2018 pre-spring presser: Scott Frost transcript

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Scott Frost
Scott Frost meets the press: March 14, 2018.

Nebraska Football
Pre-Spring Press Conference
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)

On how the team has adjusted to the new workout plan:

“Players have adjusted well. We’ve gotten a lot of buy-in from the players, a lot of effort out of the player and I see a lot of excitement. They’ve adjusted to workouts really well and we’ve already seen huge gains from a lot of the workouts they’ve been doing. Zach Duvall is as good as there is in the business and before and after pictures and gains in the weightroom and on the field have been pretty apparent to the coaches.”

On the quarterback competition this spring:

“We’re not really worried about who’s a one or who’s a two right now. Every competition is back open. Guys are going to get plenty of reps in practice the way we practice and I think it will probably figure itself out, and work itself out. Usually by the time you get as many reps as we get in in spring ball and fall camp it’s pretty obvious who the best guys are.”

On Tristan Gebbia and Patrick O’Brien:

“Tristan and Patrick have been great. They’ve been good teammates, they’ve been working hard to learn. I haven’t got to see them do much with a football yet but have been really impressed with how they’ve handled everything and how they’ve gone to work trying to learn the new offense. I’m excited to see what those guys can do.”

On priorities in the spring:

“We have to learn the offense, learn the defense, we have to be crisp. The more reps we can get, the better. Repetition makes you better at anything. We practice at a fast pace, we’re going to get a lot of repetitions. You don’t get better without practicing and we want as many guys up and moving and practicing as we can get.”

On how fast the team will be able to learn the offense:

“We just went through this process two years ago, installing schemes on both sides of the ball and special teams. I think we’re going to be better this time around than we were last time as a coaching staff. I’ve been really impressed with this group of players and how quickly they pick things up, but usually you’re not limited by how much you can get in, it’s the detail of which you get in. There’s a lot of little details that go into the execution of what we’re going to do on both sides of the ball. The more reps you get the more familiar you are with those details and the better chance you have of being successful. So, we’ll get the majority of what we want we want to run in it’s just a matter of how much of that we run well.”

On expectations of the first spring practice:

“We want guys to dive in head first. This is going to be a different practice format for them, it’s going to be a different tempo for them. There’s going to be a lot of new things. We’re just, right now, figuring out where to lineup for stretch. So, there’s going to be some sloppiness to the practices, but I don’t want to see guys dip their toe in the water, I want to see them dive in head first. Do everything they can possibly do full speed. We’re going to make mistakes, we don’t have a coaching staff that’s going to yell at them or cuss at them for making mistakes. We’re just going to teach them to do it the right way. I want guys to go at it as hard as they can. Approach it with an attack mentality.”

On if quarterbacks will go through contact in spring practice:

“No we usually keep the quarterbacks out of contact, there’s a few times, once or twice in the spring, once or twice in the fall, we might make them live outside the pocket. For the most part we just need those guys to be learning and improving.”

On if 150 players will be on the roster this fall:

“We’re still trying to work through the number, and we’re not going to get all the way there overnight. Unless you can suit up and put on a helmet for us. I don’t know if we’ll find 150 guys right away. We want the right ones and through the walk-on program, recruiting, we’ll get to that point, but that’s going to be a work in progress for a while.”

On the open walk-on tryout practice:

“You know what was great about that, just seeing kids that played high school football in Nebraska and surrounding states coming out and working out for us. There’s some really good kids, there’s some good athletes. We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now because of not exactly knowing our numbers or where we want to land or where we possibly can land, but we wanted to get an idea of for what was out there. If there’s any kids walking around on campus that might be able to help us.”

On if they found any walk-ons through that process:

“We’ll see. We’re still kind of working through that to see if we’re going to add anybody or not. We have to have a better feel for our numbers before we’re going to be able to add any.”

On if Frost has an idea of what the team is like:

“We’re starting to get to know the team better. We’ve been able to have some work outs on the field with them as a coaching staff. Obviously, our weight staff has spent the most amount of time with them, but you never really know how somebody is going to function until you see them on the practice field and on the game field. We’re getting to know the players as football players and also as people and look forward to getting to know them better and developing those relationships, but spring ball is going to tell us a lot.”

