Things I know, and things I think I know:
The numbers may make you do a double-take.
No, we're not talking about Red-White Spring Game attendance.
We're not talking about TV ratings for The Masters.
We're talking about the Nebraska football team's performance in the classroom.
According to school officials, the team's 3.001 cumulative grade-point average entering the spring semester was the highest for the program since the GPA began being tracked in 1992-93. What's more, the squad's 3.008 fall-semester GPA was the highest since it was first tracked in 1989-90.
As Nebraska scuffled to a 4-8 record last season, it maintained focus in the classroom. That suggests stability in the program. It suggests accountability has improved since the Mike Riley years.
Look, we could easily gloss over the academic success in Scott Frost's program. Some fans will scoff and say, "Just give us more Ws."
But if you're a parent or guardian of a Husker, you probably care about this topic a great deal.
“In tracking these grade-point averages for 30 years, it’s pretty remarkable when you look at it,” Dennis Leblanc, NU senior associate athletic director of academics, told Brian Rosenthal of Huskers.com. “When people talk about coach Frost and how he’s changed the culture, it’s just amazing when you look at what he’s done. I knew (the academic part) was going to improve a lot, but I didn’t know it would be that significant.”
-- 60 percent of Frost's players had a 3.0 or better GPA during the fall semester in 2018. That represented a 14% increase from the fall 2017 semester.
-- At the completion of the fall 2018 semester, 54% of NU players had a 3.0 or higher GPA. That represents a 10% increase from the 2017 fall semester.
-- More than 23% of NU's players achieved a 3.5 or higher GPA in the fall semester and better than 20% carried a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA following the 2018 fall semester.
I like the optic of Frost's program helping set the tone in an athletic department with a long history of academic success.
Frost sounds proud of his players' academic work.
“Kids want to get degrees and do well both on and off the field,” he said. “Parents especially want their kids to do well, not just on the field, but in the classroom and in life. Our team’s an example of that right now.”
* I liked the sound of Nebraska inside linebacker Mohamed Barry diplomatically pushing back against the notion of the Huskers being an offensive-oriented program. After all, there is that little club called the Blackshirts.
Barry, who had six tackles in the spring game, obviously takes his job very seriously.
"I have to make critical plays for my team," he said Saturday. "I have to make those plays that are going to win us big games and put us in Indianapolis in December (for the Big Ten Championship Game). That's what matters. That's the player I have to be each and every game, and that's the pressure I put on myself."
Which is why he's likely captain material for the coming season.
* New Nebraska defensive line coach Tony Tuioti says Husker defenders' relentless effort to the ball "is non-negotiable for us."
"We talk about that in our meeting room all the time -- effort is non-negotiable," he said.
The Blackshirts looked OK in that regard Saturday. Give them a "B."
If Tuioti sees a player who's not rallying hard to the ball, well, that player soon will be on the sideline.
"He can't play for the Blackshirts," the coach said flatly. "It's as simple as that. He's going to be standing right next to me."
* New Nebraska hoops coach Fred Hoiberg's calm and understated presence is striking. It's easy to see why players would like it.
Jervay Green apparently likes it. As for Green, I was immediately struck by his size as he stood near Hoiberg before the spring game. Green is listed at 6-3 but appears to easily be 6-4. His thick frame should hold up well in the rugged Big Ten. He's obviously an excellent shooter, but also averaged 5.3 assists per game last season at Western Nebraska Community College. That level of unselfishness is another good sign.
If you don't think locking down Green is a big score for Hoiberg, think of the reaction around here if Green had gone to Kansas or Oregon. I admit I thought the Jayhawks would steal him.
* Nebraska's baseball team (20-10, 10-2 Big Ten) is atop the league standings with a team that's using three freshmen and four sophomores as regular position players as well as three freshman pitchers to help complement senior starters Matt Waldron (5-0, 1.76 ERA), Nate Fisher (4-1, 2.28) and Reece Eddins (3-2, 4.37).
