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Nebraska coach Scott Frost said he's made calls to former Husker players in recent weeks to remind them he and NU want them around the program, in light of some criticism lobbed at the program.
"Sometimes it gets a little personal here — because it's my home state — but, listen, we want every former player involved in this. We've called a bunch of them in the last couple weeks to make sure they know we want them around. Winning takes care of almost all of that."
Frost in particular said his comments about NU's director of player personnel position were "twisted" in a way to make it seem like Ron Brown did a poor job in the role.
"That's just dead wrong, that's twisting words," Frost said, "Anytime you're in front of the camera, a lot of words can be twisted. Ron's an unbelievably valuable part of the program, we've just got to get him in the role where he can do the most good."
Frost praised Brown’s integrity. In a previous interview, Frost called Brown his personal “hero,” and, in coaching clinics, Frost, an aficionado of good receiver play, would show cut-ups of receivers Brown coached at Nebraska in the 1990s.
Instead of bemoaning transfer portal, NU adjusting to it
The transfer portal means more surprises, Frost said Thursday. All Nebraska can do is adapt to the new reality in college football.
NU’s coach last month noted that more than 1,400 players were in the portal, and the total has climbed in the days since. But Frost said it would be “a little hypocritical” of him to be too harsh about it considering he himself transferred as a quarterback from Stanford to Nebraska during his playing days.
Sometimes, he said, players simply choose the wrong place and need a second chance.
Nebraska football coach Scott Frost spoke with the media Friday and covered a bunch of ground, discussing recruiting, quarterbacks, some staff moves and the Huskers' spring schedule.
“I think every situation’s unique,” Frost said. “I would say, if you want to paint with a broad brush, that we probably live in an era where adults and kids alike have shorter attention spans and want instant gratification and want everything to work right away. It doesn’t always work immediately. Sometimes the best thing you can do is put your head down and work harder and make it work.”
Six non-seniors have transferred out of Lincoln since the end of the season in defensive lineman Keem Green, receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, quarterback Luke McCaffrey, receiver and captain Kade Warner and offensive linemen Matthew Anderson and Will Farniok. Three others transferred in: linebacker Chris Kolarevic (Northern Iowa), running back Markese Stepp (USC) and receiver Samori Touré (Montana).
Aloha to Hawaii recruiting
Wynden Ho’ohuli was Nebraska’s lone scholarship signee this week as he joined the rest of the 2021 class. The defender could be the start of a Huskers revival recruiting talent from Hawaii.
Frost said it’s “unusual” to get a commitment from a player so far away without an in-home visit — which the COVID-19 pandemic prevented — but that the four-star linebacker is “our kind of guy.” The head coach said NU defensive line coach Tony Tuioti, who played college football and coached high school in the state, was key in connecting with the defender. Frost has also found past success with two Hawaii natives at quarterback in Marcus Mariota at Oregon and McKenzie Milton at UCF.
Frost said he and Tuioti trekked to the island a year ago. They sampled the local food and Frost jumped off a climb into the ocean. They also met with Ho’ohuli then.
“The only disappointment is I didn’t get to go over and do a home visit with him (this year),” Frost said. “But he’s a good player and hopefully that opens the door for us.”
Uncertainty remains for 2021 schedule
Nebraska’s 2021 schedule has long been out but remains anything but finalized.
Athletic Director Bill Moos told The World-Herald on Wednesday he expected a decision on the fate of the Aug. 28 opener against Illinois in Ireland to be made in the next 7-10 days. Frost said Thursday he hopes the Huskers get to make the trip either this fall or “down the road if it doesn’t happen this year.”
Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos told the World-Herald that a decision on the Huskers' game in Ireland will be made in the next 7-10 days.
Other changes could also be in the offing. If the game moves back to Illinois, will it still be Week 0 or would NU prefer to open the following week? Frost said that decision will come from above him.
Beyond that, Moos said he is pushing to have Nebraska’s Nov. 6 game against Iowa moved to Black Friday (Nov. 26). NU right now is set to play Minnesota the day after Thanksgiving. The Huskers are also in line to play at Purdue for a third straight season and host Wisconsin for a third consecutive year (even though the Badgers called off the 2020 game).
“I think the rest of the schedule has a chance to be altered or changed based on that (Ireland game),” Frost said. “So a lot of things still up in the air right now.”
Injured Huskers working their way back
Offseason mending continues for at least three Huskers who could play prominent roles in the fall.
Receiver Omar Manning, safety Myles Farmer and outside linebacker Javin Wright are all working to be ready to participate in spring ball in some fashion, Frost said. Manning missed almost the entire 2020 season because of unspecified “health reasons” while Wright, a redshirt freshman, suffered an injury during fall camp. The redshirt freshman Farmer injured his ankle during pregame warmups late in the season at Purdue.
“They’re working hard to get back,” Frost said of Wright and Farmer. “They’re both on a good track. I think the latest update, they’ll both be at least in a limited capacity ready for spring.”
Manning, a ballyhooed junior-college recruit and 2020 signee, appeared in the Northwestern game and didn’t make a catch. Frost said NU is trying to get him “healthy and ready to go” moving forward.
“I also don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” Frost said. “I think we’re all expecting him to be a good player but I don’t want him to feel overwhelmed with the pressure of that. We’re excited what he can do for us if we get him right and he’s a consistent part of the team.”
» Nebraska is back to a similar COVID-19 testing program to what it used last offseason, Frost said. Staff and players are monitoring health and symptoms and testing when appropriate.
» Frost said he is “kind of pleased” with how the spring practice format won’t have to work around a spring break this year because of UNL’s adjusted class schedule. A May 1 spring game “gives us a better chance of having a great day” for fans, players and recruits.
» There are “a ton” of prospects from the 2022 class ready to visit Lincoln when it becomes possible, Frost said. He’s heard talk that visits could be allowed as early as April or later in June.
“We do the best when kids have a chance to come see Lincoln and see the people of Lincoln and meet the fans and maybe even be at a home game,” Frost said. “We’ll be in a better position the minute we can have unofficial and official visits and (are) doing the best we can in the meantime.”
» Frost generally roots for the Kansas City Chiefs as a Midwest team, he said. But he can’t not to cheer for a Tampa Bay squad in the Super Bowl with three former Husker players — including one he coached in defensive lineman Khalil Davis — a general manager who is a Nebraska native and a strength coach with an NU background.
“Gosh, (the Chiefs) are just fun to watch and I love their creativity on offense,” Frost said. “It’s hard to not root for the Buccaneers right now with all the Nebraska ties that you have there.”