Photo Credit: Eric Francis

They Said It: Scott Frost Discusses Nebraska’s 23-20 Overtime Loss to Michigan State

September 25, 2021

Nebraska coach Scott Frost met with the media following the Huskers’ 23-20 loss to Michigan State. He spoke about special teams woes, the defensive performance, where the team can go from here and more.

Here is the full transcript from his time with the media.

On what happened on the punt Michigan State returned for a touchdown:

“It’s pretty simple. That’s a punt where we’re supposed to kick the ball to the right sideline and the ball went to the left sideline.”

On what can be said about the loss after the second half performance:

“We had a spirited talk in the locker room. I told the guys I don’t want them hanging their head. We got a really good football team. Little things need to change and I kind of said it at halftime to the guys. I felt like I was watching the same movie again. I told them they got to change the record. We can’t have four false starts with the offensive lineman. Coach (Greg) Austin stands behind those guys every day in practice and yells move and gets the defensive line to shift. Everything we know how to do to keep them from doing it. They got to stay calm and do their job and not jump offsides. It probably cost us points in the first half. We got to punt the ball. We have guys at the university specifically for the reason to punt it and we have a couple of 10-yard punts that almost cost us and right when we need it the most we kick it to the wrong side of the field. Some of the coverage guys didn’t see it and it cost us the game. I’m tired of it and a lot of the guys are. We have a ton of guys that battled their butt off out there today. I told them I don’t want anybody to hang their head. We have a really good football team. This team has to change the record. I can’t go out there and stay set for them. I can keep trying to fix it. These guys got to do it and we got a good enough football team to do that. They got to get sick of this stuff. I’m sick of it, they’re sick of it. We got to be able to count on guys when we need them to do their job.”

On the drive that gave Nebraska the lead in the second half:

“A couple plays hurt us. When we went down and scored I was really proud of the way the guys executed that drive. We got to finish the drive that just started the third quarter. A touchdown would have been nice. They got to get defense. I give that team a lot of credit. When we went down and scored then got a stop, a couple first downs end it. Right when we need it, as often as we practice our option stuff a ball is on the ground. It can’t happen. Then the punt happens and that can’t happen. These guys got to get sick of it enough to do stuff perfect all the time and understand that when you need it the most you fall back on your training. You don’t rise to the occasion, you fall back on your training. I feel terrible for them because the defense is playing really well right now and we didn’t have any business losing that game.”

On the first play of overtime:

“We got exactly what we wanted. We rehearshed that play. I think we had Levi (Falck) running wide open up the seam. I think Omar had a chance in the back of the endzone. We didn’t throw it.”

On if anything different could have happened on the interception in overtime:

“No but we wanted to be aggressive in overtime and I think we had the right play call on first down. We didn’t execute on second down. It’s unfortunate but if that ball was a little higher I think he catches and gets the first down. He has to go down and catch it and it’s 3rd and 4. I kind of thought he might have the inside slant to throw. Anytime you run a slant you have to cross the defensive backs’ face. We had that played prepped just for that situation and we didn’t execute at the right time but it shouldn’t come down to that.”

On how special teams can be fixed in the middle of the season:

“It wasn’t just the punter. We got to catch punts. We probably gave up 300 yards of hidden yardage. 200 to 300 yards of hidden yards on special teams. We didn’t cover kicks well. The punt was huge and letting the ball roll out on their punts is huge. That’s all yards we can’t get back. Coach Dawson’s doing as good a job as he knows how to do. As good a job as I know how to tell him to do. We got to do better. At some point, we got to be able to trust guys to do the things that they were brought here to do.”

On if he tried to use his timeouts to score at the end of regulation:

“I wanted to go score until we took the sack. Then once we took the sack, I think there was 18 seconds left or something when looked up at the clock. At that point I think more bad things can happen than good.”

On how many guys are sick of seeing the same things happen over again:

“These guys have done so much work to improve and get better. This hasn’t been easy for this team and it hasn’t been easy for me. From where we started to where we are right now we’re a way better team. We got to get the pilot light lit and get over the hump in a couple of these games and get on a roll. That just hasn’t happened. It hadn’t happened because right when we need things happen, people let us down. I got to do a better job. It’s the same thing again. We got to be tough enough that when you get a sack to stop and not throw the guy down. We had to happen in the Illinois game. We showed the team and we talked about it. But it’s not just physical toughness. It’s a mental toughness to stay set your stance to let the quarterback go. Punt the ball where you’re supposed to. To do all those little things right. A veteran team does those things. A young team doesn’t. That’s been part of the reason we haven’t done it. There’s a lot of kids sick to their stomach in that locker room because they do things right. The ones that aren’t need to hear from the ones that are.”

On if he’s been around a defensive performance like the one from his team tonight:

“No, probably not. I expect to see a lot more from those guys. We’re playing a high level on defense. That’s why it’s so mystifying that we punt the ball 40 yards off target. We should have gotten first down and kept the clock going. Field position would have been better if you go back before that we let it roll out to the 20 instead of fielding it on the 35. The field position is different there too. Those things matter. I don’t think Coach Dawson can try to detail stuff much better in practice, but we’re going to try because it’s got to be better. Get a first down and keep it going. But we have a punt call we’re supposed to roll right and punt right. I’d rather see the ball land 30 yards out of bounds than miss your target by 30 yards. We got to be able to count on guys.”

On Zavier Betts’ availability in the second half:

“No, Zavier was not available in the second half.”

On Adrian Martinez’ performance:

“Adrian is a really good player and he’s had ups and downs at Nebraska too. He’s gotten all sorts of crazy praise and all sorts of criticism. He’s one of the best players that I’ve been around. I think one of the best players in the country and we rely on him. He did enough to tonight for us to win. A lot of guys did enough for us to win. It’s a crying shame.”

On where Martinez got hurt:

“We called a play that I think we probably shouldn’t have on a third and long. We asked him to run the ball. That goes back to we got to be ready to play. We can’t give up a sack on the first play of the game and .5 seconds. That put us in a bad situation. We call the quarterback draw. He got hit, went in for x-rays and everything was good. He came back and played as well.”

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