Frost saw morning practices were good for Huskers
LINCOLN — Scott Frost was a good student.
He could’ve been a better student.
“If there was a choice to get up and go to class or stay in bed, sometimes I made the wrong decision,” Frost said.
He’s making sure that doesn’t happen with his team.
Nebraska moved its practice schedule to the mornings for the 2018 season. The change comes after decades of the Huskers practicing in the afternoons. Frost learned the advantages of morning practices as an assistant under Chip Kelly at Oregon, then instilled the routine at Central Florida. According to Frost, morning practices make players “better students and better citizens on campus.”
“None of these guys are going to miss practice,” Frost said. “We’re going to get them up and get them moving. They’ll have better attendance in classes and they’ll have better attentiveness in classes and these guys are going to flourish on and off the field better because of it.”
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said changing the practice schedule to the mornings took a combined effort with the athletic department and UNL faculty. Nebraska players were not allowed to enroll in a class that starts before 11:30 a.m., which took some coordination.
“Scott wanted to go with these morning practices,” Moos said in Chicago at Big Ten media days. “That was not easy.”
Easy, no, but Frost insists it was worth the effort. There’s science behind it, he says.
“It’s great physiologically to get up out of bed and get moving,” Frost said. “I think you’re at your best and at your highest testosterone point in the morning, so we’ll be able to get more out of them in the morning. Kids aren’t going to miss workouts or practice. If you know you have a hard practice the next day, you’re not going to be doing too many dumb things the night before, so it keeps us out of trouble in that way, too.”
Nebraska coaches have been through this before, so the early wake-ups aren’t too much of a challenge. Running backs coach Ryan Held said the alarms ring around 4 a.m. That hurts. But once the coaches roll into the stadium around 4:30 or 5 a.m., it’s go time.
“It’s a matter of, ‘All right, let’s wake up, make your bed, and let’s win the rest of your day,’” Held said.
The first day of spring practice in March, Nebraska players were at the stadium around 4 a.m., putting on gear and stretching out in the locker room. Sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman said the team was on the field at 5:25 a.m., two full hours before sunrise.
“Most of the team was here at 4 or 4:30 ready to go,” Frost said, “and that shows me a lot of intensity and that a lot of guys care about what we’re trying to get done.”
Senior receiver Stanley Morgan said he likes the new format. And with an intense warm-up to start practice, the cobwebs get knocked off pretty quickly, senior safety Aaron Williams said.
“It starts with stretch, and it goes extremely fast and then we go into our team interaction periods, and by the time you look up I be like, ‘dang,’” Williams said.
Morning practices will continue as long as Frost is head coach. It took some heavy lifting, Moos said, but it proves Nebraska is willing to do what it can to help Frost and the Huskers.
“We had to make some changes in sections, and the faculty had to be involved and there were some challenges there,” Moos said. “But at the end of the day, it has worked out.”