On if Breon Dixon is eligible this year:

“We’re not sure on Breon yet. He’s doing a good job in work outs right now and we’re glad to have him. I know there are several kids that have left an institution to see if they can immediately eligible or not. I don’t think that’s worked out yet and I don’t think NCAA ruling has come down yet so I’m sure you’ll find out when I do.”

On Tyjon Lindsay and his health:

“Tyjon is doing great. He had that setback and again, I take responsibility for that. We have put them through some tough workouts but we did the best we could  to monitor that and limit early workouts. Ever since then he’s done a great job. He’s gone to work learning. He looks quick and fast so I’m excited for him in spring ball. He seems to be really enjoying what we’re doing.

On who will be held out of spring ball:

“Yeah we will have a few. Some guys that have been hurt, a few that will be limited or maybe will be able to come back through the middle of spring ball and some, a handful,  that won’t be able to participate in spring ball.”

On the players that will be left out:

“JoJo Doman had a knee, and we don’t think he will be back for spring. Luke Gifford with his hip, probably won’t be back for spring. Sedrick King has a chance to be back. Tre Bryant could be back and limited in some capacity. Cole Conrad the same. He’s going to get checked out when he gets back from spring break and we’ll evaluate and see if he can participate or not and then Michael Decker is getting close but probably won’t be able to practice during the spring.”

On the center position:

“There’s some guys that we can put there. Again, we’re going to play the best five linemen no matter who they are. So if we have to move a guard to tackle or a tackle to center or vice -ersa we’re going to look at that. Again, we’re getting to know the guys right now and I think a few practices into it we’ll have a better idea of who we think can play those positions.”

On if he thinks his style of play will help offensive linemen make the transition into his system

“Yeah, I do. I am excited to watch some of these guys. First and foremost, the differences in their bodies and their strength and conditioning right now is apparent. So I’m anxious to see them be stronger and be able to move people. I’m anxious to see them be in better shape and be able to play at a fast pace. We got some athletic guys up there that Coach (Greg) Austin has to work with. This system does a lot of favors for offensive linemen. The tempo that we play at helps to wear out the defense. It keeps people on their toes. There’s a lot of things that can help an offensive line and I think those guys will learn to appreciate those things as we go forward.”

On if he can elaborate on the different tempo the players will be taking

“Well, back when I was playing here for a long time with Coach (Tom) Osborne, repetitions were what they were shooting for and we had enough guys on the team that we would practice two groups at a time and sometimes four groups at a time. It means a lot of guys are getting reps. I’ve been at a couple places where we didn’t have those numbers but we were able to get the repetitions through tempo. You can’t play fast on the Saturdays unless you’re used to it, you’re used to that tempo and you’re practicing fast. So that’s one reason to do it, but the second is every spring practice, we’re going to have, for the most part – we want to get at least 130 to 140 reps of team and seven-on-seven, and that’s got to be split up amongst a lot of guys. You start adding up those repetitions every time and that’s where you can really dial in the execution because guys have a lot of practice doing things.”

On if he’s studied the Big Ten much yet

“Not really. I’m kind of focused on what we have right here in house right now. I’ve gone back and started going through the season, watching the games, but that’s more to get a feel for our personnel than anything. We’re going to do what we do and then adjust that to the teams as those games arise, but for the most part, we have a lot of work to do right here in house right now.”

On how he is handling players that may switch positions

“Moving someone from slot to running back or guard to tackle isn’t a big move and those moves are easy. If there’s anybody that we feel could help us quicker on the other side of the ball or something we’ll just sit them down and have a conversation with them. Again, I want guys to be able to play where they want to play and if a situation ever arises where the coaching staff feels that they could get on the field faster somewhere else then we’ll talk with them about it and see if they are willing to do it.”

