Scott Frost met with the media Saturday night following the Huskers’ 34-7 loss to Minnesota. IFrost spoke about his team’s lack of physicality, Noah Vedral’s play, where the team goes from here and more.
Here’s the transcript from his question-and-answer session postgame.
On what he saw
“I don’t know. I know I thought we had a team that was ready to play. I don’t think the weather had anything to do with it, I don’t think the cold had anything to do with it. We got pushed around on both sides of the ball up front. Made mistakes. Weren’t physical on the perimeter. We got pushed around a little bit tonight. Whether that’s a mindset, I don’t know. It’s disappointing.”
On what he told the team
“We had a long talk just now. I know where this is going. There’s going to be ups and downs. Things are never as good as you think and never as bad as you think but I know we need to get a lot better at some basic things and I want the guys to get away for a couple days and get ready to come back and go to work.
“We need to be a more physical team. We need to be a smarter team. I don’t like coaching a team that isn’t the most physical football team and we weren’t. I give them a ton of credit tonight. They were the more physical football team and we’re going to do whatever we have to to address that.”
On not being able to run the ball
“That was the difference. We started out pretty good on offense on three drives. Moved it into their territory. I thought Noah Vedral played with some guts, played well and made plays. First time we got it down there we went four-and-out. Second time I think we took a sack and killed the drive. Third time had a penalty. Then the two-minute drive we would have had another first down to start a set and we jumped offside on the perimeter. Those things can’t happen. But at the end of the day they rushed for 280, we rushed for 150. I don’t know the exact stats but they could rely on their run game. We couldn’t rely on it. We had some plays.
“We knew what run plays they were going to run, and they ran them and it worked. Right now we’re having to pick and choose run plays and scheme too much instead of just winning up front and being able to rely on our run game. That needs to get fixed. It’s not an easy fix, but we’re going to go to work and get really good at something in the run game that we can lay our hat on.”
On matchups at the line of scrimmage coming in
“They’re big, we need to get bigger in some spots but Zach Duval’s done a great job. I’ve seen some of the guys on our team move weight in the weigh room and when you move that much weight you shouldn’t get pushed around.
“Defensively at times we made plays but their backs would run through holes at full speed and ours sometimes did and sometimes didn’t. Their receivers went and blocked second-level guys, ours sometimes did and sometimes didn’t. Their guys stayed on blocks, ours sometimes did and sometimes didn’t. At the end of the day, if you can rely on a run game, you’re going to put your team in good spots and everything else in your offense works.
“We need to have a more reliable run game without having to lean on our quarterback having to run all the time. We have two quarterbacks nicked up right now because that’s been some of our most productive runs. I’m not used to coaching an offense like that.”
On what realistic progress will look like after the bye
“First of all, I want to get healthy. There’s several guys nicked up. Several guys have been playing through a lot of things. I think the guys need to get away for a little bit and recuperate mentally and physically, but when we come back the basics of what we do need to be better. We need to come off the ball better up front, we need to tackle better, we need to block better on the perimeter, we need to run more precise routes. All the little things.
“We can scheme up any offensive play or call that you want to and if those things aren’t firing on all cylinders and we don’t win those things, it doesn’t matter what we call. I thought at times we did things pretty well tonight but it’s just not reliable enough for us to finish drives. Particularly on offense, we had a few big plays but we don’t have enough weapons right now to count on those plays scoring, and that means we have to sustain drives and in order to sustain drives you need to be more reliable and make fewer mistakes.”
On the third quarter fake punt
“We had to try something. We tried a fake punt and they were looking for it, so that probably wasn’t the right situation, but we can’t put ourselves in that situation.
“We didn’t have very disciplined eyes on defense on a couple plays and gave them some easy throws. We’re lucky they dropped one because the guy was completely uncovered.
“Again, it goes back to me that they were running three or four run schemes, we knew what they were going to be coming in, they ran them and they worked. When those things happen, you’ve got to bring more people up into the box to try to get the run stopped and then all the other stuff works off it. I give them credit for that. We need to be more like that on offense and we need to be more physical on defense so they can’t put us in those situations.”
On the running back usage and losing Wan’Dale Robinson early
“We need more reliable weapons. Not more reliable weapons but more people that are reliable weapons on offense right now. It just is what it is. Last game, when JD went down, had Wan’Dale and he was making plays. Today with Wan’Dale down, we were one down again. Waiting for more guys to step up and make some plays. We still need more of them. We’ve been waiting on some of these guys to step up and make plays for a long time and it just hasn’t happened yet.
“Listen, I love this team. I love the guys. I love the attitude. But, we’ve got to continue to get better day-by-day. That’s our mantra. Last year this team came into Lincoln and we beat them pretty good and they returned the favor this year. We’re still in a better place this year than we were at this time last year and I’m pleased with that part of it, but we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do and we’re going to get to that work next week.”
On Noah Vedral’s play
“Noah had a great week of practice and, to be honest with you, offensively we simplified things offensively a bit to kind of get back to the basics of what we do. I thought practice was as clean as it’s been since I’ve been at Nebraska, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t win the line of scrimmage. That doesn’t matter if you’re not getting up on the perimeter and doing those little, basic things well. And at times we did. Again, I’m not going to act like nothing good happened out there or the sky’s falling, but we need to do it more consistently in order to sustain drives and make things happen and we’ve got to be the more physical team.”
On Minnesota’s pass rush and getting home with four rushers
“Another basic piece of football. They got pressure on us once with a three-man rush and honestly I think we held and they didn’t call it. We’ve got to give our quarterbacks more time. We’ve got to get open better. It doesn’t matter what scheme we’re in, if those things aren’t happening you’re not going to be real successful.
“I’m going to be really anxious to get back out on the field in a couple weeks and I think the guys are going to be, too.”