Nebraska coach Scott Frost addressed the media on Saturday following the Huskers' win over the South Alabama Jaguars, 35-21.
Frost was asked about the offensive breakdowns, the defense’s big day, Wan’Dale Robinson’s debut and more.
“Anytime you get a win it’s a good thing. This team needs to get some wins under its belt and get some confidence. That being said, I think there’s a lot of good things and disappointing things that happened today. I was really happy with the defense for the most part. They gave up a couple of drives, but the defense won the game for us. The defense that I’ve been seeing all of fall camp showed up today. Got us the ball back, got some turnovers, scored on defense, scored on special teams. We still did some sloppy things. That’s as anemic of an offensive effort that I’ve been a part of for a long time. That’s not the offense that I’ve seen all of fall camp, so we need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what happened today, but I give a ton of credit to them (South Alabama) and their coaching staff. They did a good job. Their kids came in and fought. We have to have a great week because we play a good team and an ex-rival next week.
Only other thing to add, just want to clarify, the decision was made Thursday night or Friday morning between coaching staff, administration and campus that Mo Washington would serve a half-game suspension in addition to internal punishment and discipline he already has. We won’t consider any conditional discipline for him until the matter is completely adjudicated. So, the plan was to sit him the first half and play him in the second. He’ll play going forward, and I won’t have any other comment about it until it’s adjudicated in California.”
On what he thought contributed to the offensive breakdowns
“You know I’m not sure. We felt really good about the game plan coming in. The one thing I want to go back and look at is if we had too much, but we have a lot of veterans on the offense and you wouldn’t think it would affect them. We actually went into the game with fewer plays than we went into a bunch games the second half of last year with. Again, I give a bunch of credit to them. They were rolling down to a single high and getting extra people in the box making it hard to run, but we have to run the ball better than that. Thought we made some bad decisions with the ball. We were in bad second-down situations a lot. Makes it hard to call a game when you’re not having success on first down. So, we’ll take a look at it as a coaching staff. I’m extremely excited with the way the offense has played through fall camp. So hopefully this wasn’t indicative of what we’re going to get, but I think the guys are going to be hungry to come back and practice.”
On quarterback Adrian Martinez’s play
“I’m not worried about Adrian because I know how he can play and who he is, but I don’t think he had his best game. If that’s our fault for putting him in bad situations, we’ll get it fixed. I don’t think he was quite as clean and decisive as I usually see him and when he takes off, I want to see him go because I know what kind of runner he is. We put him in bad situations too being behind the sticks. I think the snaps being high a lot through him off a little bit. Having to play catch back there, and that’s probably a function of having a center that has had reps limited due to an injury during camp. So those are all things that we have to look at and try to get fixed, but we have to get a lot cleaner on offense.”
On center/quarterback chemistry at camp
“We’ve had a few little issues here and there, but nothing like last year and nothing like what I saw today. Whether that’s first time playing, I don’t know. But we’re going to work to get it clean.”
On the offense
“We keep talking about the bad part of the game, but the good part of the game is that the defense made a lot of really good plays. I was thrilled to see Cam Taylor make some great plays. Eric Lee Jr., who came into the game as a back-up, made several great plays. His interception for a touchdown was one of them, but the play before he covered a lot of grass in the middle of the field and got a breakout pass break-up. We had pressure on the quarterback, we turned the ball over, we have to keep doing those things and then get the rest fixed. Offensively, I don’t have any doubt on what we can do on offense. We’ve been doing it a long time as a coaching staff and we have the right pieces to do it, so we’ll go back to the lab and figure it out.”
On the defense
“The way they ran to the ball and hit. I saw a lot of hats around the ball, I saw a lot of different guys doing that and the fact that they were ball aware and ball disruptive today, getting hands on balls and creating turnovers. We’ll get this offense juiced up and going and when we get it going, turnovers are going to help us win games.”
