Spring Game, 4.13

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost watches the first half of the Red-White Spring Game on April 13 at Memorial Stadium.

Things I know, and things I think I know:

When Scott Frost meets the media mob Thursday during Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, it figures to be a relatively relaxing scene for everyone involved.

My read on the second-year Nebraska football coach is that he isn't wild about media, but tolerates it well. The large majority of media seem to respect Frost and trust what he says. They evidently trust that he knows what he's doing as a coach because the Huskers are a popular pick to capture the Big Ten West Division and finish in the national top 25 even after going 4-8 overall and 3-6 in conference play in 2018.

Even though Nebraska's a popular pick to win the division, it isn't like there's pressure on Frost to close the deal. Far from it. That's how far the program's slipped.

I began covering Nebraska football full time in 1995. Never did I imagine back then a scenario in which the Huskers would finish 4-8 and yet the head coach would encounter minimal tension during a media days setting. Bottom line, Frost inherited a program that was deep in a ditch and in need of an overhaul. And everyone knows it.

In addition, trust is a critical word in this discussion. It seems the overwhelming majority of Nebraska fans trust Frost implicitly to do the job right. They probably should trust him implicitly. Another key factor is Frost's seven-year contract. Add it all up and he has a long runway to get the Big Red humming and cooking again, and everyone knows that, too.

Ah, but there's a complication in the discussion. A pleasant complication. When Connor Happer and Michael Snow of "The Drive" (93.7 FM) asked me recently how much urgency should be attached to Nebraska's 2019 season, it stumped me for a second. It's a good question. Because it's Nebraska football, there's always urgency in the context of the program's wide-ranging importance to the fabric of our state. But some seasons are more intense than others.

But that's not the complication. The complication wears No. 2 on his jersey. If we're talking about urgency, maybe the conversation should start with Adrian Martinez and Frost's comments about him in late April, when the coach conveyed a sense of urgency in discussing the need to surround the sophomore with excellent skill-position players.

"We feel like we have a really good quarterback, and we're in a hurry to try to surround him with the type of weapons that we need in order to have a really good offense," the coach said at the time. "You're kind of on a clock with that. We feel good about our young quarterbacks, but while we've got a guy like Adrian, we want to surround him with as many weapons as we can, and guys who can change games."

Nebraska's on the clock in the sense that quarterbacks as talented as Martinez don't come around all that often, and Frost wants to win big while he has him. So, yes, there's urgency in that regard. But there's even a buffer of sorts on that front because Martinez will be in the program at least through next season. I'm guessing he'll be an NFL quarterback in 2021. Am I wrong?

As it stands, there's ample excitement about Nebraska's upcoming season -- there always is -- but a relatively low amount of tension.

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Seems like a pleasing mix for a certain Husker coach heading to Chicago.

* Prediction: Martinez will be popular with Big Ten and national media. He'll thrive in the glare. Folks will come away impressed with the bright and well-spoken young man. Then they'll quickly realize Martinez said nothing controversial or even particularly illuminating.

As an aspiring coach, Adrian already has that part of the gig down pat.

* Iowa senior Nate Stanley is the only other quarterback scheduled to be on hand during the two-day event, a sure sign there's a lot of newcomers and question marks at the position throughout the league.

* Prediction II: Nebraska senior linebacker Mohamed Barry also will be popular with media types, but it'll be because he will fill up their notebooks with intriguing material.

"When I go there (to Chicago), I'm not going to give cliche answers," Barry told KOLN-TV on Sunday at the team's annual road race. "Everything I give is going to be real. I just want everyone to understand that. We're not faking this. This year is going to be something big, and we're coming with a different mentality."

* It gets your attention when legendary Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins says she'll "put her career on the line to defend (Rhonda Revelle) as a person." Hutchins came out strong Friday in support of Revelle in a gripping interview with our Clark Grell.

The veteran Nebraska softball coach being put on paid administrative leave by NU early last week was a shock to a lot of folks who know Rhonda well. It certainly shocked me. The amount of reader traffic on the Journal Star web site suggests a lot of folks are acutely interested in the story.

I wonder if Bill Moos, in his second year as Nebraska athletic director, anticipated the intense reaction in our state and beyond.

Another question: Would Hutchins put her reputation on the line without having a good handle on the nature of the circumstances?

I'll stop there. For now.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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