SCOTT FROST: Glad to be here really excited to take part in this, glad we could be doing this again. Really excited for this season, excited to kick off college football with our game against Illinois early in the year. Also really proud of the three young men that are here to represent us and really excited about some of the changes that have taken place in Nebraska in particular. Our new athletic director, Trev Alberts, who I’ve known for a long time and already had a lot of good conversation with. So couldn’t be more excited to get things started.
Q. As you look at this going into this year, is this your best team, at least on paper, and what’s the biggest key you’re focusing in on your team to get better and make some progress this fall, at least in terms of wins and losses?
SCOTT FROST: Yeah, I feel like you’re so far away from me that I don’t feel like I could throw a football that far, ever. But without a doubt this is the most excited I’ve been about our team and the most confident. Part of this is talent, part of that is just the character of the young men on our team and the culture surrounding the team. I’m excited for this season, we got to go earn whatever respect we get and so far we haven’t done enough of that, but our players are really excited to do it, we really have been focusing on the things that we needed to fix as a football team. We have had too many self-inflicted wounds, too many errors, turnovers, penalties, those types of things that have kept us from winning some close football games — special teams is another one. And our players are really mindful of that and dedicated to that and have been through spring ball and summer and I think they know the little things that we all need to do to get better that will help us win more football games.
Q. Curious what NIL has meant for a program like Indiana — well a program like Nebraska with a kind of rabid fan base, have players already gotten deals and what do you think it’s going to mean for them in the future?
SCOTT FROST: I’m excited for NIL. It’s going to change the landscape of college football, probably college athletics in general. But anything that benefits our student-athletes I’m really excited about. I think Nebraska’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of it, just because of the passion surrounding Nebraska football. We’re the only show in town, we have fans all over the country and all our eyes are on us in the state of Nebraska and I think there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to want to partner with our players and help give them some advantages. I don’t think we have really scratched the surface yet of where this can go at Nebraska, probably around the country, there’s a lot of work that still has to be done to figure out the best ways to make NIL work for our student-athletes, but I think Nebraska’s uniquely positioned to do it and our leadership’s done a good job laying the ground work so we can take advantage of it.
Q. What is your relationship been with Trev since your playing days, I mean, up and through the last few weeks and how much of a difference maker is it to have somebody who played for the program and knows what it is to win big at Nebraska?
SCOTT FROST: I was really excited when they hired Trev Alberts. I didn’t have a lot to, anything to do with the process, I think the coaches at the university of Nebraska, not just the football program, but the other coaches, were really excited to have somebody else that might understand Nebraska, understand the unique assets and opportunities at Nebraska and also the challenges at Nebraska. Nebraska’s a special place and it’s unique. I think we hired a guy that understands that, that’s won the worn the uniform, that’s been there. We all wanted somebody that understood Nebraska and could come alongside the coaches that are already in place and help us to succeed at the highest level possible. I couldn’t be more excited than to have Trev, kept in touch with him over the years, so I already met with him four times, including once before he even started the job. So I know he and I are on the same page with a lot of the things that we want to do to try to help build this program and build the Nebraska athletics department.
Q. Which position are you most excited about putting on display this year?
SCOTT FROST: You know, it’s hard for me to pick one position. But Nebraska’s always been known for Husker power and the offensive line. We have recruited well on the offensive line, but it’s hard in this league to come in as a 18, 19-year-old and be dominant as physical as the Big Ten is. The group that we have there right now is I think a group that we can build on, Coach Austin’s done a great job with them. Zach Duval’s done a great job with them. I expect that to be one of our strengths this year and looking forward to those guys playing on the field.
Q. I want to get back to NIL for a second. How much has that come up in recruiting as far as parents and players asking about how Nebraska can be a benefit to them on that level and how much can you use it in recruiting in the future?
SCOTT FROST: We have to wait and see. Obviously we’re going to be attentive to the rules and make sure we’re doing things the right way. Everybody’s subject to their state legislation and one of the ones at Nebraska is that as an employee of the university we can’t go out and get deals for anyone. So a lot of these things are going to have to happen away from our control. That being said, I know there’s a lot of excitement around Nebraska, because I’ve heard it, and I think a lot of those things will happen organically and inevitably that will — the news of that will get to recruits and I think help us a long way down the road.
