JoJo Domann isn't far away.
That's both in terms of his ability to fully participate in fall camp, and of his actual location in relation to the Nebraska football team. Not a part of the 110-man roster at the start of camp, Domann has joined the Huskers and was a limited participant in Friday's workout.
While recovering from an undisclosed injury, Domann was home in Colorado working on his rehab and thus left off NU's 110-man roster for fall camp.
"We didn't have him on the 110 originally because he wasn't ready to go yet, and he had a good feeling about being home for a couple days just to continue the rehab work he was doing there," NU coach Scott Frost explained Friday. "So as long as he wasn't on the 110, I couldn't make him be here."
But the two had settled on a date for Domann, expected to be a major player at outside linebacker this season, to arrive. Now he's in Lincoln and working to get up to speed with his teammates.
"So everything looks good from that standpoint, and I don't expect it will be long with him," Frost said.
That's good news for the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder, who has battled injuries much of the past two years. He finished last season with 19 tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles.
Physicality on the rise: Here's some manna for Husker fans longing for the old days. Physicality in practice is at a high under Frost, to the point the coaches have had to dial things back just seven practices into the season.
"It’s funny, we’ve had to have talks two nights in a row about slowing them down. Because we’ve been a little too reckless. It’s not everybody, but that can lead to injuries on the field," Frost said. "You’ve got to be able to practice like a pro and take care of each other, but I would much rather have a team where I have to say slow down a little bit than one that we’re trying to get to go faster."
Indeed, the coach didn't seem too upset while talking about throttling his guys back.
"Particularly the guys that are going to be playing, the older guys, we’re trying to pull the reins back on them a little bit. So I think the toughness and the effort and the enthusiasm at practice has improved drastically."
Turnovers no trouble: Frost dipped into his old coach's lexicon when talking about his offense's ability to protect the football.
"That was the only thing that ever made Coach (Tom) Osborne mad enough to say 'dadgummit' was when we turned it over in practice," Frost said. "I might need to adopt that."
He evidently hasn't had to get too dadgum upset yet, saying the offense has had just one day when fumbles were an issue. And a few of those fumbles, he said, came after the whistle when the defense continued to try and punch the ball out.
"We haven't been careless with the ball," Frost said. "It's been pretty good on offense. I think some of the turnovers we've had have just been really good plays by the defense. And that's great to see."
QBs racing ahead: An interesting analogy accompanied Frost's evaluation of his quarterback room.
"I wish the season would come down to a 4x100 relay with our quarterback group against everyone else's," Frost said. "Because we've got some guys who can run."
Frost had praise for everyone in the quarterback room, from "the No. 1 guy" (Adrian Martinez) to walk-on Matt Masker. Noah Vedral is throwing the ball as good as Frost has seen him throw it, he said. Andrew Bunch has improved "drastically." Luke McCaffery has made plays with his legs and picked up the offense quickly.
"We're vastly improved at that position. ... It was a little depressing last year going into certain games with one, maybe two healthy quarterbacks," Frost said. "We're in a lot better place at that position."
Running backs doing work: As for the guys who line up next to the quarterbacks, Dedrick Mills has led what appears to be turning into a strong fall for the running back group as well.
"You never know what you're going to get with new guys. (But) Dedrick Mills in particular has come in and just conducted himself like a pro," Frost said. "He's gone to work, he knows the offense better than I expected, practices his butt off every day."
Maurice Washington is a step faster than last year, Frost continued. Wyatt Mazour has been solid. And highly regarded but oft-injured freshman Ronald Thompkins is closer to getting back on the field after suffering the second ACL tear of his career in the first game of his senior season in high school.
"We're moving in a good direction at running back," Frost said.