There's a sense of urgency at Nebraska. That's enough of a team motto
Minnesota coach PJ Fleck has the ever popular “Row The Boat” for his team motto. Maryland’s Mike Locksley has “BCE” — no bitching, no complaining, no excuses.
Yep, talking season is upon us as head coaches took to podiums and, well, talked at B1G Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Thursday.
As for Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who spoke Thursday morning, he said the Huskers don’t have a motto. He’s not big into “sloganeering,” which may or may not be a word, but it sounds creative nonetheless, so let’s run with it.
“If we need slogans to get players to play harder, I don’t have the right players,” Frost said.
Was that a playful jab at Fleck and Locksley, who both talked before Frost? It’s doubtful. It’s likely more of a thought on the straight business that Frost and his staff know they need to take care of this season.
Nebraska needs to make a bowl in 2021 — that hasn’t been accomplished since Mike Riley made the Music City Bowl in 2016. The return of the cupcake nonconference games should help in that department with FCS-member Fordham and a Lance Leopold-less Buffalo team coming to Lincoln in early September.
Frost mentioned that the 2021 version of the Huskers is “without a doubt” his best since he’s been in Lincoln. On paper, that looks about right.
Nebraska has a quarterback in Adrian Martinez who has all the experience you’d want. The defense brings back nearly every starter and has multiple super seniors. At tight end, the Huskers have one of the top 1-2 punches in the B1G in Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek. The wideout room looked to get an upgrade in the offseason despite losing talented receiver Wan’Dale Robinson to the transfer portal when it added FCS All-American Samori Toure.
There are questions of course, like an offensive line that has two young tackles, a center who went through drive-killing shotgun-snapping issues and a right guard spot that is up for grabs. At running back, there’s no clear answer as summer camp looms, but USC transfer Markese Stepp should be ready for the opener at Illinois after an injury to his foot in the spring, and true freshman Gage Ervin Jr. seems to be impressing coaches.
Talent isn’t the problem at Nebraska. The question is: Can Frost and his staff put the players in the best position to win games? That means play-calling better suited for the often-injured Martinez. More of a concentrated effort for a downhill, north-south running attack, similar to what the Huskers dished out at Rutgers in last season’s finale.
Frost spoke of earning respect Thursday. “So far we haven’t done enough of that,” he said.
Frost sounded like a coach who understands what needs to happen in 2021. He also knows the recipe to success is cutting down on those small mishaps that have proved so costly. The false starts. The holds. The bad snaps. The poor special teams.
Now more than ever, Frost sounds like he knows the clock has started to tick. He’s feeling his seat getting warmer. Nebraska fans know it, too, whether they want to admit it or not.
There’s a clear sense of urgency in Lincoln. That should be enough of a team motto.