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Nebraska Football Practice Report August 18

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The athletic director and head coach put in appearances because of the breaking news about an NCAA investigation.

Minnesota v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

After that little dust-up this morning, we got an unscheduled (but necessary) visit from the athletic director and head coach for the post-practice press conference. It was a perfectly legal practice too. We swear.

As always, these are not exact. I’m capturing in real time. I can find exact quotes (or you can head over the to Huskers Facebook page to watch the recording).

Athletic Director Trev Alberts and Head Coach Scott Frost

Alberts did not say a whole lot, but confirmed that there is an NCAA investigation. He indicated that they have complied and will continue, but weren’t going to give out many details because it is ongoing.

How long?

It’s best if we stay consistent with the statement. It does predate my arrival.

Did you know before you got here?

No, I became aware of it after I started here.

That surprises me. I would think an NCAA investigation, even for seemingly minor violations like having analysts improperly coaching players, would be something an incoming AD should know.

Is this a distraction?

Frost wouldn’t comment on how long it has been going on.

[Frost] No. Our players are laser focused on Illinois. I feel great about where our players are. We’re looking forward to a week from Saturday.

Did you know it was coming [the news about the investigation]?

[Alberts] When there is an investigation, you aren’t always prepared for leaks or how it gets communicated. So that can be a surprise. Some of the nuances of the report can be a surprise too. But we were aware of the investigation and are working with the NCAA.

Rumors of Frost being the one to try and deep six the OK game and the allegations of improper practices

[Frost] I’ve never made a single phone call in regards to our schedule. That’s not my job.

Everything we did was because of COVID [the pandemic] was with the best interest and health of our players. Everything was approved by athletic department and campus administration.

Anything else about the Oklahoma game - do you wish it had gone differently?

I love that rivalry. Once our Ireland game got cancelled, our schedule didn’t make sense. I love where we landed. Instead of having a week one bye, we have a week one game. There was a lot of discussion of how we could adjust our schedule so we didn’t play week 0 and then wait until week 2.

Frost has mentioned before that the cancellation of the Ireland game and then the Illinois matchup being in Champaign meant there would not be home games early in the schedule, something he didn’t like.

Trev Alberts pointedly pulled his coach off the stage and didn’t really want Frost answering more questions. Frost’s body language was that of a very irritated human being, so I don’t blame Trev for pulling him out of the line of fire.

Offensive Coordinator Matt Lubick

How have you seen this team’s focus and not letting what’s out there be a distraction?

I like where we are right now from a focus standpoint. It’s been a long camp but a good camp. A lot of improvement. Our guys are ready to play an opponent. We’re starting some scout looks and we’re ready to go up against someone else besides ourselves.

We’re a much improved team.

Depth chart?

It’s not set in stone. It’s getting a little more clear. Each day the depth chart gets a little more clear. We are looking for the most consistent players at every position. We haven’t finalized everything. We like how it is shaping up.

The good thing is we have more depth than in the past, we’ll be able to play more guys especially at the skill spots.

Top wide receivers - separation?

As a group, I’m happy because they are all improved. Last year, we had a lot of first year players. The biggest improvement is from year 1 to 2. Somari, even though it is his first year here, is playing like a veteran. The guys coming back from last year have taken their game up a notch - Oliver Martin, Levi Falck, Wyatt Liewer, Zavier Bett], Omar Manning ...we feel good about that position.

How about running back? How many rotating?

Sevion Morrison is really jumping out. Markese is showing some good things. A big physical back we can count on. Gabe Ervin gets better every day. Marv [Marvin Scott] has done some good things. So has Rahmir. He’s having his best camp yet.

We’re happy with the depth. We haven’t made a decision who is the starter. We will play more than one guy. We think we’ll have more depth.

More on Rahmir Johnson and where he has improved

Consistency. Catchign the ball. Pass protection. Knowing his assignments in the run game. Running hard down hill. We ask a lot of our backs, they can’t be one-dimensional. I think he’s worked on all aspects of his game. He knows the offense. He’s older. When we add something new, it doesn’t phase him. Other guys, when we add, we have to rep through it. He’s pushing hard every day.