Q. You and your program were pretty outspoken about trying to play through last season and given what’s been in the news this week. Do you think that games that have to be cancelled or moved around because of COVID this year should be forfeits?
SCOTT FROST: I don’t have an opinion on that and I won’t. We fought hard for football last year because we thought it was the right thing. I’m really grateful to the people that helped make it happen so that we could get a chance to play last year. Where we landed last year was a good place. I thought the season came off well with the Big Ten and was managed well. We’re going to trust them to make those types of decisions.
Q. Let’s talk a little bit about Huskers in-state recruiting, it’s been some shortcomings, do you have people — this is coming from an Omaha native — do you have like the Metro Big 4 Deshawn Woods, you know, he signed with Missouri. Cain signed with Oklahoma. How do you make the recruiting as strong at home back again and particularly the Omaha area for Husker football?
SCOTT FROST: I can’t talk about it, but none of those young men have signed anywhere and I’m not supposed to talk about people that are still recruits. But I will say that we’re in the process of trying to build something where we can be winners, winning is going to help a lot of things and that’s where our focus is and that’s going to improve a lot of things, including recruiting.
Q. A lot of other coaches — well the other two coaches — have talked about interesting mantras heading into this season. Do you guys have one that you’re focusing on as you move toward this season, some sort of key word or mantra that you guys are focusing on?
SCOTT FROST: Not really. I’m not into sloganeering. If the players need me to motivate them or, all the time or come up with a unique slogan to get them to play harder, I probably don’t have the right players. I played for a coach at Nebraska in Coach Osborne that he didn’t need all the sayings and slogans he just taught us the right way to do things and we went to work. That’s what we need in our program.
Q. You guys have lost some close games over your three years, but you have your most veteran team. How important is having a lot of experience back on this team and maybe closing out be on the right side of some of those close games.
Scott Frost: There’s been way too many close games and I kind of addressed that with an earlier question, but we look back at those games, it was a mistake here, a mistake there, a turnover, a poor play on special teams, a penalty at the wrong time, the teams that win in this league don’t make those mistakes. There’s 14 good programs in this league, top to bottom I think this is the strongest league, there’s 14 good head coaches and 14 good coaching staffs. If you beat yourself in this league you’re not going to win. And we have had a few too many of those self-inflicted wounds and our kids are really attentive right now to try to do the things that get that fixed. Having a veteran team and experience I think helps limit those mistakes. We haven’t had an old team yet and this will be probably the most experienced team that we have had. So we’re working together, coaching staff and players, to make sure those things don’t happen.
Q. Want to give you a chance to brag about your quarterback a little bit, I know he’s not here, but how much more help do you feel like you can give him this year and how much has he meant to the program not only his leadership but just his stick-to-itiveness, he’s had to take a lot of criticism just like you have, but he’s still there at Nebraska and still a leader.
SCOTT FROST: I couldn’t be more excited for Adrian than I am right now. I’ve walked in his shoes before. Adrian came in and earned the job as a 18 year old and had a phenomenal freshman season. I think he would tell you he wasn’t as satisfied with his sophomore season as he would have liked to have been. Some of that was his fault, some of that was our fault as coaching staff and the other people around him. He’s already lived the highs and lows of Nebraska football and that bright spotlight being on you. This is the most comfortable I’ve ever seen him in who he is, the most confident I’ve seen him in his talent. He knows the things that we all need to get better at, the things that he can improve, I’m expecting him to have a really big season. We play week zero. He would have been here as one of our representatives but our players this is their one week off before we get started and he wanted to go home and I wanted to let him. But he’s in a really good place mentally and physically and I think he’s primed to have a really good year.
Q. You mentioned week zero. What are the opportunities and the challenges of preparing for a conference game in week zero?
SCOTT FROST: I’m ready to get the season started. We have been dealing with a lot of off-season things, I think our players are excited, it extends the year by a week, which is a challenge, but it also gives us two bye weeks in the middle of the season. It’s a conference game on the road, which is always tough in this league. We’re playing against a team with a new coach in Coach Bielema, so we’re going to be doing a little bit of guess work on some of his schemes and things we’ll see, but we’re going to do our best to get the players ready and this group of guys right now is a group that I’m more excited about than any group that I’ve worked with since I’ve been at Nebraska. So we’re going to band together and do everything we can to get ready for that game.