Below is the transcript from today’s weekly head coach press conference.
It’s clear that Maurice Washington won’t be playing anytime soon, but that he’s not entirely off the team.
Good? Bad? Indifferent?
It’s not good that Washington isn’t playing because as we saw early in the season, he’s an explosion of an offensive player. It’s bad that Frost has stuck his neck out for the guy and from what we can tell, Washington hasn’t responded in like kind, i.e., he’s not doing the things Frost and the staff expect of him, ergo, no playing time.
Frost makes the comment at the end of the transcript below about how Osborne handled his athletes. I wrote years ago that Osborne did the right thing when it came to Lawrence Phillips. It’s easy to throw someone away. It’s damned hard to keep them around, especially when it might come at a huge cost to you.
Put it this way - we all want mercy when it comes to the stupid mistakes we make in life. When others do the same, we want them burned at a stake. That’s human nature.
Checking the transcript, you’d have to say that Scott Frost has had just about enough of Nebraska’s media. One can’t blame him much, eh?
This past week some guy wrote that Nebraska was going to be an ass-kicking team because Scott Frost said so. Apparently said guy who does this for a living is too ignorant to use his own eyeballs and his own mind to figure out that this team would struggle this season, despite what the national media hyped, despite the team being 4-8 two years in a row, and despite that we had a guy starting at center who had never played the position before.
You guys are all ready to subscribe to your local paper and get those saccharine-based articles all through next off season, right?
It’s going to be a very interesting rest of season. Indiana is up this week, and they are not a sucky team. You might think they are, but they play in the butt-kicking East division, where even decent teams are crushed into the ground.
We’re going to be wearing alternate uniforms this week. I’m not a big uniform guy. I only care how we play and whether we win.
On Maurice Washington not being on the depth chart
“I think it’s still to be determined. He won’t play this week. We don’t see him being a part of our plans in the immediate future, and the farther out future, we’ll have to determine that based on some circumstances.”
On Washington’s status with the team
“He’s not a part of the team right now going into this week.
On the decision
“There are certain standards that we ask our players to uphold. When those standards aren’t upheld, it doesn’t matter who it is, they’re not going to be a part of our plans that week or potentially longer.”
On whether it is an “indefinite suspension”
“No, those are your words, not mine. We just expect all of our players to conduct themselves in a certain manner, and there’s certain things that are non-negotiable, and they have to live up to those standards.”
On whether Washington is still enrolled in classes
“As far as I know.”
On whether Washington’s status is related to his legal matter
On whether Washington practiced last week
“He hasn’t practiced last week, didn’t practice today. But let’s move on to football here.”
On Nebraska’s depth at running back
“Depth is getting a little sparse there, but the guys have been practicing hard. Obviously Dedrick Mills is doing a good job. Wyatt Mazour should be back this week. He had a minor concussion and was out. He’s back and healthy and good to go. Rahmir Johnson still has a couple games to play in. Brody Belt, some other guys are there, and they’re all getting reps this week.”
On Rahmir Johnson’s status changing potentially from a four-game season to a full year, if needed
“I think it could change if circumstances change. We’d like to try to save the year if we can, depending on how the last half of the season goes.”
On Dedrick Mills making adjustments and progressing in Nebraska’s system
“He’s getting better at it all the time. I think probably the big thing was the vision and a little bit of patience in running in our kind of scheme. It’s not so downhill and hit right now. You saw how natural he was when we lined him upright behind the center and gave it to him. He’s learning how to run in our scheme a little better, and I think he’s been getting better every week, so he’ll continue to improve.”
On how much emphasis was placed on the running game in practice last week
“A bunch. Overall I think we need to be more physical, particularly on offense. We worked the heck out of that last week. A lot of fundamentals, a lot of simple things, and hopefully it’ll make a difference.”
On place-kicker Barret Pickering being listed second on the depth chart, and whether that means he is close to returning
“As far as I know he is. We’ve got a whole army of kickers down there, and some of them are healthy and some of them aren’t, and I can’t really keep track anymore. Hope to get him back as soon as we can. I think from what I hear, he’s getting pretty close.”
On his overall feeling about the offense with the weapons the Huskers have available on Saturday
“We’ll see. We’re practicing whoever is healthy and up and ready to go, and we’ll see who’s ready and who’s not come Saturday.”
On Adrian Martinez’s recovery
“Adrian has been working hard to get back, and he’s doing really well, working hard. It helps to have a bye week. It helps to have fall break here where he can spend a little more time rehabbing, so he’s going to do whatever he can to get back.”
On whether he is optimistic about Martinez’s return this week
“Hard to say.”
