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Nebraska Football Monday Press Conference

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The head coach discussed offensive line competition, paying extra attention to special teams and night games at Memorial Stadium

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Michigan State Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As always, this is my best attempt to type in real time as Coach is talking. These are not exact quotes. If you need something clarified, let me know in the comments.

Head Coach Scott Frost

Any changes on O-line?

We’ll look at it. There are guys that I know have the ability to play better than they have been. The competition is always open. We’re going to give people a real shot.

We have to play better there. If we did, along with special teams, we’d be in a different spot.

We have to find a left guard and we have to play better at right tackle.

Balance - between teaching and being in the conference season?

There has to be expectations and competition and opportunities for other people when they aren’t met. That doesn’t mean we crumple anybody up and throw them away.

I feel bad for the guys that are doing things right and playing so well. Little things here and there are costing us games.

I got benched for part of a game my senior year. That worked out pretty well. I benched Adrian last year. He’s playing at an elite level this year. That’s life. If those guys bounce back we’ll be fine.

What did you learn [from being benched]?

To play with a chip on my shoulder the rest of my career. Overall, we are a tough team physcially, we have to be a tougher team mentally. It doesn’t take physical toughness to stay set and wait for a snap county, to let go of a QB when the whistle blows. Those are the things we have to make the right decision in the moment. Overall, we’re playing with a nasty attitude at a lot of positions. We have to find it at a couple others. If shaking things up or giving other guys opportunities lead to that, we’ll do it.

Are you putting more time in anywhere?

I try to be around all the guys. If we have an area that is struggling, I pay more attention there. I was in a couple of meetings this morning. The special teams meeting was rough. It was honest. Coach Dawes really got their attention this morning. I want to see guys respond. We are all in this together. If my attendance is needed somewhere else, that is where I will be.

Slow start scoring - only scored 10 points total in all first quarters this year. Why?

Talking about this year...you can’t start a drive with a quick pass and get sacked. You can’t be driving and get called for false starts. Those kill drives. When you are in a one-score game, those scores matter.

This is a different league than you’ll see. I’ve coached in a couple of leagues where you have big scores 60-50 games. That isn’t the Big Ten. You see games 23-20, 17-6 and such. Possessions matter. You can’t waste them.

Do you like how the game has shaken out management wise - starting the second half with a chance to take the lead and control clock?

I did. We had a chance to score again on the first drive of the third quarter. Didn’t finish it. The guys responded really well to the message at halftime. That was elite defense we played in the second half.

It didn’t even cross my mind that we were going to give up a punt return. I was upset we didn’t get the first down and keep the clock moving. We should have. Should have executed better on that second down play. You look up and despite dominating that half of football, you get that momentum swing and take another gut punch. That’s why every single guy on the team, and coaches, have to take accountability and do their job.

You talked about punting the ball where it was supposed to go - there are not many double returns. How much attention do you have to pay to the other side?

He shouldn’t have even been a factor in the play. You have to know where the ball is going.

People do that when you have potential for a rugby punt, try to field it and not let it roll. But seven yard punts don’t roll far. And punts that miss their mark by 35 yards. We didn’t have anybody over there. There’s 30 plays that would have won that game for us. We can point at a few of those, and that was obviously not good, but there are other things we can do better too.

Did Cerni mishit, or not understand?

I think he just mishit

Fielding punts - have you thought about two returners after having trouble getting the ball fielded at all?

Yeah. We talked about it again this week. We’ve done it in the past. Mostly we’ve done it when there’s threat of rugby and they kick it all over the field. That’s not the issue right now. We just need someone who is going to run up and catch a ball or run back and catch a ball. Field a kickoff return.

I had to make a dcision to make after their penalty on the long touchdown to make them kick a long extra point or take the yardage on the kickoff and I decided to take the field position. Then we fumbled the return and started on the 19. That’s the hidden yards that kill you. The guys heard about it again this morning.

Defense has gotten better each year

it has been constant improvement over there. Coach Chins and the guys have been doing great. The guys work well together. They’ve got good players. That’s been steady improvement. Slowing it down on offense has helped them too. We aren’t leaving them out there as much.

Northwestern always plays Nebraska close

Every game in this league is close. Everyone is so even in this league. That’s why little things matter so much. This is an exceptionally coached team that has discipline and intelligence and doesn’t beat itself. They’re always tough.

NW lost a lot of guys - how do they look now?

They look the same. They had good players, they still do. They lost some special guys. They started the year inexperienced and you can already see the improvement. He’ll get these guys right. They are always going to have a good team.

On playing back to back night games

We just need to get back on the field and win.

We’ve been a bad team that won some games. Then we’ve been a pretty good team that won some and lost some. Now, we’re a good team that lost some games. We need to get over that hurdle.

On the linebackers

They’re young. That group’s really grown together. That’s what we need the offensive line to do. They play well together. I need that to speed up right now, but I’m really pleased with the front 7. Back end too.

Why are they playing well?

It’s a fine line, if you are comfortable with your assignment, you can play fast. Those guys are secure in their scheme and where they are supposed to be. They are haivng fun and flying around.

Recruiting - night game?

Memorial Stadium at night is special. We’re going to have a smaller recruiting class than normal. We’ll put on a good show for them.

O-line issues - what do you want to see?

I want to see more attitude and more nasty. We talk all the time about playing with a desire to excel and no fear of failure. You can say it all you want. I want to see them come off the ball and rip it and strike people and run. I want them to create seams. I’d rather see them do that and miss. We can’t have the running backs get the ball with a wall of people in front of them. We need more crease runs, that will help. We need to protect better. Generate more consistent run by playing with good technique. We’ve got maybe the most athletic QB in the country and he got sacked seven times.

Other return options?

Guys are getting reps, all the time. When guys are ready, we’ll use them. Samori wasn’t even returning punts at the beginning. Oliver and Cam were our guys. Oliver is hurt and we stopped using Cam. Kickoffs, Zavier was going to be the guy, but he went out at halftime. Getting soe consistency back there will help.

Logan Smothers - what did you think?

He did great. We moved the ball downfield and then jumped offsides twice. It would have been great to get points there. Points on any of those drives wins the game. He’s been ready every chance he’s gotten.

Oliver Martin - back this week?

He’s close to being back.

Zavier Betts?

He’s close.

Teddy Prochazka wasn’t in Saturday - is he being looked at for one of those spots?

It’s all hands on deck. Teddy has a chance to compete for it, just like everybody else to play. There’s a lot of good athletes there. Zach Duvall did a great job with that group. We have fast, strong guys there. We have to play better.

Adrian has shown outstanding play this season. Where has he grown?

He’s taking better care of the football and making good decisions. He bails us out of a lot of things. I don’t know how many pressures we had on Saturday - too many. He bails us out. He is tough. He went in and got xrays on his jaw and came back and played the way he did. Says a lot about who he is. He has good people around hime. The RBs are running hard. The receivers are playing well. The tight ends have been good. We have to give him more time to throw. He’s missed a couple easy ones, but if he had time to sit back there and pick people apart, he’d have even better games.

O-line - Nebraska was known for it. Does it surprise you that the line is struggling?

I don’t want to beat these guys down. This is the same group we finished the year with last year. They played really well. I don’t know what it is right now but I have faith in these guys. They didn’t play well Saturday and we still should have won that game. We’ll keep working with them. We got good players. We have to get more out of them.

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