Five things we learned from NU's weekly press conference
Here are five of our biggest takeaways from Nebraska's weekly press conference on Monday as the Huskers get ready to take on Ohio State...
1. Frost comments on speculation over his future at Nebraska
Discontent among Nebraska's fan base reached a new high under head coach Scott Frost following Saturday's 28-23 home loss to Purdue.
A faction of Husker fans had already decided that Frost was not the answer at NU well before the game. But that performance, especially the disastrous second half, pushed even more of Husker faithful who were on the fence over the edge.
During his weekly press conference at Memorial Stadium on Monday, Frost said he didn't pay attention to any of the speculation about his job but admitted: "It's kind of hard to ignore."
He said he owed it to his players to give them his full attention and not worry about what others outside of the program were saying.
"Everything else doesn't matter," Frost said. "We can only control what we can control."
But Frost went on to make his case when asked how long he thought it would take to turn Nebraska into a winner.
"I'm really excited about the rest of this year, and I'm really excited about next year," Frost said. "I hope we get it. I think we should. Like I've said, with the young guys we've got coming back and the opportunity to go out and get more pieces to add to that, I think this thing could be really good."
Asked to specify what he meant by "hope we get it," Frost said he was referring to winning and getting the program over the hump, not a fifth season at Nebraska.
2. Huskers insist they’re not afraid of Ohio State
Nebraska opened the week as around a 16-point underdog at home against Ohio State, and there's a chance that line could grow even larger before Saturday's kickoff.
Few are giving the Huskers much of a chance against the high-powered Buckeyes, especially after last week's uninspiring second-half effort in the loss to Purdue.
But while few outside the program still have faith in NU, its veteran leaders insisted Monday that they believe they can match up with anyone on any given week, including Ohio State.
"We can match up with them," defensive lineman Damion Daniels said. "We can match up with everyone in the country."
3. Players focused on blocking out the outside noise
Just as they heard the boos and saw fans heading for the exits toward the end of Saturday's loss to Purdue, Nebraska's players have found it hard to avoid the criticism of falling to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in Big Ten play.
The Huskers have been saying all the right things in the locker room, practice, and even during Monday's press conference. But they know it's equally important not to get caught up in what's being said outside of the program.
"It's just about focus," quarterback Adrian Martinez said about finishing the rest of the season. "And somewhat pride. And a lot of guys on our team have it."
Daniels wore the hood of his sweatshirt up throughout his main podium interview on Monday. He did so to make a point about the Huskers' mentality going forward.
"We just block it out," Daniels said of outside noise. "That's why I have my hood on right now."
4. Taylor-Britt non-committal on football future
Cam Taylor-Britt is one of Nebraska’s best overall players, and he’s performed up to that title over the past few weeks.
The fourth-year cornerback is also still listed with junior eligibility because of the free COVID-19 year in 2020.
Taylor-Britt said he still hadn’t made any final decision on whether he would use that additional season of eligibly next year. However, during his same interview on Monday, he also referred to himself as a “senior.”
Taylor-Britt was considered arguably the Huskers’ top NFL draft prospect going into the season. After a rough start, he’s played to that level and then some.
His performance against Purdue’s David Bell certainly upped his stock. This week, Taylor-Britt will have another golden opportunity to showcase himself to NFL scouts against Ohio State’s two projected first-round draft pick receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.
Taylor-Britt was asked if he planned to come back to Nebraska for another year or if this would be his last season.
“Whatever happens, happens,” he said.
5. Frost praises Smothers, but stands behind Martinez
Frost was as surprised as anyone when Martinez threw a career-high four interceptions against Purdue after having just three on the season coming into the game.
But while fans voiced their frustration with Martinez and the offense with boos on Saturday and questioned why Nebraska wouldn’t make a quarterback change, Frost stuck by his fourth-year starter on Monday.
“He’s doing so many good things,” Frost said of Martinez. “I really want him to have the experience where he comes through and wins us a big game and kind of gets redemption at the end of the ups and downs that he’s been through.”
While it’s clear that NU has no intentions of replacing Martinez as the starter this week, Frost was asked about and gave praise to backup quarterback Logan Smothers.
The second-year freshman has appeared in four games this season, but Frost said there was no designed plan to redshirt him this season if the Huskers needed to play him.
“He’s No. 2 right now, so if we need him, he’s got to be ready to go,” Frost said. “He’s been doing a good job of getting better every week.”
Frost said Smothers had all the talent Nebraska was looking for at the position, and that would only continue to develop with the more experience he got under his belt.
“Smothers can really run, really knows the offense, and makes good decisions,” Frost said. “He’s throwing better and better every day we’re out there. I think he just lacks a little bit of experience right now, but he’s done a great job when he’s gone in. I’m excited about him. If he gets an opportunity, I’d expect him to be ready.”