On the progress the team made during the bye week
“I was pleased with the bye week. I think there were a lot of fundamental things that we needed to clean up. Sometimes you get in the heat of the season and some of those things can deteriorate a little bit. I saw some of those things operate at a pretty high level and really improve throughout last week. Again, hopefully some of that back to the basics and fundamental stuff will provide a little spark for us and make us a little better at some of the things we need to be good at to be consistent.”
On cleaning up details when several guys are injured
“Obviously we miss the reps with the guys that aren’t able to practice, but you know, the flipside of that is there’s some young guys that got a lot of run last week in some of those practices, and those guys need to continue to improve and get reps so they can be more physical, play with better technique and do all the little things right.”
On Noah Vedral’s week of practice
“I thought, all things considered, Noah played pretty well at Minnesota. A couple mistakes and one or two plays here and there, but it’s hard to find a quarterback who plays a perfect game. I thought he came in and did a really good job. Guys did good things around him, just not often enough, not consistent enough, and we feel really good about Noah and where he is and his ability to run our offense.”
On whether freshmen offensive linemen Bryce Benhart and Ethan Piper are close to being ready
“You guys keep asking me. We’re going to play guys when they’re ready. All those young guys keep improving. One thing you learn about this league pretty quick is this is a grown-man’s league, and guys have to be ready. It’s hard to -- it’s probably hard to win in this league, particularly in the trenches, with 18- and 19-year-olds. We’re expecting help out of those guys. I think they’re really close to helping us. But they’re also first-year guys, and when you throw them in, you can expect some first-game mistakes and first-year mistakes. We’ve got to be smart as a football team when we use them, but I’ve been pleased with the progress of several guys, including Piper, Benhart and some other guys.”
On the first step moving forward for the offensive line
“We’ve just got to be a little bit more consistent. We need to get on guys and move them instead of just occupying. There haven’t been a lot of mental breakdowns, it’s just been technique related, finishing blocks, maybe being a little more physical and nasty up front so that we can count on the holes being there a little more often. Obviously pass pro has to get a little bit better. There’s been times we’ve had good time to throw and other times when I wouldn’t want to be quarterback back there. We went back to work on all those things this week, and I’m excited about the progress they made.”
On teaching or recruiting physical and nasty offensive line play
“You can teach it some. I think Lou Holtz said it, if a dog won’t bite when it’s a pup, it probably won’t bite when it’s grown, and there’s some truth to that, too. And I think as a team, it’s got to be the culture. It’s just got to be what’s expected. It’s got to be a standard that’s non-negotiable. We’re working toward that, but it doesn’t happen overnight.”
On the players being mentally refreshed
“Practice looked a little faster today, a little crisper. Guys were running without hobbles and limps, and it’s good to see. It is a long stretch. I know it’s college kids and they should recover faster than some of us old guys, but it still takes a toll on you, particularly when you don’t have a lot of depth in some areas. I thought everybody had a little more pep in their step today.”
On playing with the right tempo on offense
“We think about that every week, honestly. We’re still not playing at the tempo I want, but I think a lot of that is by choice, for a lot of reasons, and some of it is by choice, some of it isn’t, but I think that’ll continue to improve, too.”
On his impressions of Indiana
“I’ve watched them more on D than O so far. I think they’re big and physical up front, have some corners that can cover. They play a lot of press quarters and some man, mix in some pressures. They really run to the ball, play hard, tackle well, cover well on the outside, and they’re pretty hard to move in their front seven. I’ve said this a bunch, but there’s a lot of good teams in this league, and you’d better show up ready to play every week, or you’re going to be in trouble.”
On alternate jerseys this week
“We’re going to wear the alternate jersey this week, so I told the team this morning if we’re going to wear them, they’d better show up and play with an attitude that makes the Blackshirt alumni proud.”
On if there was a reason he picked this game to wear the alternate jersey
“No, not really. We just -- we’re running out of home games.”
On whether there is anything different Coach Frost would do in handling Maurice Washington’s situation over the last two seasons
“No, I wouldn’t do anything different. I wish things would be a little different. Listen, Coach Osborne was this way. He wasn’t quick to crumble kids up and throw them away. Some of the kids that are in some of those situations, if they’re gone out of this program, that road doesn’t lead to very many good places. As long as I’m here, I’m going to try to help these young men as much as I can. That’s the promise I make to their parents when I sit in their living room and tell them we’re going to try to help them no matter what. There’s certain things that they know if they do, I’m not going to help them and they’re on their own. But I want what’s best for all these guys, so we’re going to try to continue to help them as long as they can be helped, and there always comes a point where you have to throw your hands up and say, we tried. But until then, we want to do what’s right by them because I think that’s the right thing to do. We certainly tried to do everything we can for Mo, and hopefully it works out well.”