Scott Frost met with the media Saturday night following the Huskers’ 38-31 loss to Indiana. Frost spoke about his team needing to not be fine with being OK, Wan'Dale Robinson, generating a pass rush and more.
Here’s the transcript from his question-and-answer session postgame.
On mistakes made in the first half
“Same way I feel before, I’m disappointed. We seem to find new and innovative ways to give a game away here and there every week. First of all, congratulations to Indiana. I think [Tom Allen] has done a good job if you look at the difference in their team. I told him before the game from this year to last year they’re a lot better team this year. So, congratulations to them, they earned it. But we made so many errors that cost us that game. We couldn’t move it any better than that in the first half, we had chances to put games away if we got a couple of stops and we didn’t. We get the chance to put the game away early if we don’t fumble and let them run it 60, 75 yards back to our 3. Go for it on 4th and 1 and we have a receiver that doesn’t get on the ball when he’s supposed to be on the ball. Then we missed a field goal and gave up points there. It was in all three phases, we gave up fade balls on second and 30, or whatever it was. We can’t have bad eyes, can’t punt balls out of bounds and kick balls out of bounds, can’t have them picking up that many third downs. And I’m sure I’m missing a lot of them but you know it’s frustrating. We’ve got a lot of guys on this team that really care we’ve got some guys on this team that are tough and dedicated enough, we don’t have enough of them yet. I told the team, right now that’s were we are, we’re just OK. We’re just OK right now because a lot of the things that are done are just OK. I’m not going to be happy with just OK. I want a bunch of team players that aren’t going to be happy with just OK. This is going to keep getting better, I know nobody is more disappointed than me, but Nebraska fans are disappointed and everybody wants it to happen faster. It’s going to happen. But one of the ways it’s going to happen, is just OK can’t exist around here, and there’s a little too much just OK."
On being surprised by the extent of the mistakes today
“I’m surprised. But we had a flow this morning where the whole team is up and getting ready and guys weren’t dialed in enough. Darrion [Daniels] had to stop everybody and yell at them. That’s a guy that’s been here for six months, too much just OK exists and when there’s not enough attention to detail, not enough guys that care enough to do things perfect, then those mistakes show up on the field. Part of it is we just have got to get better. We have got to be able to generate a pass rush, if we don’t our DBs are going to be back down on their own forever. There are other pieces of our team that we have to keep improving, whether it is more talent or improvement because you just can’t operate in this league with deficiencies. In too many ways we’re just an average team right now and that shows up, but the mistakes are frustrating. We did plenty of things good enough to win that football game just like we have a couple of others this year, but you can’t do some of the things we did."
On Nebraska's pass rush and what to do about it
“You know, I don’t know, I watched Ohio State play Wisconsin today and watched one guy generate [pass rush] by himself. We need to keep getting guys in here that can do those things and that’s being honest, we have got guys playing their butts off. I think we’ve got a lot of really good players. We’ve got good young players that are going to be good. We can’t count on having to blitz all the time to generate pressure. Because then even if they recognize and identify and pick it up, then you’re even in a worse situation in the back. So, there’s just areas like that where we have got to get better, how do we get better? You know, we’re going to keep working on it right now, but we have to be able to generate pass rush, otherwise we’re on islands back there.”
On if Frost misjudged the culture of this team going into the season
“No, I was really pleased with the culture of this team because kids were doing everything we asked them to. They were doing everything we asked them to, but if you look at this week or last week, there’s a difference in doing it because we tell them to and doing it because they want to be great. I think we still have some kind of ratio on one side or the other of that fence right now. I told them in the locker room just OK never exists in a locker room that I was in when I was at Nebraska because you were expected to live up to a standard. Our guys are doing the right things, which is a big improvement from last year. But I want guys that live and die for it and want to be great and are tough. I don’t want guys that go out in Minnesota with hoodies on and everything for warm ups. That just says to me just OK is enough, I’m a little cold so I’m going to come out here in that. You got ridiculed and beat up when I was playing if you did that. We’ve got to keep getting tougher, we’ve got to keep getting more talent in here and we’ve got to keep working and we’re just OK right now. I’m not going to be happy with just OK."