On what he will be looking to get done at practice on Friday

“We decided on this format for a bunch of reasons. I didn’t want to do half of spring ball before spring break and half after. I’ve seen a couple college spring breaks on MTV and I’m not sure you’re going to get the most out of kids before or after that. With the way the rules are set up, by practicing on Friday we’ve been able to meet with the guys all week, which gave us a whole week of meetings to try to get them as familiar with our schemes. I think it’s going to also be beneficial to have them get a taste of what it’s like and then be able to go on spring break and come back with a little bit of an idea of what they have in front of them, and I think we’ll be able to accomplish more in spring because of that.”

On if he thinks the players will need the trash can left out because they will be working hard

“This isn’t Navy SEAL hell week. We have one SEAL on the team and I’ll be anxious to talk to him about it because I don’t think this will come close. Our practices are fun – the guys are going to enjoy them. We’re just going to get a lot done in a shorter amount of time than most people do, and it’s going to take a while to get to that conditioning level but we’re also not going to kill them off first day. We’ve been smart about that and we’re going to kind of ease them into it so then we won’t have six reps, six fast reps in a row and go off the field and come back and do that again. We’ll start with a little bit fewer repetitions the first day, particularly for going at a fast pace and we’ll break them in gradually.”

 

On what he saw from the walk-on tryouts yesterday

“I just like their spirit. A lot of great kids from right here in the state, some good athletes, and like I said we haven’t made any decisions on that yet because we have to figure out the numbers on the roster. But there were kids from all over the state and a few other places that would love to be a part of this football program, and I guess that might be the part that I love about it the most. Kids like that would come out and bend over backwards to get on this football team and I hope our football players have realized that they are lucky to be where they are and they don’t feel entitled.”

On if he’s ever had as many new guys come on to a team as he had this year and if it’s going to be an advantage for those competing for starting jobs

“I don’t think I’ve had this many. I can’t remember the exact number – it’s nine or 10 – just a couple walk-ons so it’s probably 10 or north of that. It’s a big advantage for those kids, whether you’re a junior college kid or a high school senior. If you can get that spring ball in and 15 practices of spring ball before fall camp, just that you familiarize yourself with the offense, the defense, how we’re going to do things, let’s you get comfortable, let’s you get used to attending college class and being a college student. So I think it’s an advantage for kids when they are able to do that. The kids we brought in are functioning real well in the classroom, on campus and have done a good job working out for us, so they’re welcome additions to our team.”

 

On if there was a message to not have a spirit of failure that he left with the players going into spring ball

“Yeah, one of our sayings is ‘have a desire to excel and no fear of failure.’ Part of that is on the coaches’ responsibility. I mentioned that we are not going to yell and scream at kids. We’re not going to cuss at kids. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do and I also don’t want kids afraid to go make a great play. If someone misses a tackle, drops a ball, they don’t need to be yelled at – they need to be taught the right way to do it so it doesn’t happen again. Once you take away that fear of what might happen if you make a bad play it really frees you up to go make great plays. So I want our team to always play with the desire to excel and no fear of failure.”

 

On if that spirit was something he took from Coach Osborne

“No, I think that was a Mike Tomlin, somewhere back in the day, and that’s the way he coached us and we all loved him for it.”

 

On how excited he is to see Barrett Ruud continue to coach in his role

“Barrett Ruud is going to be a great coach. He was a great player for a reason. He’s a good golfer, so I should mention that. But he was a great player in large part because of his mentality, his toughness, his work ethic and dedication. Those same things are going to make him a great coach, and he’s already been a big part of what our staff has accomplished and has brighter things ahead of him as a coach, so it’s good to have him home.”

On how the staff has settled in since being in Lincoln:

“We are starting to feel more comfortable, it has been a transition for us.  We didn’t have a lot of time to do that at the beginning and we had to hit the ground running and put a lot of things on the backburner, but I think most of the staff is here now and for the most part have found places and are getting settled.  I think the majority of us are just looking forward to being football coaches again and spring ball gives us that opportunity.”