On senior safety Eric Lee Jr. and junior safety Marquel Dismuke
“Eric switched from corner to safety and he’s also playing some nickel and dime linebacker for us now. Him and Marquel Dismuke both had good games today minus one defensive holding that we have to get cleaned up. But those two guys have persevered through a lot. They’ve been in my bad graces a little bit going back to when I first got here. They’re doing everything the right way now. They’re good teammates. Marquel had a chance on JD’s punt return to light someone up. With the new blind-side block rule, we’ve told our guys that a disciplined team is going to throw their hands up and shield and not get the penalty. An undisciplined team is going to light him up anyway like Mike Rucker [former Husker defensive end] at Kansas State. Marquel did the right thing, and I was so excited for him. I went up to him on the bench because that was worth seven points to us.”
On the team’s evaluation of today’s performance
“I think it’s pretty much 50/50. I think the defense is pretty excited and ready to build on it. I think we had a lot of disappointed offensive guys on the outcome. Since I’m calling the offense, I was one of those. But again, I’m thrilled to see the Blackshirts that we expect, at least for most of the game. We’ll get the offense fixed. We have too many weapons and got players not to.”
On depth of the center position
“We held Cam [Jurgens]. We had a plan for a lot of these things going into the game and the plan with Cam was to put him on a play count. We actually went past that play count a little bit. But early in the third quarter, we were going to play him one more series, but then we got the defensive touchdown and the special team’s touchdown. He had been sitting so long in the third quarter that we decided to shut him down. I assume he’s healthy and ready to go and we’ll keep working him this week along with Will [Farniok].
On the successful play of Eric Lee after staying with Nebraska through coaching turnovers
"If you look to our secondary, we've got a lot of guys that persevered through the coaching change and what we were expecting of them, and now they're some of our best teammates and today some of our best players. Lamar Jackson, Eric Lee, Marquel Dismuke, there's others. Those guys were here when we got here and it takes a while to learn what we expect and want guys to do things and what the standards are. Those guys aren't just living up to the standards now, they're setting other people to standards and setting a new standard. I'm glad to see those guys having the success they're having and they deserve it."
On confidence being an issue heading into the game
"You know, I didn't know heading into this game that there's a lot of buzz around us. You know, we're ranked in the top 25. We certainly didn't look like that type of team today. I know we can be based on what I've seen in practice. I didn't know if we'd be a little over-confident or not confident enough. I don't really think any of that was the issue. I just don't think that we executed very well for whatever reason, and we'll get it figured out."
On Dylan Jorgensen kicking in the game
"Dylan did a good job. You know, kickers have one job, they're supposed to kick and they need to get warmed up to kick and to make sure that they stay healthy for the five plays that they're in, in practice or during a game. I'm being a little sarcastic, but I love Barret (Pickering). He's got a little tweak right now so we decided to hold him out of this game. It was good to see a walk-on kid from right here in town to come in and hit some kicks for us. The kick before half would have been big for us, but first game I thought he did a really good job."
On the injury status of Deontai Williams
"I don't know yet. Just got to the locker room. We're not going to talk about injuries a lot anyway."
On the decision to sit Maurice Washington
"Like I said, it was from administration, campus leaders and coaching staff."
On how the situation with Washington will play out
"I'm not going to add any other comment about it, it doesn't make any sense for me to add anything on an on-going legal matter."
On what Cam Taylor brings to the team
"Cam had a big game for us. I saw him make some great hits, obviously the sack fumble. The play at the end of the game when he got tackled at the end. He can play all four different defensive back spots including nickel and he's a baller. I can't say enough about their team and how they came in and fought today, and I can't say enough about our defense and how opportunistic they were and it's a good thing we played well on defense and special teams because offensively we weren't up to our standard."
On Wan’Dale Robinson's utility and first day
"I thought he had a good first day. I think if the offense could have kept the ball longer, he could have gotten more opportunities. He's going to be more versatile as time goes on and as he learns and is more comfortable in different spots. Some of the guys on offense, we've got to get into a little bit of shape. I think its got to do with nicks in training camp and missed time and are just getting back to healthy. You know Kanawai [Noa] was that way and Wan’Dale [Robinson] was that way and Cam [Jurgens] was that way and a few others, so that's one thing we'll look at, but I thought Wan’dale did some pretty special things when he had the ball in his hands, and we'll keep looking to get that done."