On the ability to change the team from being "just OK" in the last 4 games
“We’re going to change it. To a degree that I want it at? No, probably not. But we can still change it enough to be competitive and have a chance in all four games. This is a good league, the team we’re going to play on the road is probably a lot like us. They have played great and won some big games, but I didn’t see that result today. I think they are well-coached. I think they are a good team. We’re going to have to play our butts off to have a chance in that one. Then we have got Wisconsin, Iowa coming here. We have got to go to Maryland. Listen we’re going to keep working, and just OK isn’t going to be OK with me, but we have got to keep improving.”
On the way Luke McCaffery played
"Our quarterbacks are three guys that are tough and what we want. I think people got a chance to see that. I didn't know the stats but Luke [McCaffery] was 5 of 6, Noah [Vedral] was 14 of 16. I thought we had a game plan that gave them opportunities to make plays with their legs. I think they did a great job, both of them. Right now we've got three injured quarterbacks, nicked up guys, so I don't know where that's gonna leave us on Monday but I thought those guys laid it all out there."
On if McCaffery would have played even if Vedral didn't get hurt
"Yeah we were gonna play Luke anyway, we had some stuff for him. Luke's capable of running our whole offense, but we had some stuff that we wanted him to come in and run. We were gonna do it early, but then we got on such a role offensively that I didn't want to put a hiccup on that, so we kept Noah (Vedral) out there and then we were forced into that situation. Both those kids are warriors, both of them are kids that when this thing is rolling , they're the type of kids that'll make it happen."
On if Adrian Martinez was an option at quarterback today
"Yeah, Adrian was an option and right at the end there, we were kinda laughing even though it was the heat of the moment. Luke (McCaffery) went down and Noah (Vedral) wasn't supposed to go back in and I look at (Head Football Athletic Trainer) Mark (Mayer) Noah (Vedral) and Adrian and said which one of these guys is less hurt and they both wanted to go in and could've gone in but both definitely weren't 100%. They're both tough."
On the toughness of Wan'Dale Robinson
"Wan’Dale is a weapon. Kinda like a pass rusher, we need more weapons. We've got five of those guys spread across the field and a few guys that can make plays like Wan’Dale makes, we're gonna be real tough. He wasn't 100% either and he went out and played like he was. He earned the right, even though he's not on defense, to wear a Blackshirt today. He's that kinda kid."
On if the "Blackshirt" uniforms bothered him after the team's performance
"You know it wasn't lack of effort. I thought we played the run pretty well, I thought we tackled pretty well. They had some good schemes that made us look bad at times, I'll have to look at the tape more on defense, I'm more worried about offense when I'm out there. I thought we did well enough against the run. We should have scored way more points than what we did if it wasn't for coming up empty on a drive where we got a first down on fourth down and we miss a field goal. If we don't put the ball on the ground and give them a 75-yard return, if we don't fumble a completion. We missed the protection on a key fourth down at the end of the game to let the linebacker get through clean, but you know those things are gonna happen again and they're happening too much right now. We played well enough offensively to win, defensively we did well enough against the run, but we gave up a ton of passing yards and that's on a lot of guys, I thought the uniforms looked great. I think it's great for the University of Nebraska to have that identity of Blackshirts, but we've got to represent them better the next time we wear them."
On Darrion Daniels playing time in the second half
"He was a little injured, too. He tried to gut it out, but he just wasn't full speed."
On Vedral's turnover, whether it was a pass attempt or fumble
"I think he was trying to shuffle it to Dedrick [Mills], I'd have to ask him. Our running back was supposed to block the guy that came in, but we just didn't block him, and then I think Noah just tried to make a play and it was a mistake. Again, you score right there and it's 21-9 and we're in really good shape. If you add that up with all the other mistakes we made, we did enough things to win the football game. Team's that are just okay make those mistakes and that's where we are."
On Darrion Daniels pumping up the guys before practice
"We were just warming up, getting the guys up in the morning and getting their blood flowing. I know what that would look like on a great team, that would look like a bunch of guys getting out of bed and already got some butterflies going. It would look like Marine drill, and it didn't, until he said something."
On the response from the team with the message that "just OK" doesn't work
"It was good response. I was hard on the guys today cause I wanted it out of them today, and we got it out of a lot of them. I want guys that care and want guys that just have a deep desire to be great. I think we've got some old guys like that and a lot of young guys that are like that. That's the culture that we're building and you can't be part-way in on that."