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Nebraska football team waits to run out onto the field before game
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

They Said It: Scott Frost Talks Nebraska’s 30-23 Win Over Penn State

November 14, 2020

Coach Scott Frost met with the media Saturday following the Huskers’ 30-23 win over Penn State. He spoke about quarterback Luke McCaffrey’s first start, how the defense played, the need for this win and more.

Here’s the transcript from his question-and-answer session postgame.

On the way the defense played today:

“It’s always better to learn after a win than a loss. There’s still a lot of things we need to clean up but I feel like the team needed to turn the page on being in some of those games and not finding a way to get it done. I think everybody in Nebraska can see the progress the defense has made and how much more athletic we are how much harder they play, how much smarter they play and credit to coach Chinander and the defensive staff. I’m so happy for the kids. So happy for the coaching staff. So happy for Nebraska fans that have been waiting on this as impatiently as I have and it certainly wasn’t the prettiest game, but anytime you win I think it’s going to boost us going forward.”

On Luke McCaffrey:

“That decision was one of the hardest since I’ve ever made. I think so much of who Adrian Martinez is as a football player and as a person. He’s been through a lot with us. He certainly practiced well enough to play so it was a tough decision. We went with Luke, I thought considering it was his first start he did a lot of really good things and there’s a lot there to build on, but we have two unbelievable individuals at that position and I was happy for Luke today.”

On Zavier Betts:

“We just decided to try to find a way to get a couple guys the ball and some of them pop some of them didn’t. That kid has a chance. Zavier has a chance to be a really good football player here. Since he got here he’s become more and more committed to trying to be really good. If he commits himself to this and knows what he’s doing all the time and does things the right way he’s going to find his way on the field and he’s got a chance to be a special player for us. It means a lot to me. I care about all the kids so much but just see a homegrown kid have that kind of success is really special.”

On Dedrick Mills:

“Dedrick got nicked up. He’s going to be fine but you know we got to clean some things up as a coaching staff. Obviously, there’s a lot to build on here. There is a lot to still improve. Dedrick got nicked up and that kind of affected us. Moving Wan’Dale to running back and getting some of the personnel right. We got a lot of personnel groups more than I’m used to dealing with as we’re trying to get young guys involved and the coaching staff myself included have do a better job in making sure we get the right people on the field especially to start drives. But Mills will be fine. He just couldn’t finish the game and we ended up playing Wan’Dale at running back probably a little more than we expected.”

On the need for a win:

“The state needed it. The team needed it. I needed it. And we talked at halftime and I talked to them frankly that we’ve been in this situation before and when we came off coverage and missed a sack and they threw a long pass down to the one felt like the Colorado game a year ago. You need to learn how to win and I think winning will help the kids know they can win and find ways to win going forward. I’m certainly not happy with how a lot of things went in the second half. I don’t think that game should have been as close as it was but when we find a way to win hopefully again that we’ve turned a corner there and next time we’re in that situation will put the hammer down.”

On Wan’Dale Robinson:

“Wan’Dale can do about anything we ask him to do on the field. We try to get him a couple quick screens and shovel pass and trying to find ways to get him the ball. That game was a little strange that we went into the game with kind of one plan and when we got ahead you’re kind of caught in still continuing with the game plan and being aggressive and making sure that we don’t go fast and put our defense out there too much. I think the defense still played 90 some snaps compared to our 60 on offense. Wan’Dale is one of our best players and he can do about anything you ask him to do so I expect him to keep getting the ball and having breakout games.”

On Penn State’s turnovers:

“Those are huge and we’re playing a really good team. I give a lot of credit to Penn State for what they built there. This is such a strange year with COVID and everything going on and not having a preseason. I talked about that this week and going straight into conference play you can win or lose every week. Penn State is the best team with that record that I’ve ever seen. You know they probably should have one week one and then played a really good team and just had some bad things happen to them in week three. You need those turnovers and you got to take advantage of because you never know when they’re going to happen to you. And that’s kind of the tale of two halves. We got those plays in the first half. In the second half we called the pass play in the fourth quarter and had a guy open and they had really good pass rushers and got to us and the ball went up in the air and they got one so when you get those plays in this league you got to take advantage of them because they turn around and bite you too. ”

On the cornerbacks:

“Yeah that was impressive wasn’t it? I mean I’ve been here three years and seeing us give up some fades and get pass interference penalties and watching Cam and Dicaprio and Quinton Newsome and Deontai break up some of those passes and be in the right position and not get penalties. I think it shows the improvement that those guys have made. Coach Fisher deserves a lot of credit for that and I thought they played not just a good game but a smart game”

On the offense in the second half:

“Well probably the biggest issue is Penn State has a really talented defense. We need to capitalize still. Maybe I got a little too conservative this time. We threw two interceptions in the red zone a week ago and I kind of challenged the guys to commit to running the ball in when we got it down there. But certainly, the one field goal we kicked we came up a yard short and had a fourth and one. If we had put that in the end zone I wouldn’t have had to lose a year off my life at the end of that game. I thought we did a good job designing one pass play and had a guy open in the back of the end zone in the first half and just didn’t catch it. But then we got ahead to be honest with you in the last thing I wanted to do is give up points and do anything to take chance with the ball. So, our game plan kind of shifted like I said from really being aggressive and taking shots to trying to manage the game and make sure we didn’t give one away.”

On Ben Stille and the final defensive stop:

“Ben’s been through a lot. A lot of the kids that have been here the whole time with us have been through a lot. They have seen coaches change. They have seen different schemes. They’ve lost some games they shouldn’t lose. They have had a lot to deal with. Told those guys we need somebody to step up and make a play if the game got close again. Then an Ashland, Nebraska, kid to step up and make that kind of play it’s special for us but so happy for him.”

On Luke McCaffrey’s performance:

“Well, first game I thought he handled himself well. He is going to create plays sometimes when there aren’t plays there and Adrian did too. We got to be a little more dangerous in the pass game still. That being said you go back to the Maryland game that Penn State played and I think I said this before the game but they had 176 yards on four plays and about 100 yards on the other 56 if my memory is right. That’s a good defense. They just made some mistakes. So, we will keep working to make sure we throw the ball down the field more. I think everybody is aware that we need to do that. We will give Luke a lot of chances to do that and we kind of had a plan to do that a little more until we got to a three-touchdown lead. Overall, I thought Luke handled the situation well which says a lot about him. Lot of kids in their first start would be really nervous and go out there and maybe make some mistakes and other than getting hit once when he was throwing and having interception I didn’t really see him make a lot of mistakes and that’s one of the keys to winning.”

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