in a tight game.”
Do you think the offensive line took a step back?
“I don’t know. I have to watch the film. We certainly didn’t run for as many yards. Now if I was the D coordinator on the other side and I saw another quarterback and a redshirt freshman making his first start, I’d get a lot of people in the box and that’s what they did. They were inserting their Will off the weak side, safety to the field. Sending people, giving us different looks. They were kind of giving us underneath routes, not deep ones, because they were getting a lot of people in the box and playing deep over the top of everything. Really the way to beat it was an intermediate passing game, maybe some quarterback runs. We just didn’t want to sell out with that game plan. We thought we’d be able to run it on them, and at times we did. Just not consistently enough.”
How did you feel the defense performed?
“Same thing, I thought at times they played great, again I’ve got to watch the tape. We needed the Blackshirts and the Pipeline to win this game today, and rally and win it, and special teams. I think at times, all those position groups did good enough to win, but as a whole, you’ve got to give a lot of credit to Troy for coming in and making more plays than us.”
Do you think the group in the locker room is the kind to fight back?
“When I got here I heard that last year that’s not what happened. This year, that’s not the sense I get from them. The sense I get from them is they want to be great. The effort they’ve been giving us leads me to believe they want to be great. We have a tough game next week, and this will get worse before it gets better but it’s always darkest before the dawn. I know where this is going, so I want every guy in that locker room to be on board.”
Is there a need to alter your philosophical approach to coaching a team that just lost two close games?
“If I change who I am and what I do, and our coaches change who they are and what they do because of results, then we’re not being honest in the first place. We’re not being real in the first place. We might work even harder, redouble our efforts, try to keep trying to fix the things that are wrong, but nobody’s going to change.”
Are there parallels between this team and the UCF team his first year?
“It’s not about a different team it’s about this one, but I think anytime you’re trying to get something fixed you have to figure out how to win, you have to figure out how not to make mistakes that get you beat. Year ones, usually in close games, those teams don’t win the close games. By year two, when you have culture and everything established, usually you win those close games. We’re not doing the little things right to win close games, and we’ve been in two of them. We’re 0 and 2.”
Did you get an explanation on junior inside linebacker Mohamed Barry’s targeting call?
“He was on the other sideline and I didn’t see it, so I’m sure it will be reviewed and looked at it. I know Mo, he plays his tail off and he’s not malicious, so if it happened I know it wasn’t intentional. That’s all I can say about it.”