Illinois at Nebraska, 11/10/18

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost on the sideline during the first half at Memorial Stadium against Illinois on Nov. 10.

Today, we’re taking the snowplow out for a spin.

1. Amid Wednesday’s torrent of Scott Frost material, the Nebraska head coach spoke for about a half hour at the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon and then for an hour on the "Husker Sports Nightly" radio program; there are plenty of interesting bits and pieces around the bigger news items.

Among them: Frost at the luncheon mentioned that he had recently had a conversation with a “wise man” who told him “culture eats scheme for breakfast.”

“I think that’s true,” said Frost, a man confident in his ability to cultivate both.

Later on the radio, he expounded.

“You can have the best plan in the world in football or anything else — business, any walk of life — but if you don’t have the culture and the attitude to carry out the scheme and the mission, you’re going to lose,” he said. “We can put our players in whatever play we want to, but if they don’t have the tenacity to do it and the dedication and determination to do it, if they’re not working together as one unit, nothing works.

“Probably our biggest battle at Nebraska since I’ve been here is to make sure we’re getting those mindsets right and that culture right. I think we’re a long way toward doing that.”

2. One of the position groups that has seen as much growth as any in that department, Frost says, is the defensive back group.

Remember, Lamar Jackson got benched last year but eventually responded the way the staff had hoped, earning praise from coaches and teammates alike.

“He’s a guy that’s really figured some things out last year and at the end of the year was playing at a really high level,” Frost said on the radio. “He’s a great team guy now, he’s working hard, has all the talent in the world. He’s kind of an example of the turnaround in that room. We had a long way to go in the defensive backfield a year ago, and now I’m excited about that group.”

It’s not the first time this offseason that Frost has lauded the defensive back room as a whole for its work in the weight room.

Among others, an interesting spring player to watch will be redshirt freshman Cam’ron Jones. The Mansfield, Texas, native had shoulder surgery after a camp injury last year and didn’t play.

“Talk about a talented kid,” Frost said. “Sometimes as a freshman, things just happen. Cam got hurt in camp last year. He’s killing it in the weight room right now. We haven’t really even had a chance to see what he can do yet, but spring ball is going to give him that opportunity.”

3. Speaking of talented kids, Nebraska’s high school ranks sport quite a few.

Omaha Burke 2020 athlete Xavier Watts and 2021 Elkhorn South offensive lineman Teddy Prochazka are clearly two of them.

Both have Nebraska offers and both have been piling up national interest — Prochazka is still just a young guy, of course, and Watts has been racking up new offers seemingly every week.

Now, both have offers from Michigan.

4. Here’s betting that Nebraska’s relatively modest production from the tight end group last fall — Jack Stoll, Kurt Rafdal, Austin Allen and Katerian Legrone combined for 28 catches, 374 yards and three touchdowns — was a product both of quarterback Adrian Martinez playing his first year in a sprawling offense and also the group’s striking youth.

Heading into 2019, Stoll is a junior, Rafdal and Allen are sophomores and Legrone is a redshirt freshman.

“Stoll was our oldest guy out there and he was a sophomore. He did a really good job for us,” Frost said. “Austin Allen really came on as the year went along. Kurt Rafdal did a good job. I think Katerian Legrone does some things, particularly in the passing game, that are going to be able to help us. Getting Chris Hickman from Omaha Burke is a big boon for us. I think he’s going to be the type of guy that we’re looking for, especially after he gets in the weight room for a little bit.”

5. Remember when Martinez missed the Troy game last year and Nebraska’s plan at quarterback was to play Andrew Bunch and, well, basically pray nothing went wrong?

Frost has reason to feel better about the Huskers’ depth these days.

Martinez, of course, has solidified himself as one of the most promising signal-callers in the Big Ten and the country. And the depth has lengthened, too.

“First of all, I think Noah Vedral being eligible is a big piece for us,” Frost said. “He got a little bit of mop-up duty in one game for us and had some mixed results, but I know what type of player he is. I can’t wait to watch him this spring. Obviously Andrew Bunch was a redshirt (sophomore) for us last year and is going to keep getting better.

“Luke McCaffrey is already on campus and I’ve never seen a guy work to learn an offense like he has.”

6. With all this spring ball talk, here’s the schedule:

NU starts Monday and will operate generally on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule.

The first interview access for reporters is Tuesday, which will be the only availability of the first week. But we’re slated to talk to a whole bunch of people, so there will be no shortage of content.

Thursday is NU’s pro day.

The Huskers have a regular week of practice after that, then spring break. Then three more weeks of practice leading up to the Red-White Spring Game on April 13. Practices are closed to public.

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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