Huskers say they're all in on playing 2020 season
From the governor to the university president to the athletic director to the head coach, seemingly everyone at Nebraska has delivered a unified message of wanting to play a 2020 college football season this fall.
That stance has been echoed just as strongly from the Huskers’ players over the past week.
After taking to social media to stress their satisfaction with the safety measures and precautions being taken by the University of Nebraska and the NU football program, three player representatives shared their thoughts on going forward with a fall season on Monday.
Junior quarterback Adrian Martinez, senior offensive lineman Matt Farniok, and senior cornerback Dicaprio Bootle followed head coach Scott Frost on a Zoom press conference with local media to preach their desire to play despite rampant speculation that the Big Ten was close to pulling the plug on the 2020 season.
"We want to play football,” Martinez said. “I know for a fact Nebraska is taking care of us here. Our coaches, our players, this locker room, we want to play and we're going to do whatever we can do to play."
"This is the best place for us,” Farniok said. “We have immediate access to any medical needs we have."
Added Bootle: "We want to play football. That's our message."
Nebraska officially began its fall camp on Friday and has been holding helmets-only practices since, including on Monday, when the team was supposed to have its first full-pads session. The Big Ten informed its teams on Saturday that they would remain in the first two days of the acclimatization period (i.e. helmets only) for football indefinitely.
The players said the past few days had been a mixture of "a lot of excitement and confusion” given the major unknowns about the upcoming season, but returning to the practice field had only furthered their comfort in continuing on the path toward fall football.
"We're not the doctors, we don't understand every aspect of this COVID virus, but if it's possible, we want to play football,” Bootle said.
Said Martinez: "I think America, I think our country needs college football."
Martinez admitted that concerns over what could happen with the virus now that team would be integrated with the rest of the student body with fall classes starting likely played a part in the season remaining in limbo.
However, he added that the Husker players were well aware that some sacrifices would have to be made with their social and personal lives in order to keep any chance at a fall season afloat.
Frost agreed that was also a worry for him, saying “the vast majority” of positive cases NU has had so far were contracted outside of the football facility.
"Sometimes I think the guys on our team aren't scared enough of this (virus),” Frost said. “That's our job as leaders of this program and this university and this athletic department, is to keep them as safe as possible even if they're not taking it serious enough."
Frost said the biggest concern he's heard from his players regarding this season was about eligibility and potentially losing a year over a “broken season.”
But he also said the Huskers had "one of the most passionate and energetic practices I've been a part of" on Monday, and afterward, he guaranteed his players that “they've got people here in Lincoln fighting for them.”
"Our football players want to play,” Frost said. “The coaches want to coach. We want to play football at the University of Nebraska… If I had a son (old enough), I'd want him playing football. I think this is the safest place he could be."