LINCOLN — Scott Frost is a coffee guy. He puts little a “foo foo” in it, but it does the trick.
Nebraska’s new football coach had to have a few cups Friday morning. His first spring practice began before sunrise. Some of his players were on site by 4 a.m., and two hours later they were on the field. In helmets and shorts, they practiced in the brisk, fast-paced style Frost prefers.
By the time you turned on your work computer, practice No. 1 of the Frost era was in the books.
Practice No. 2 won’t be until March 27. After spring break.
“I thought it was good to get these guys a taste of what practice is like before spring break,” Frost said. “Hopefully that will discourage a little extracurricular activity for spring break if they know they have to come back and work like this.”
Frost liked the work players did, as well. Good “effort and enthusiasm,” Frost said. By holding a practice this week, Nebraska was able to schedule position meetings with players beforehand, which prepared them for NU’s new schemes on offense and defense.
Because Frost’s staff has worked together for two straight years — he brought all his assistants from Central Florida — they were ahead of the curve, too.
“This was quite a bit better first day than we had on our first day down there,” Frost said. “I think the guys were a little bit more mentally prepared for it. As coaches, we were more prepared because we had been through this process before. I was really impressed with the execution.”
Frost is bullish on morning practices, although this particular workout was earlier than he preferred because of class schedules. He’d like Nebraska to use morning workouts in the fall, too, in part to help players prepare for Saturday games.
Frost said morning practices make players “better students and better citizens on campus.”
“I was a decent student, but if there was a choice to get up and go to class or stay in bed, sometimes I made the wrong choice,” Frost said. “None of these guys are going to miss practice. 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.”
Frost said he didn’t reflect too much on being back at NU, although, when he saw the N at practice, it struck him that he’s head coach at his alma mater.
“Once you get on that field and practice starts, it’s practice, and I could be in Siberia and Yemen, for all I know, it’s practice,” Frost said. “But when we take time to step back and look at things, being back here in Lincoln, it’s pretty special to me.”
Experienced Huskers embracing leadership
LINCOLN — Upperclassmen are going all in with the new coaching staff, coach Scott Frost said Friday morning, and those players will continue to be key as Nebraska makes a transition to new schemes on offense and defense this spring.
Offensive lineman Jerald Foster (senior), defensive linemen Mick Stoltenberg (senior) and Ben Stille (sophomore) and wide receiver Stanley Morgan (senior) were Huskers that Frost mentioned by name during his media chat inside the Hawks Center.
“We have some older guys that have bought in, and that’s important because those have to be the guys that are holding everybody else accountable,” Frost said. “But there’s nothing better as an athlete or just as a human being than being part of something that’s bigger than just yourself. And I think these guys are starting to feel that we’ll keep building it.”
Asked about Morgan, Frost called the wideout “a real guy” and “what we want in this offense.” Morgan considered declaring for the NFL draft but decided to return to school after recording team-highs in catches (61), receiving yards (a school-record 986) and receiving touchdowns (10) last season.
Shedding light on FNL camps
Nebraska announced the return of its Friday Night Lights camp earlier this week. On Friday, Frost said he hopes the format can be like what it had become under former coach Mike Riley.
“The one thing we gotta determine yet is if the (Memorial Stadium) lights are going to be ready,” Frost said. “They’re working on the lights this summer and we gotta make sure we have the lights so we can make it Friday Night Lights. We’re looking to have a similar structure to what they had.”
That also includes allowing fans to watch, which they did in droves the last two summers after Riley’s staff began FNL in 2015.
“I heard about that last year,” Frost said. “Nebraska fans, if we have something that’s open to them, they’re going to come. I know that, and that can be a real benefit to us in recruiting.”
Individual camps are set for June 6 and 7, with the Friday Night Lights camp June 15. A 7-on-7 camp and “Down in the Trenches” session — featuring offensive and defensive linemen in half pads — will both go June 16.
An assist to Vedral
The quarterbacks looked good on the first day of practice, Scott Frost said. But the best one on this day happened to be a walk-on.
Noah Vedral should know the new offense better considering he spent a year in the system at Central Florida last year, Frost said. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound graduate of Wahoo Neumann is sitting out this year in accordance with NCAA transfer rules and is expected to earn a scholarship by the 2019 season.
He served as the Knights’ backup last fall, completing 22 of 29 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown, along with 77 rushing yards and two scores in eight games.
“You can kind of see that polish and that refinement and just the ease with which he sees things and makes decisions,” Frost said. “He’s been a big piece of our installation because he’s able to be out here with the guys when we’re not. And if there’s any questions, Noah knows the answer to them.”