More on Sevion Morrison

He popped out right off the bat. He was hurt in spring, so I didn’t know what he could do. He got his body ready over summer. Just the way he looked. He’s a guy with good vision, he’s assignment sound. He’s done a lot of things well.

More on Wyatt Liewer

The #1 thing about him is the type of person he is. He’s humble and hungry. He’s quiet. He lets his work and play speak for him. He goes full speed. Takes as many reps as he can. He competes and he makes a ton of plays. Because he’s so humble and likeable our guys just gravitate toward him. The fact he’s making plays too means it makes the whole football team better.

More on running backs - how important to have one guy?

You always want to have depth and that [running back] is the most prone position to get banged up. How physical that position is. At the end of the day, you want to know who that guy is when its third and one, who do you want to give the ball to? We feel good about it. We aren’t ready to say yet. We have a pretty good idea, that is getting clearer and clearer.

Zavier Betts and his improvement

Zavier has made comments in the past about some things he needed to do better and that was alluded to when the question was asked.

It shows maturity to admit you can grow and get better. In his defense, anytime you go from high school to college and you get thrown in to play, it isn’t easy. You have to learn to practice hard, learn your plays. He comes from a great program but it was still a learning process for him. He’ll be the first to tell you he could have embraced it more. Now, he comes out an competes every day. Some days, you look out there and that guys might be our #1 receiver. They all have been taking turns being the top guy. His effort and learning how to play fast.

The thing with freshman is they think a lot, which causes slow play. They’ve got so many things in their head, you can’t see their talent. Now we can see his talent because he knows his assignmetns. This is the guy we thought he was.

How do analysts help you on offense?

There were a lot of pauses and starts/stops in Lubick’s answer. I’m sure he knew he had to be very careful about what he said.

They do a bunch of things. Scouting opponents. Keeping you organized. And ideas. Especially in the offseason when we go through things, you can’t have enough wisdom in the room. We’re lucky to have experienced analysts that bring knowledge, expertise, creditibility and we use need all the help we can get. Everyone does. We’re fortunate to have great analysts here.

Once a guy knows his role (depth chart) - does that change assignments

So what we’ve done is we’ve introduced the whole offense to everybody, which is a lot of stuff. Soemtiems that’s hard for guys. Now with game week, we take 30% or 40% of that and that helps guys zero in and focus. They can focus on their assignments, especially on the one and two deep. It’s important for them to understand, this is the game plan. I don’t have to know all that. I just have to know this.

Tight ends - How are Hickman, Rollins, Carnie doing?

With the injuries to Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek, the backups are getting more work.

They’ve done a great job. It’s next man up. When someone goes down, it’s an opportunity for someone else. Hickman is a great example. He played wideout last year and we’ve moved him back and forth because of his talents.

We’re getting helathy and we’ll be healthy for the first game.

Best way to develop is getting reps. There is always a silver lining to injuries - you can develop guys. And we’re getting those other guys back.

On Omar Manning - full load for him?

Yeah, we do. [For game week] We’re going to pare things down, like we do for everybody. He’ll be responsible for the whole game plan like all our skill guys. He’s done a good job. Becvause of injuries he was in and out and never got to practice consistently last year. He did a great job in the summer he’s more consistent because he’s gotten out there to do reps.

Prepping for crowd noise (since there really wasn’t any in 2020)

We didn’t have fans last year. We work on that every day is how does crowd noise affect cadence. We can go silent. We blare music in practice. Sometimes its louder than the fans especially when its bad music. We always have noise in practice, but it is different when you go in a stadium. We change up the cadence from time to time. If you’re not prepared it can be a huge advantage for an opponent.

Offensive Lineman Brant Banks [in a Muchachos tshirt]

How is camp going?

It’s good. We’re just out there trying to stack days. That’s the thing we’ve been preaching about this camp, is stacking days and just going out there and getting better and better every day.

