Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

They Said It: Scott Frost Talks Nebraska’s 41-23 Loss to Illinois

November 21, 2020

Coach Scott Frost met with the media on Saturday following the Huskers’ 41-23 loss to Illinois. He spoke about the embarrassment of the loss, his confidence in the program, what needs to be done to get the offense going and more.

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

On the start of the game:

“We started the game off about the way we played the whole game. I didn’t really see this coming. We talked all week about what we needed to do to win. That after a good win for our program last week that we needed to double-down on everything we’ve been doing with energy and practice habits and enthusiasm. I was embarrassed by our level of execution in all three phases. I didn’t think we had the juice we had last week. We didn’t get as many hats to the ball on defense. We made mistakes over and over on offense. We made mistakes on special teams. I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t really see it coming. It was almost like our team thought we won one game. We’re good. We’re good. That’s not how it works in this league. It’s not how it works in life. It’s not how it works in football.”

On the injury to linebacker Collin Miller:

“I just got an update on Collin. He’s been the heart and soul of our football team. Collin’s probably been our best leader. He’s played really well for us. Just got an update on him. Right now, cautiously optimistic that everything looks good. From what I hear, he’s got feeling everywhere, full range of motion, movement and the preliminary examination looks pretty good. Our prayers are with him.”

On whether Frost and the coaching staff considered going with Adrian Martinez earlier in the game:

“We talked about what to do at halftime. I’ll be honest, just like I always say, at every position, whichever guy gives us the best chance that’s who we’re going to go with. Luke’s a great player, he’s going to be a great player. Today wasn’t anybody’s best day. If Adrian gives us the best chance to win, it will be Adrian. If Luke gives us the best chance, it will be Luke. Nobody played good enough to win today. Right from the first snap of the game, nobody played good enough to win. I told the team we all had to look in our mirror on that, but we’ll do the same thing we’ve always done and let them compete and decide who gives us the best chance.”

On center Cam Jurgens and whether he was injured in the second half:

“Cam is going to be a phenomenal player for us. He kind of reaggravated his foot and couldn’t push off it. I think that might have contributed some to the snap issues that we continue to have and have to get fixed as a coaching staff. He just wasn’t full speed and we had to make a change.”

On the biggest issues with the program right now:

“We’ve got plenty of talent right now to compete in every game. But in order to win the games, you’ve got to do a lot more right than we did today. This has been a rebuild. We’ve had to rebuild talent. We’ve had to change culture. We’ve had to change attitudes. We’ve had to learn lessons. I feel like we’ve come a long way, but it sure didn’t feel like it today. We’re going to get this fixed, but the results need to come. The results are going to come, and this is what I told the players, the results are going to come when their expectations and their effort are aligned. I didn’t think we had as much juice today. I didn’t think we had as much enthusiasm. I would die to go back and play one more game in Memorial Stadium. Nobody had to tell me to be fired up to play. I would give anything to go play one more time on that turf. I didn’t see it coming, but I feel like we were lackadaisical today. We acted like we won one game and we were going to be fine. I say all that, I have to give a ton of credit to Lovie (Smith) and his staff and his team. Coach Osborne told us before every game that the team that is most physical is going to win. The team that plays better on special teams is going to win, and the team that wins the turnover battle is going to win. We did that last week. We got beat physically today. We turned the ball over, and we certainly didn’t win on special teams. We’ll keep preaching that until the kids understand it and we get it done.”

On the coaching matchup, schemes and Xs and Os, and adjustments:

“We got beat in every phase, I would say, players and coaches alike. I felt great about our plan going in on offense. We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We have guys open and miss them. We have bad snaps that kill drives. We have penalties that kill drives. One little thing here or there and it’s not going to work. I’m going to keep simplifying, if I have to, to make sure these young players can be in the right place and do the right thing. We played a lot of young guys, but we got beat in every phase today and their team was more ready to play than ours.”

On Illinois’ success on offense:

“I thought their quarterback played a good game. We came into the game with two different defensive game plans. We had to because we weren’t sure who was going to play. I don’t think we did a very good job as a coaching staff and a team settling into the plan that we needed to execute based on who was in there. We gave up a couple fifty-fifty balls. We’ve got to win them. We gave up a couple big runs where somebody was out of their gap. Overall, it was just not a good enough performance by anybody. We’ve got a short week, so we need to move on fast, but we need to learn this lesson that nothing is going to be given to you, and we better come ready to play every week.”

On Nebraska’s lack of offensive rhythm and what is holding the Husker offense back:

“Consistency of execution. Just when we are moving the ball, we do something that stops the drive. Just when we get something going, we have a bad snap, we miss a block, we miss a protection, we miss a pass. We’ve got to execute cleaner. That’s why I say with our young players, simple as we need to get so that they can execute well, that’s what we are going to have to do. We’ve got to be able to throw the ball down the field. I’ll have to look at the tape, but I feel like we had some guys running open downfield. Whether its protection or vision or just trusting it and throwing them on time, we’ve got to be a better football team at throwing the ball down the field. That’s kind of how this offense is built and it always has been, and we are not good enough at it right now.”

On being concerned if he has to sell the notion of progress to people:

“If I pay attention to what’s going on outside, that’s certainly a fair judgment to make after today. I know what I have in that locker room. I have a bunch of high character kids, and I have growing talent. We’re going to get it fixed. I have as much or more confidence today than I’ve had. It simply was bad today. That starts with me and goes to the whole team. The guys have got to prepare a little better. The coaches need to prepare a little better. We’ve got what we need in that locker room. To win, we’ve got to bring it together.”

On Luke McCaffrey in the first half running so much in the first half and missing throws in the second half:

“I don’t want him running it that much. I want him to run when it’s there. We’re going to design a few things for him in the games. There are going to be some other times where the read dictates that they run it. A lot of those are happening, a quite a few of those are happening on pass plays, where maybe we need to protect better or get the ball off on time. There’s a preciseness to execution that has to happen in order for those things to work. We’ve got to have some receivers step up instead of laying on certain receivers so that they can be in the right place, the quarterback can trust it, they can rip, throw it on time. We’ve got to be more accurate. We’ve got to protect better. I feel great about our young running backs. We went into the game with pretty much only freshman running backs, well only freshman running backs and Wan’Dale (Robinson). Those guys are going to be good players, but we’ve got to get them to the point that they can execute well and carry the load for us. I don’t want our quarterbacks running as much as they have.”

On the first play from scrimmage that was ruled a fumble by Luke McCaffrey:

“I was surprised how fast, it looked really close to me when I first saw it on the replay I thought it was for sure forward so I was getting ready to call the next play. I mean, we start out with a simple motion from empty to a base formation and a simple outside zone play. I have to watch it. Luke pulled it. Not a good decision to do what he did, especially on the first play. I couldn’t tell if it was forward or backwards. I was surprised they didn’t take more time to look at it. I felt like they were in a hurry to get the next play snapped. I thought it was close enough to merit at least a really close look, but that’s all speculation because I haven’t seen it.”

On Collin Miller on the field immediately after his injury:

“Yeah, he was talking. He was able to move on the field. That’s my number one concern right now. I’ll be waiting to hear for sure, but the preliminary prognosis was positive.”

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