Huskers fall practice, Day 5, 8/8

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost stands with his whistle ready during warm-ups at a practice at Hawks Championship Center in early August.

The time has finally arrived to see what Scott Frost’s first Nebraska team looks like in game action.

The Huskers finished the physically demanding part of their work week Wednesday and practiced Thursday in just helmets. Friday features a walk-through, and gameday arrives Saturday.

"I think our team has done about as much as it can in nine months to prepare without playing a game," Frost told reporters Thursday. "But you never really know on some things until it’s gameday, there’s hitting going on and you’re playing another team."

Frost said this group’s first game week was the best he’s seen in a Year One scenario.

“It’s never going to be as clean the first time around as down the road, but it’s probably the best first week I’ve seen coming in with a new team,” he said. “They’re trying to do everything we ask them to do and I think they’re ready.

"They’re still getting used to some of the things we want them to do, like the way we want them to prepare, how we’re going to approach (game-week) practices."

QB depth won’t affect play-calling: Quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said Wednesday he didn’t think Frost would be afraid to dial up running plays for freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez even though only two walk-ons remain on the available roster to back him up.

Frost confirmed that on Thursday.

"I’m going to call a game based on what we need to do to win," he said. "If we’re getting beat and the game’s over or we’re winning and the game’s over, then we’ll rethink that.

"But when the game’s hot and going, we’re going to call what we need to in order to move the ball."

Alternate uniforms coming: Athletic director Bill Moos said Thursday morning that NU is set to debut alternate uniforms, likely on Nov. 10 against Illinois.

"We're talking tradition and we're talking today's 18-, 19-year-olds," Moos said. "The Nebraska football uniform is an icon. It's like Michigan, Alabama, Texas, USC; and that will be our standard uniform. But there will be a game, maybe even two, where we will go away from that with something that's probably a little bit more trendy in today's world.

"Again, I'm comfortable with it. You have a guy that was a national champion quarterback here that wore that standard uniform, so he knows what it means and what it represents."

Area codes on helmets: NU is breaking in another minor, but popular uniform alteration. The players will have their area codes inserted on the front of their helmets, just above the facemask. Frost said his players did it at Central Florida and considered it with a sense of pride.

"I always thought as a player all my teammates wanted to play for three things," Frost said. "The first is your team if you have the right kind of team. The second is the name on the back of your jersey, your family, who you represent. And kids are really proud of where they’re from.”

Williams on the mend: Aaron Williams missed much of spring ball and didn’t start full-contact work in preseason camp until recently due to various upper-body ailments. 

"Since he’s been back, he’s been doing a really good job," said Frost of the Atlanta native, who has played in 35 career games and is currently listed behind co-starters Deontai Williams and Antonio Reed in the safety spot opposite UCF graduate transfer Tre Neal. “The competition’s been open at every position since we got here and it will continue to be open. We’re going to play the guys that are playing the best and we’re all anxious to see him at full speed out there doing what we know he can do.”

Bunch has his ‘best day in a long time’: Andrew Bunch is ready if his name is called Saturday.

“Andrew’s done a great job handling everything,” Frost said. “I went to him yesterday during practice and said, ‘This is the best day you’ve had in a long time.’ He said, ‘Coach, that’s because I’m getting reps again.’ I think that’s the key for him is that we make sure he’s getting enough reps to be ready and I’ve already seen the improvement.”

Bunch, a walk-on sophomore from Thompson’s Station, Tennessee, by way of Scottsdale (Arizona) Community College, enters Saturday’s season-opener as Martinez’s backup.


Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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