The head coach met with the press today and provided updates on the scary looking injury to freshman running back Gabe Ervin. He also talked about playing on grass two weeks in a row and the spots where there is still a lot of competition (hint: running back and offensive line).
As always, this is my best “real time” typing and these are not exact quotes. I do my best to get most of what coach is saying, but if you need something clarified, let me know in the comments.
Update on Gabe Ervin?
Patellar tendon injury - he will be out for a while
Omar Manning - he said the coaching staff has been patient with him, what have you seen in his growth?
It is hard being patient with him as a coach, but it is necessary. It will be a good story if he keeps on the trajectory he is on. I like to see guys fight through things and come out the other side.
What about having (tight ends) Austin and Travis on the field together first time this year?
Those two guys make us better. They block the edge so well and blcok the perimteter so well. They can run routes well. They make us better in both the run game and pass game. I’m really happy with the young guys that stepped in, but those guys are two of our best players and we’re glad to have them.
Takeaways from the game?
We went toe to toe with them on both sides of the ball. Still want some more crease runs. That’s really the piece that is missing. One little block a bit better, hitting a hole a little bit better, generating some explosive plays in the run game. If we do that we’ll be dangerous.
Have you ever used four tight ends before?
No, that was a first before for me.
Seem to have embraced TEs more - Big Ten a reason?
Part of it is the league and part is the personnel we have. We got some good players at that position and you want to get your best guys on the field.
How close is the OL to playing like you want?
They are getting closer every week. It is still a work in progress. They are young. They have another chance this week. If they keep moving forward, I expect a good game. We’re playing a big time opponent. We need those guys to come off the ball and create some movement for us.
Penalties vs aggressiveness? (Cam Jurgens said he didn’t want to change his approach) Did you say something to him?
I talked to Cam. We just got to be a little bit smarter. If we are going to get penalties, I want aggressive penalties. I’d rather tell a guy ‘whoa’ than ‘giddyup’. We need to calm him down a little bit, but that is the attitude we’re looking for.
You’ve been trying options at left guard. How do you feel?
Bando is getting healthier, he’s close. It is going to be competitive just like the RB room. At times, Trent has done well. At times, Piper has done well. Bando has played well in practice. Nuri is doing good things. We have a lot of guys that can do it. Want someone to grab that spot and take it. We have guys capable, just need better play.
Thoughts on Michigan State?
They’re well coached. They’re disciplined. They’ve been opportunistic with turnovers. Their RB is special. Their QB does everything they ask him to do. They are solid everywhere. For as long as I can remember, they are a black and blue physical team. We know we are in for a fist fight. It will be a fun environment.
You’ve met Mel Tucker as opposing head coaches before, is what he’s doing at MSU similar to Colorado?
Not really. They have a DC who has been around a while. He’s good at what he does. They’ve taken on more of that.
Gabe - season ending?
Could be. I don’t know. Waiting for final results. I don’t want to say too much too soon.
Ideally we have one lead guy. It hasn’t worked out that way. We have several capable guys. I was impressed with Rahmir - he gives us a spark his speed. [Coach Frost went on to name several guys]. Yant is losing weight and looking the part. We’re deep, we’re going to continue to let them compete.
Rahmir - why did he start this week?
We’re grading everything right now at a couple positions to be sure the guys that deserve to play are playing. Rahmir has been doing well for a while, he took advantage of his opportunity and ran well. He’ll be in the mix moving forward.
Mistakes - Austin Allen said that last week you were less tolerant of mistakes going into this game.
(Laughs) Maybe. We aren’t tolerant of them anytime. We’re going to continue to harp on the guys, if we play with speed and precision, we have the talent to play with any team. We have a tough schedule, five of eight conference teams ahead of us are ranked. There isn’t a team we can’t play with but we have to play clean. Mistakes get you beat and they got us beat too often. We need to keep being intolerant (smiles).
How deep is this conference?
It is deep. Week to week any team can beat any team. Every team has good players, coaches and schemes. It comes down to a few plays here or there or turnovers. That’s where you can’t be a team that makes mistakes and gets yourself beat.
How has the mental health conversation changed in football compared to how it used to be?
You have to make sure you are doing the right thing for student athletes on and off the field. That’s the most important thing. As a leader, we feel we have two basic duties. Mission accomplishment and taking care of our team. Neither is more important than the other. You have to walk a fine line between coddling a player and knowing when there’s a real issue. If there is a real issue, you have to get them the help the need.
Teddy Prochaska - as a tight end?
Hopefully we can get him out of 46 - he looked goofy in that number. He’s come along fast. He’s in the conversation for playing time moving forward. If he keeps improving at this rate, it will be hard to keep him off the field.
Guys not satisfied after being close - do you like the attitude?
I think our kids thought they could win the game - they expected to win the game. We certainly could have if 4 or 5 plays if we could have made, more than that, maybe 10 or 12. I want kids going into a game expecting to win. I like that they were disappointed. We have to blance disappointment with enthusiasm to move on to the next one. We are getting better, but we have to go prove that.
Secondary is preventing big passes - what are they doing?
They are playing smart with better eyes. We have good speed back there. Braxton when he got a chance he ran with one of their fastest guys and ran step for step with him. You need schemes, discipline and speed to run with their guys.
Pregame jawing - your take?
I don’t know, but we’re going to keep our team on our side of the 50.
How well did this game prepare this group for conference play?
We’re going to be in more games like that. We’ve already been in close ones. We played a good team on the road and I can’t say enough about that program. This is the best team I’ve had going into conference play - no doubt. I can’t wait. We’re going to get some opportunities to win close games.
I got a lot of faith in Connor. People go through slumps. That position will be competitive like any other. I trust him to get it right, but we have to do what is best for the team and play the guy that gives us the best chance to win.
Punter? Going to ride with William?
We’ll see there. Daniel was knicked up - that position is competitive still. William punted well when he got his chances.
Pass rush - how to improve?
Oklahoma is good up front. I thought we did good containing the QB, that was part of the game plan. They didn’t have any passes over 20 or 25. Part of that was containing the QB and not letting him make plays. We do need to win on one-on-one pass rush more often.
Cam Jurgens - getting out in space and using him on the edge
We’re not having the snap issues we’ve had. He’s an elite athlete for his position and we’ll take advantage of that. He was out on a couple screens that gave him a chance to do that in the open field.
Get ready for night game - how?
We’ll push meetings back. We’ll get them up in the morning and do something physical. Coaches don’t like night games, it is sitting around in a hotel. The enviroment wil be special. I’ve been up there for a night game before. It’s a great atmosphere.
Grass two weeks in a row?
I like grass. I didn’t think it was a factor Saturday. We practiced on it last week and will this week.
Ideal number of backs - what is the sweet spot?
As many as we can have ready to go as possible. Ideally you play 2 or 3. I don’t think one guy in this day and age, can go through a whole game. You don’t want to play 4 or 5. You want some continuity and a guy to get a feel for the game. Until we have continuity, we’ll continue a platoon system.
What do they have to do for you to decide you have a lead guy?
I think we’ll know it when we see it.
Some real talk from Omar Manning today. Battled some mental health issues last year. Hit a really low point. Then found help from NU's sports psychology department and Scott Frost. "He never once waivered with me." #Huskers pic.twitter.com/8ncDze0GQM— Chris Basnett (@HuskerExtraCB) September 20, 2021