On making the running back position what it used to be when Frost played:

“Our offense is always going to be committed to the run first. To varying degrees we’ve thrown it and run it depending on our talent. We can’t go as an offense and really no offense can go if we can’t establish the run. I’ve been part of this offense for a long time and we’ve had guys like LeGarrett Blount, LaMichael James, and Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas, Royce Freeman, Adrian Killins (Jr.), and Otis (Anderson) down in Florida and those guys all became big-time players and players people recognized because of the style of our offense. So there is great opportunity here for running backs, today and in the future. We’ll let those guys battle it out and determine who the best guy is and see if we can fix the 1,000 yard problem.”

On unlocking potential from last year’s running backs after watching film:

“I’m excited to see what they can do.  Obviously we have to see where Tre’s health is, watched the first few games and he looked really good in those games. I think Devine and Wilbon both did really good things last year. They look great right now from the workouts they’ve been in and they look quick and fast. Greg Bell is the guy we added to the mix as a junior college player. We have a couple more coming in, Jalen Bradley from Omaha looks really good right now. We’re going to get all those guys reps and see who takes the offense the best.”

On Tre Bryant running in spring practice:

“We want to be smart with Tre.vI think his health will hopefully improve, but I think we can help that by limiting him a little bit. We are going to be as smart with him as we possibly can so he can be a part of what we’re doing.”

On the biggest differences between the 3-4 and what Nebraska did defensively last year:

“The biggest difference is hopefully we can get some stops. I don’t know much about other people’s schemes. I have a lot of respect for the coaches that were here before and we played against Coach Diaco’s defense at UConn and had a really good game with them, but I am not familiar enough with their schemes to know the nuances and differences. We got good players here, we need more of them. We are going to keep recruiting to our schemes. The players here, I love the buy-in and the work ethic that they have shown us so far. We’ll get a lot out of those guys, so looking forward to watching them practice in the spring and watching them improved.”

On replacing a place kicker and that area:

I may know more about hockey slap shots than I do kicking to be honest with you. Brett Pickering is a kid that was committed to Nebraska before we got here from Hoover, Alabama. Hopefully he can do the job and we’re looking forward to giving him that chance. Like I said, I couldn’t kick a ball from me to you. Well, I probably could do that. That’s one area of football I don’t know much about. So, usually when a guy goes out to kick a football, I stay as far away as I possibly can.”

On being on the practice field again and coaching for Nebraska:

“I have strolled around a little bit, usually I have my head down going about my work. Every once in a while I’ll see something that takes me back 20 years and then I get that surreal feeling. The practice facility has changed quite a bit, it’s beautiful now. I still remember getting hit really hard by Grant Wistrom on the field inside the track during a fall camp. I was walking across the track the other day and though about that. It’s exciting to be back. I spent a lot of time here. I have a lot of love for this place, a lot of memories, and looking forward to adding more.”

On what pro day could do for players:

“Once you play football here, it’s like a brotherhood. Everybody that has played here from the 20’s to the 90’s to yesterday is part of a special brotherhood. I’ll be pulling for the guys that have left and will be doing Pro Day. I want to see as many Huskers as we can possibly get in the NFL and hopefully have a great day. It’s also good for the underclassmen to see how that process works and have a goal in front of them they can work toward.”

On not winning a conference championship since 1999:

“Hopefully we can win one. It would be nice to put another banner up. I think Nebraska has been smart at times and probably made some decisions that they want back at other times. I think a lot of Frank Solich, he was one of my mentors. Frank averaged over nine wins a year here and it wasn’t good enough. They got rid of him and went through a tough period. Bo (Pelini), who was my linebacker coach the year I was at the Green Bay Packers, is a friend of mine and Bo averaged nine-plus wins a year. He never quite got over the hump and got a conference championship, but certainly from a win-loss perspective was as good as anyone in the country. We got rid of Bo and went through another little bit of a tough period. If we can get the program back to when Frank was here and when Bo was here, I think our culture and the coaching staff we have will be enough to get us over the top to hopefully hang another one of those banners.”

 

Source: Nebraska Athletics