LINCOLN–(NU Athletics April 3)–The Nebraska football team practiced for a little over two hours on Wednesday morning in full pads inside the Hawks Championship Center.
Head Coach Scott Frost and Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander each spoke to the media after practice. Coach Frost spoke first and was asked about his thoughts on being compared to Nebraska Basketball Head Coach Fred Hoiberg, who was officially introduced on Tuesday.
“I would be flattered if there were comparisons,” Frost said. “I think he was a heck of an athlete, and he’s a heck of a coach. I’ll let other people draw parallels, I’m just excited to have him. We’re going to be on a similar track trying to get these two programs to where they belong, and I can’t wait to watch him work.”
Focusing on football, Frost went on to discuss the improvements the defense has made throughout spring practice.
“We’ve made improvements everywhere, and I think probably the most notable improvements have been on defense,” he said. “Just watching the guys run around and make plays, that’s year two stuff. Instead of wondering if they’re doing the right thing and being hesitant, they know what they’re doing and they’re going full speed and running to the football.
“That being said, we had a competition day today and the offense won. So it was great to see a response from the offensive side of the ball because defense has been getting the better of it all spring.”
Frost also talked about the lack of a drop off in practice intensity as the spring has worn on.
“I haven’t seen it this year,” Frost said. “We’ve had a couple little lulls. Maybe the defense didn’t come out with quite the same intensity today as they did earlier on in spring, but they found it. Last year the drop off happened quick…we just continue to be on the rise now. I think today was overall the best practice I’ve been a part of at Nebraska.”
Chinander was asked if he agreed with Frost’s statement of Wednesday’s practice being the best to date, and Chinander was focused on the defense losing the competition to the offense.
“No, we lost the competition, period,” Chinander said. “We came out and got punched in the mouth a little bit, which was awesome for us. I don’t think they were ready to play. I didn’t like their attitude, and I didn’t like how it was the first day we had a breakdown in communication, but that’s good for us and we need to get that fixed. I’m taking nothing away from the offense, they went out and executed today. But being a defensive guy, any time we walk out on the field, it [isn’t] about them, it’s about us.”
Chinander added that the defensive line has made great strides in the offseason program.
“Those guys are playing at a high level right now,” Chinander said. “I think they’re bigger, stronger and faster due to Coach [Zach] Duval in the weight room. The technique has gotten better, their pass rush has gotten better, and I think overall that whole group has been elevated a little bit right now.”
Chinander also talked about what the defense needs to do to reach its goals.
“It got better as practice went on,” Chinander said. “We got down early and pulled that score back within one, so it got better. But I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to have to call them up and be the one to do it, I want them to do it. Bad teams have no leaders. Good teams are led by the coaches and great teams are led by the players. If you want to be a great defense, you’ve got to be ready to go as soon as you walk across that line and strap it up.”
The Huskers will continue their spring season with a morning practice on Friday. The annual Red-White Spring Game will be played on Saturday, April 13 at Memorial Stadium with kickoff set for 1 p.m.