All that cold and snow early in the season was a bummer. Darin Erstad's crew toughed it out.
Now things are heating up. See ya at Haymarket.
What we knew going in: Sophomore Adrian Martinez clearly is the starter. In fact, Scott Frost on Saturday said Martinez "is clearly a top player in the entire country." No argument here.
Saturday's star: Noah Vedral, who was 13-for-19 passing for 144 yards while guiding the Red team after Martinez left the game for good early in the second quarter. “You know, if we had to play again today he’d be number two," Frost said of Vedral, a sophomore from Wahoo. "But like I said, every position competition is going to stay open through fall. The other guys have done good things, too, so nobody’s safe in their position until we hit the first game.” Vedral, though, looks like he'll be tough to overtake.
Saturday intrigue: Fans wanted to get a good look at incoming freshman Luke McCaffrey. Although he struggled with his passing — 3-for-13 for 14 yards and an interception — he flashed speed in the run game and seemed to have good command of the offense. Keep in mind, he took snaps on both teams and played with lower-unit players.
Question for the offseason: Can anyone push Vedral for the No. 2 job? Andrew Bunch, a junior walk-on, didn't have great passing numbers Saturday, but he shows poise and has a strong grasp of the system.
What we knew going in: The Huskers were severely limited at the position this spring given Maurice Washington’s absence while his legal proceedings play out in California and the summer arrival of three more scholarship backs.
Saturday’s star: Let’s split the award between White team backs Jaylin Bradley and Miles Jones. Bradley had 12 carries for 57 yards and added three catches for 13, while Jones had three catches for 44 and 12 more on the ground. Keep in mind that those 126 yards of offense came against the Red defense, which featured most of the players who will contend for roles on the two-deep.
Saturday intrigue: Redshirt freshman walk-on Brody Belt earned praise all through spring for his work with the top offense, so many were curious to see how he’d handle the Red-White Spring Game. He acquitted himself well, finishing with 53 rushing yards (4.1 per carry) and two catches for 19.
Question for the offseason: The questions are twofold and as simple as they are critical to NU’s offensive success: What impact does eventual resolution in Washington’s legal situation have on his playing time and how fast can the trio of Dedrick Mills, Rahmir Johnson and Ronald Thompkins get up to speed once they arrive on campus?
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
What we knew going in: This was going to be a day to see how the depth looked behind NU's stars on the outside, and it turned out that way. Seventeen players caught at least one pass. Jaron Woodyard and Wyatt Liewer scored touchdowns. Nebraska needs some guys to step up here, and several players made their case Saturday.
Saturday’s star: Kade Warner had the day's longest play, catching a 57-yarder from Adrian Martinez on the game's opening drive to wake up the crowd. The one regular from last season who played in this year's spring game showed he could make an explosive play when called upon, even if it was against his own teammates.
Saturday intrigue: Aurora sophomore Austin Allen showed he could be a valuable tight end weapon along with Jack Stoll, who sat out. Allen made a nice grab on a corner route for a 30-yard gain, and also caught a 24-yarder. That 6-foot-8 frame is going to present some issues to opposing defenses.
Question for the offseason: How quickly can Nebraska's stars return to full health? JD Spielman and Wan'Dale Robinson will undoubtedly play huge roles in this offense come the fall. Nebraska needs them fully healthy and ready to roll.
What we knew going in: That Nebraska has to replace two starters in Tanner Farmer and Jerald Foster, and one of the leading candidates to replace Farmer at center is Cameron Jurgens, a redshirt freshman who has never played O-line at the high school or college level.
Saturday’s star: Brenden Jaimes. Anytime you don’t notice the left tackle is a good day — even if the QB isn’t allowed to be sacked due to spring game rules. Redshirt freshman walk-on center AJ Forbes also got a lot of playing time with the top O-line.
Saturday intrigue: This was the first chance for fans to see Jurgens, in what would be an impressive story if he can go from tight end to starting center in less than a year, and then help the Huskers be better on the line.