He sung the praises of Cam Jurgens, aka Beef Jurgy, on his leadership and that he’s “ballin out”.

He’s always been vocal, but now more than ever, we had a lot of guys graduate. He’s stepped up. He’s trying to bring everyone along with him.

How many positions have you played?

Banks came to Nebraska as a defensive lineman and was moved over to the offensive line.

This fall camp, I’ve just been working at tackle. Overall, at Nebraska, I’ve probably played five. I’ll play wherever I need to help us win.

Is tackle your natural position?

Yes, I think so. That is where I started when I came over to the offense. I got pretty comfortable there, then some stuff happened and I moved around a bit and now back at tackle. I’ll do whatever I can to help us win games.

I’ve played more left tackle this fall.

It sounds like Turner Corcoran has been dealing with injuries, so Banks might be the game 1 starter on Adrian’s blind side.

How do you approach learning a new spot?

Switching around on o-line isn’t as hard as going from d-line to o-line. You need to know it all to be good at it anyway. Moving positions, it’s more about footwork. Shorter footwork, it all that stuff. You just have to embrace the role you’re in.

As a tackle, I’m going against Caleb Tannor. At guard I’m going against Snacks (Damion Daniels). He’s a big guy so I have to take a lot shorter footwork going against him. Caleb is quicker, so I have to be faster there.

When asked about his tshirt

Muchachos? The guy that runs the place is awesome. He gave us the chance to do the pipeline burrito. It’s huge. You gotta try it. Its awesome. We had a race to see who could east it fastest.

Who won?

Cam won. He can put stuff away.

Did you add hot sauce?

Yeah, I put hot sauce on it. I’m from Texas. I like things spicy. Not everyone did.

Wide Receiver Oliver Martin

How is camp going?

Camp is going well. Practices have been pretty competitive. One vs ones has helped both get better.

How has increased competition helped?

Going against the one and two defense in competitive or game situations definitely helps. We understand how to run routes and how certain coverages work. It raises our level of play.

How does your experience here compare to other stops you’ve been at?

Between the three schools [Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska], the practices are pretty comparable. The only real difference is Michigan might have been longer practices. The structure is similar, they’re all competitive. Some schemes are different, plays are different, but a lot of it is the same.

He indicated that he feels alot more comfortable with a year under his belt than he was in 2020. He feels like he doesn’t need to “process” as much so he can play faster.

On Adrian Martinez

He looks great. He’s doing really well. Even since last fall, he’s playing at a much higher level. He’s the guy.

Just in his accuracy on deep balls, short game, arm strength. I think it’s really good. I’ll be running routes and he’ll put the ball right on me. In good spot, compared to where the DB is, my breaks, I’ve been impressed.

How do the young guys look?

They’re athleticaly gifted. Kamonte, Latrell, Shawn. Latrell is really technical, like a crafty guy. A big guy. Kamonte and Shawn, they jump off with their speed and twitchiness. They’re good athletes.

Punt return- attitude it takes

You need to be comfortable back there. If you are nervous about catching the ball, I think that decreases your chance of catching it. You need to be comfortable. Getting a good jump off the trajectory of the ball - that’s important. I feel like I’m good at both of those.

Yeah, I’m one of the main guys working there.

On Iowa and Michigan being on the schedule

I’m super excited to play some of my friends I made at those schools. They’ll be competitive games. It makes it more fun and exciting because I know some of those guys.

Do you miss swimming?

I really enjoy watching swimming Growing up that was arguably my main sport until high school. I had a geniune passion for it. It was fun to watch the Olympics. I know all the top swimmers in those events from when I was little.

Did you think about pursing it competitively?

I did. When I was younger, that was always a dream to compete at a high level. But I’d say in high school is where it flopped because I couldn’t swim year round anymore. To be competitive you have to. Taking the fall off for football set me back. Taking spring and summer for baseball, set me back.

In Other News

A redshirt freshman offensive lineman has decided to head off to greener pastures.