Frost working on Husker foundation
LINCOLN -- Building a foundation for his Nebraska football program is taking Scott Frost longer than he anticipated.
“We had some rot and some termites and we still do. We’ve got to get that cleaned out,’’ Frost said at a news conference earlier this week. “You can’t build a structure on a foundation that is not solid.’’
Frost said a lack of attention to detail has led the Cornhuskers to the 0-4 record Nebraska takes to Wisconsin on Saturday.
Mired in an eight-game losing streak which rates as the second-longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Frost was more than frustrated after his team piled up nearly 600 yards of offense in a 42-28 loss to Purdue but was unable to overcome 11 penalties that backed the Cornhuskers up 136 yards in the team’s seventh straight loss at home.
Nebraska has averaged a Big Ten-high 96.8 penalty yards per game through four games and the team’s lack of discipline has been at the core of what’s frosting Frost as the Cornhuskers prepare for the 7:30 p.m. game with Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium.
“I have more confidence than ever that we eventually will get it fixed, but right now we have a lot of things to fix,’’ Frost said. “Attitude, culture, strength and conditioning, talent level, those are all things we need to fix.’’
One thing that won’t change is Frost’s approach to making that happen.
“The last thing you want to do if you’re not getting results you want is change,’’ he said. “The kids need to see consistency, the standard doesn’t need to change, and the expectations don’t need to change. Scheme-wise, we trying everything we can to give our guys a chance to be successful on offense and defense.’’
Coming off of a bye week following a win at Iowa, Badgers coach Paul Chryst is trying to convince his team to look beyond the Cornhuskers record.
“We know what their record is, but they’ve got good players, a good scheme and from one week to the next, none of us know what we will see,’’ Chryst said. “We’ve got to be prepared for their best.’’
Painful lesson: Watching Ohio State rally for a pair of fourth-quarter scores provided Penn State with a painful lesson last week.
“We ran out of gas a bit in the fourth quarter,’’ Nittany Lions coach James Franklin said. “They’ve got great players and great depth and in the fourth quarter, they were a lot more ready than we were.’’
Franklin said the Buckeyes provided Penn State with an opportunity to learn from that situation from a long-term perspective.
He said that will carry over into the offseason and how his team trains and prepares.
“Fundamentally, we have to get better,’’ Franklin said.
Hoosiers regain back: Morgan Ellison, expected to top Indiana’s depth chart at running back this season before being suspended in August, returned to practice this week.
Coach Tom Allen has declined to discuss specifics of the Aug. 24 suspension or when Ellison might return to action.
But, after rushing for 704 yards on 143 carries last season as a freshman he is expected to add offense to a Hoosiers team that takes a 4-1 record to Ohio State on Saturday before hosting Iowa next week.
“The bottom line is that he’s been allowed to be with our team recently,’’ Allen said. “We have no answer for his game opportunities, but he has been allowed to be around us on a consistent basis.’’
Another chapter: Off to a 4-1 start, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said October opens a new chapter in the Wolverines’ season.
“After you’ve played your first four or five games, you know your starters, you know your back-ups,’’ Harbaugh said. “The roles, they’re a little clearer. The season is a little like a book, you have an opening, a middle and a conclusion. We’re in the middle now and what happens in October will define who we are.’’
Michigan opens October with a home game against Maryland before hosting Wisconsin and visiting Michigan State later in the month.
Could’ve been a Hawkeye: Identifying running back talent has never been an issue for Iowa.
While Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor leads the Football Bowl Subdivision with an average of 157 rushing yards per game, two players who verbally committed to the Hawkeyes but eventually signed with other programs rank in the top 10 nationally this week.
Michigan’s Karan Higdon ranks ninth in the country at 119.8 yards per game, including a 115-yard effort last weekend that included a pair of touchdown runs at Northwestern.
Enos Benjamin, who backed out of an Iowa verbal two years ago this month, is 10th nationally at 119 yards per game after rushing for 312 yards for Arizona State last weekend in a win over Oregon State.
Illini top goal: With a $3.1 million donation from alum and businessman Greg Heckman, Illinois has topped its announced fundraising goal of $30 million to help fund a $79.2 million football performance facility.
Heckman has recently worked as the CEO of The Gavilon Group, an agriculture, energy and food processing industry and previously was the COO of ConAgra Foods Commercial Products.
Construction of the 107,650-square-foot facility which will be attached to Illinois’ indoor practice facility next to Memorial Stadium is underway and scheduled to be completed prior to the 2019 season.