Question for the offseason: The offensive line had some rough moments Saturday, with penalties and giving up “sacks.” Scott Frost says the gap between the 1s and the 2s on the O-line is too big, so can they close it? This summer, freshman Bryce Benhart will join the group as one of the best line recruits in the country. Can he quickly become one of the 1s or the 2s?
What we knew going in: It’s the most veteran group on the roster and was widely considered the most improved position group over the course of the spring.
Saturday’s star: Reserve defensive lineman and former Navy SEAL Damian Jackson had two sacks for the White Team, including a fourth-down stop of Adrian Martinez early on when he came unblocked through the right side of Red’s interior offensive line.
Saturday intrigue: Everybody who’s talked about the defensive line this spring has noted the impact graduate transfer Darrion Daniels has had since arriving from Oklahoma State this winter. He backed it up Saturday with consistent play on the Huskers’ interior.
Question for the offseason: Do the Huskers add anybody else? Junior college prospect Jahkeem Green was on hand as an official visitor this weekend. Then, can the disruption that the group caused this spring carry over when the rubber hits the road this fall? NU needs it to.
What we knew going in: We knew the Huskers were thin at inside linebacker and that a trio of redshirt freshman walk-ons would see heavy playing time given that junior Will Honas is still rehabbing an October knee injury and Nick Henrich had shoulder surgery this week.
Saturday’s star: Senior inside linebacker and captain candidate Mohamed Barry finished with six tackles and a sack, but it was this post-scrimmage thought that earns him the nod as the day’s star: “I have to make critical plays for my team. I have to make those plays that are going to win us big games and put us in Indianapolis in December. That’s what matters. That’s the player I have to be each and every game. That’s the pressure I put on myself and that’s what counts.”
Saturday's intrigue: Senior outside linebacker Alex Davis earned praise throughout the spring for improved pass-rush and aggressiveness. He was credited with a sack on Saturday and played extensively in the first half with the top group.
Question for the offseason: Where does a consistent pass rush come from? Can either of last year’s high-profile additions — Breon Dixon and Caleb Tannor — make a big impact in 2019?
What we knew going in: Lamar Jackson, Dicaprio Bootle and Cam Taylor are clearly the top three cornerbacks, but there is a bit more to clear up at safety. Make no mistake, though, defensive backs coach Travis Fisher feels good about the talent in the safety group, which is led by junior Deontai Williams.
Saturday's star: Junior safety Marquel Dismuke, who intercepted an Andrew Bunch pass and returned it to the White team's 18-yard line. Martinez capitalized with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Woodyard. Dismuke finishes the spring season in prime position to win a starting job alongside Williams.
Saturday's intrigue: Bootle, a junior, put a scare into the crowd (and probably his team) when he was attended to on the field by medical staff. But he walked off the field under his own power and apparently wasn't seriously injured.
Question for the offseason: Fisher really likes the incoming freshmen defensive backs: Myles Farmer, Quinton Newsome, Noa Pola-Gates and Javin Wright. Can any of them get themselves ready to play prominent roles for the defense in 2019?
What we knew going in: Sophomore Barret Pickering, who made 14 of 18 field goals last year, has a strong hold on place-kicking duties. Punting duties belonged to Lincoln Southwest grad Isaac Armstrong during the second half of last season, but former starter Caleb Lightbourn is hoping to make a push, and Michigan State transfer William Przystup could be in the mix if he’s immediately eligible.
Saturday’s star: Pickering knocked three field goals down the pipes during the first half, including a 45-yarder into the wind to end the second quarter. The Birmingham, Alabama, native had plenty of charge in all three.
Saturday’s intrigue: Sophomore Cam Taylor, who did a little bit of everything on the football field in high school, was in as punt returner, though he didn’t he return any.
Question for the offseason: What big names can we expect to hear when it comes to the return game? Wan’Dale Robinson, JD Spielman and Maurice Washington are likely to factor into the fall camp conversation, and they didn’t suit up Saturday.