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They Said It: Scott Frost Discusses Huskers’ Win Over Illinois

November 10, 2018

Nebraska coach Scott Frost met with the media Saturday afternoon following the Huskers' 54-35 win over Illinois. Frost addressed the improved focus of the team, Devine Ozigbo, Adrian Martinez' steady improvement and Mick Stoltenberg being the heartbeat of the team.

Check out the full transcript from Frost's time at the podium.

On if he has seen an improvement in focus from the team:

“Focus is better, attention to detail is better. It’s just a process and it’s been a process all year. People are probably laughing at me because I keep saying it’s our best week of practice, our best Tuesday, it’s true. Our focus is better, our attention to detail is better. That’s going to lead to good things. We got some good breaks today. We were probably due some good breaks, but they made a couple mistakes and got us in good situations. You can’t take advantage of those if you’re not doing the right thing and are aware of where the ball is and it was our turn to get some plays.”

On what changed when Nebraska began to pull away from Illinois:

“We got a couple stops, a couple turnovers. There early on in the game, watching our offense execute, man it’s fun calling plays, it was a thing of beauty. Those guys were executing everything that we were calling. We didn’t stop ourselves until we got a holding penalty, which I think was the first drive that we didn’t score. They’re good on offense, that quarterback that was here, he can run, he was big. I didn’t know he was that big. Standing next to him, he’s bigger than I am. I thought the running back was really good, they had a good scheme. Defensive coaches did a good job adjusting to some things and getting some stops. Once we got some stops we were able to pull ahead.”

On what he was thinking when he called plays on three 4th downs:

“Getting three first downs, our percentage is probably up to about five percent now. It’s good to see. We felt good about the plays we had designed for third-and-short, fourth-and-short, third-and-medium. We went to them and the guys made them work, so that was a big drive to keep that one alive and go down there and get some points and we needed to come out of the halftime break and play well so that was big for us.”

On running back Devine Ozigbo:

“I can’t say enough about Devine. When we first got here I didn’t know what we had in Devine. Watching him last year, he was a completely different player from what I saw on tape last year. He deserves a ton of credit for inheriting a new coaching staff, going to work, doing what we asked of him, being patient as we were playing some other guys and he was just in a rotation. And he persevered through all of that. Sometimes in this day and age we want what we want right now and when we don’t get it, you leave, or you quit or you stop working. It says a lot about who Devine is that he kept going. To me, he’s playing at an All-Big Ten level. I know there’s other good backs in this league, but Devine’s consistent for us and making plays every week. I’m so happy for him that he’s shown the type of character that it takes to persevere what he’s gone through.”

On quarterback Adrian Martinez:

“Adrian is impressing me every week. And every week he gets a little more comfortable with the offense. Every week he’s making a few more better decisions. There’s still a couple things he needs to learn, and he learned a couple new things today on protections and some things. But there’s not going to be anybody better than him once he gets as good as he can be. He’s so fun to be on a team with because he was disappointed today that he didn’t play better. I don’t think he’s ever going to be happy until he plays a perfect game, which is never going to happen, so he’s going to be hungry.”

On special teams and the two turnovers they caused:

“About time. We still have a long ways to go on special teams. As our team’s depth improves and we add to the talent that we already have and that improves, it’s going to keep getting better. I thought the guys were assignment-sound today and opportunistic and again, they gave us a couple gifts, but our guys were there to take advantage of them and we need to start, like every other facet of our team, we need to start having some success in those areas and building on it so we can start to build.”

On what he saw in their defense during the game:

“They started pressuring us later in the game and they got a couple plays, but for the most part we knew they were going to be in (Tampa) two and man, and I think we kind of ran them out of two early with some of the pass plays we hit, and then we got to some of the run plays we like against the man, some misdirects and stuff. The running backs did a good job of popping those and when they made us keep the line did a good job blocking for Adrian or the backs. It was kind of a guessing game which defense they’d be in. We executed well on some of those things and were able to create some big plays.”

On the status of freshman running back Maurice Washington:

“He’s fine. He’s just nursing something and I think he could have gone back in but we were fine riding with Devine down the stretch.”

On the status of sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman:

“JD should be OK. I think he’s going to be sore but OK.”

On the importance of turning turnovers into points:

“It’s important and that’s the way I want it to look around here in the future. I want our offense to be rolling and humming like that, and an opportunistic defense. The way we play offense it’s going to be hard to imagine a defense that can hold somebody to three points every game, but that doesn’t matter if we can score and get some turnovers. So we need to build it that way, an aggressive attacking defense, might give up a few points but gets the ball back for us and if we’re as good as I hope we get on offense, that’s a formula to win.”

On if the interception that got kicked up in the end zone reminded him of anything:

“You’d have to ask somebody else that question, that’s the first time I thought about that. Adrian [Martinez] was disappointed. The play I pointed to, I think Marcus Mariota had broken a Pac-12 record for attempts without an interception and his first interception was on a ball that hit our receiver in the chest, went out of bounds in the air and a kid jumped from inbounds to out and threw it back in and intercepted it. Those things are going to happen. He [Adrian Martinez] was disappointed about the interception, you know you can’t plan for a ball getting kicked in the air, I’m glad it happens from time to time.”

On if the team has been paying closer attention to detail on all sides of the ball:

“Yeah, it’s everything. Gosh, we had a long way to go when we started. The team is starting to care about each other, they’re starting to care about the little things and see how the little things lead to the big things. As a coaching staff we’ve been preaching all year. It just wasn’t going to happen overnight. Until we got some of those things right we weren’t going to put ourselves in positions to win games and even when we did it was going to be tough to win the close ones. Now, some of those things are starting to get right. We’re going to play two good teams down the stretch, but we’re going to have a good chance if we play well.”

On if it was one of the colder games he’s been a part of as a coach:

“As a coach? Yeah I’d say as a coach it’s one of the coldest games I’ve been a part of. Definitely had some colder ones as a player.”

On the weather affecting the team:

“We actually went outside yesterday for our fast Friday practice and it was brutal yesterday morning. If we would’ve had to play in those conditions I don’t know how many passes we’d have been able to throw. The wind was howling from the North and little snowflakes were hitting you in the eyeballs and I’m glad we got the good weather today.”

On senior defensive lineman Mick Stoltenberg:

“Mick’s a warrior. He’s fighting through some knee issues and he’s good enough to play and contribute. He did a great job today, he got a sack and an interception, I never thought I’d see that, so I’m thrilled for him and it was great to see him get up and run off the field.”

On what it’s like to see the team playing for the seniors:

“The team is playing for them, that’s the best thing to see is that they care and they want those guys to have success. After the game, I won’t tell you all of it, but I didn’t have to talk to the team, because Mick [Stoltenberg] talked about finishing in the right way and where the young guys can take this program. Stanley [Morgan] was one of the first ones to cheer when he said that. The young guys want to see the old guys succeed on the way out and the old guys are excited about where the young guys are going to take this. That shows you what type of team it’s becoming.” 

On if he wants the players to take ownership of the team:

“I hope so. If we’ve got the right leaders. My senior year having Grant [Wistrom] and Jason [Peter] the coaches didn’t have to come in the locker room, and I can’t play anymore so it’s important that they think the right things and do the right things.”

On if he felt like he didn’t have to address the team in the postgame:

“I addressed them, but I felt like I didn’t need to because Mick [Stoltenberg] said everything that needed to be said.”

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