Frost: Trust, accountability will win out over talent in Husker depth-chart decisions
Scott Frost was serious about figuring out which players he could trust and rolling with that group.
The Nebraska head coach spent much of his Monday media availability running through what he’s seen from his 0-4 team and explaining why several players occupy new positions on the team-released depth chart ahead of Saturday night’s game at No. 16 Wisconsin and what will determine playing time going forward.
“We’re going to play the guys we can rely on, maybe even if they’re not as talented as somebody else, if we can trust to do the right thing,” Frost said. “Those guys belong on the field. And the leaders of the team are ready for that now, too, because they see what’s got them beat three times is bad decisions, being in the wrong spot, bad assignments, penalties.
“I think the team’s fed up with it.”
Frost said that when he watched video of Saturday’s loss to the Boilermakers on Sunday, he saw the same lack of accountability that had his voice shaking and his facial expressions fuming immediately after the game.
Nebraska made several changes to its depth chart. Some were injury-related, but others were performance driven.
Junior Eric Lee is listed as a starting cornerback, while benched junior Lamar Jackson is listed as a co-No. 2 with freshman Braxton Clark. Redshirt freshman walk-on receiver Kade Warner remains a starter over junior Mike Williams. Senior Devine Ozigbo planted himself firmly as NU’s top running back ahead of junior Greg Bell and freshman Maurice Washington.
“They’ve been serious about that,” junior linebacker Mohamed Barry said. “I think they did a great job of putting the guys that earned it to be out there on the field. I think it just goes to show that they’ve still got the same mindset. Our staff is consistent. They haven’t changed in how they talk to us. Of course there’s particular things they’re buckling down on, but they’re consistent in their demeanor.
“That’s great to see because they’re confident in what they do and they’re confident in their methods. It has been the same and that’s good to see.”
Frost said he thought he saw his team respond in a way Monday that shows they’re recognizing what the staff has been preaching all along: Game success does not come without impeccable practice habits.
“A lot of you have teenagers and kids, sometimes you can tell them all you want, but until they experience it, it doesn’t get changed,” Frost said. “I can see it change now. I saw some guys practicing hard today that I haven’t ever seen practice with that kind of energy.”
Frost also called Saturday’s loss a potential “watershed” moment for NU, adding that all four captains were in his office Sunday strategizing about how to get more out of the group.
“We’ve got to be disciplined, accountable,” Barry said. “We lost a game, we killed ourselves that game. Someone who doesn’t even know football could see that. So just being consistent and being accountable in all areas on the field and off the field.”
It’s a long climb, and a night game on the road against Wisconsin is a tall task. But the head coach saw his team take another small step to start this week.
“Sometimes when you’re building a new house, you have to build it on a good foundation or you won’t have a house for very long,” Frost said. “We had some rot and some termites, we still do and we’ve got to get all that cleaned out. You can’t build a structure on a foundation that’s not solid. You’d like to get that foundation built quickly and we’re working on getting it built as quickly as we can, but there’s still work to be done there.
“We’re certainly not going to be ready to finish the house and put a penthouse in until that’s all done.”