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Red-White Spring Game, 4/21/18

Scott Frost leads Nebraska into a new season and a new era.

GERING — The middle-aged woman's hands were trembling.

She was holding a cellphone, with a photo of the most popular man in Nebraska and the woman together on the screen.

"I can cry now," the woman said of her selfie with Scott Frost.

The Nebraska football coach, along with NU athletic director Bill Moos, and associate AD for football Matt Davison kicked off the Husker Nation Tour on Monday in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Gering Civic Center.

Some 400 miles from Lincoln, the response was every bit as strong as any Frost and Co. have received in the eastern part of the state.

Frost was playing hurt, sporting a walking boot and using crutches after Saturday ankle surgery to clean up some nagging pain from his younger days.

He also played coy. The first question from the crowd of approximately 700 was right to the point: When will Frost pick Nebraska's starting quarterback for 2018?

"We didn't want to evaluate everybody in the spring because everybody was learning the offense," Frost said, noting the ages of sophomore Andrew Bunch, redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and true freshman Adrian Martinez. "Regardless of who we start, he's going to be young."

Frost, Moos and Davison mostly played the hits, touching on the walk-on program, the renewed enthusiasm across the state, the need for unity.

It wasn't anything the people of Gering and nearby Scottsbluff hadn't already heard. But to hear it delivered in person seemed to carry a little more meaning.

"I want our program to be inclusive. I want every person in the state of Nebraska to be a part of it," Frost said. "When I was growing up, I think the people of the state felt like they were a part of the program. 

"The more we can see people, the more we can open doors down in Lincoln and have those people come see us, the further we're going to get down the road of having everybody feel like it's their program"

Moos agreed. He brought his wife, Kendra, along on the trip, which was scheduled to stop in Alliance later Monday before heading back to Lincoln.

Nebraska's assistants also fanned out across the state Monday and Tuesday. 

"I think that's very important," Moos said. "I knew going into the job that Nebraskans want to embrace the AD and the coaches and others. That's a luxury. We want that. I think (the people) have been starved for a few years.

"I know Scott and I feel the same way. He wants to get his coaches out and have a physical presence in every one of these towns that we can."

A question about recruiting in the Panhandle led Frost down the familiar road of making sure the state's best players find their way to NU.

"The best players in the state need to be down in Lincoln playing for us," Frost said. "It seems to be hit-or-miss which town they come from, and which year; some years it might be Burwell or Ainsworth, and some years it might be Pawnee City and Tecumseh. But wherever the good players are, we're going to find them."

Moos had perhaps the most interesting tidbit of the day, revealing that his grandfather Will Moos, his namesake, was born in Big Springs, and his grandparents, Henry and Amelia Moos, homesteaded near Ogallala.

A history major in college, Moos said he was working to uncover more details about his family's Nebraska heritage.

"So I guess I've really come back to my roots," Moos said. "And by chance, we've got a huge family reunion up in Washington of the descendants of Henry and Amelia, and we're right in the heart of it. So once again I get to be the know-it-all at a family reunion."

Some other notes from Monday's stop:

* Moos said he and Frost have talked about future nonconference games Nebraska would be interested in scheduling, saying Kansas and Kansas State were both mentioned. There is nothing even close to final on that front, but Moos hinted that Nebraska fans "can go help fill those stadiums and others around that are in close proximity."

* Frost said the team would prefer to continue its routine of practicing in the morning once fall camp begins, but nothing has been set in stone. The logistics of coordinating 100-plus class schedules will likely be the ultimate decider in what time of day NU hits the field.

"As long as we're given the opportunity to practice in the morning, we will," he said.

* Garrett Nelson, a Husker recruit preparing for his senior season at Scottsbluff just a few miles away, wasn't spotted in the crowd.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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