Matt Farniok was straight to the point: Redshirt freshman center Cameron Jurgens needs to snap the ball better, and it's on not only Jurgens but the rest of the Husker frontline to figure out how to improve.
"Right now it's just, we have to figure out a way to get it right," said Farniok, NU's junior right tackle and captain. "There's too many snaps that are going wild, that are going long, that are messing up the reads, and we have to find a way to fix it. It's on all of us. We've got to find some type of way to get those snaps right to the chest.
"There's no excuse for it now. Heading into Week 7, we need perfect snaps every time. That's the No. 1 role of a center and that's what we expect from our center. He knows he needs to fix it and he's been working on it."
After several wayward snaps in Nebraska's season opener, Jurgens dialed in the accuracy for much of the ensuing weeks, but the wildness has cropped up again in the Huskers' past two games.
"We've had the snap issues all year, and it's gotten better progressively as the year's gone along, but again, it's hard for quarterbacks to have good timing, good rhythm and have their eyes where they're supposed to be when they're worried about too many unknowns," head coach Scott Frost said. "And the snap is the first one. ...
"It's gotten better but it still needs to improve."
Frost says onus on Washington to respond: Frost made the decision to suspend sophomore running back Maurice Washington for the first half of Saturday's game against Northwestern, marking the second time Washington's been suspended for half a game this season.
The first was related to the California native's ongoing court case in Santa Clara County, but this one was about team rules.
Head coach Scott Frost said the onus is on the 6-foot-1 sophomore to respond the right way in practice and going forward.
"How did he respond? We'll see how he responds this week," Frost said. "We want him to come back and prepare well and get ready to play well. If he does, this will all be water under the bridge. But we need him to respond just like the rest of the team."
Washington had 417 yards of offense (268 rushing) over Nebraska's first four games — including 185 at Colorado — but has just 18 total yards over the past two. He's been in and out of games because of minor injuries and against Northwestern in the second half had five carries for 1 yard and one catch for minus-2.
Spielman's status unknown: Frost doesn't talk in detail about injuries, but it appears standout junior wide receiver JD Spielman avoided serious injury when he took a hard hit in the second quarter.
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Spielman didn't play in the second half and for a time had a large ice bag wrapped to his knee, but he walked off the field after the game was over and walked through the media area after the game.
Frost only said of the 5-foot-9 Eden Prairie, Minnesota native, "JD will be alright."
Spielman leads the Huskers with 410 receiving yards on 21 catches.
Pickering not on redshirt radar (yet): Sophomore kicker Barret Pickering has now missed the first six games of the season with an unspecified leg injury.
Frost said Monday, though, that the coaching staff hasn’t yet talked about potentially using a redshirt year for the Hoover, Alabama, native.
That’s understandable, given the current point in the season, but those conversations aren’t too far in the future at this point.
“We have just been having our fingers crossed that he’d be back sooner rather than later,” Frost said Monday. “I guess if we get a few more games into the season, we might start having that discussion. Right now, we just want him to be healthy.”
Pickering could return for, say Nov. 2’s game at Purdue plus the final three regular-season games after NU’s second bye week and still redshirt. Another option: A return after the November bye for Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa and a potential bowl game or Big Ten title game. For now, though, the Huskers are just trying to get their lone scholarship kicker to a point where he can play at all.
Redshirt for Rahmir?: Freshman running back Rahmir Johnson made his second appearance of the season Saturday against Northwestern, and Frost Monday said the speedster is "ready to help us" offensively.
However, Johnson remains a top redshirt candidate. With six games remaining in the regular season, Johnson can play in two more games and still redshirt.
"He’s practicing really well. He’s fast. He’s going to give us a weapon somewhere down the road. He’s played in two games, we got him in for a series on Saturday but probably didn’t get him in enough," Frost said. "We’re going to try our best to keep him around here for four more years after this. You never know what’s going to happen with injuries and other things with the teams. We might end up having to play him. He’s an example of a guy kind of on the cusp, but if we can help it, make sure he doesn’t use this season without getting too many reps."
Davis a presence: Khalil Davis missed Saturday's game against Northwestern after being suspended by the Big Ten, but that didn't stop the senior defensive tackle from being a presence on the Nebraska sideline.
"On the sideline he was a great motivational person. He stayed with the energy and stayed motivating us," said graduate transfer captain Darrion Daniels. "If he saw something, he'd pull us to the side and mention in to us if he noticed something we were doing wrong, or if there was a certain thing they were doing to us."