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Nebraska vs Wisconsin, college football, 10.6.18

Quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) talks with Nebraska coach Scott Frost on the sideline late in the fourth quarter of a game at Wisconsin.

If you tuned in to Scott Frost’s hour-long appearance on the Sports Nightly radio program, you might have learned a little bit about football.

You might also have learned about a former companion of the Nebraska head coach – his old chocolate lab, Bogey. Frost told a triumphant hunting story – Bogey proved to be quite a good bird dog up around Walthill – in response to a caller who happened to be from the area.

Outside of that vignette, the Husker coach didn’t reveal any big secrets or steer too far off his normal approach, but that’s probably because he’s been consistent all along and he likes the trajectory his 1-6 team is currently on.

Frost, not surprisingly, spoke nearly as glowingly about his young quarterback as he did about his old pup.

Of freshman Adrian Martinez, Frost said, “He’s as good a guy off the field as he is a player. He’s awesome to be around. High-character guy. It’s tough for an 18-year-old to be a leader right when they get to campus, but he’s getting better at that every day. In the future, and even next year, some of these young guys are going to have to step up and be leaders of the team and he’s working toward that.”

Frost brought up Martinez’s 25-of-29 performance against Minnesota and marveled at the efficiency behind those numbers.

“There’s not too much that he’s missing right now,” he said. “Every single game he’s been more and more locked in to what we’re trying to do. Not only what we’re trying to do, but where he needs to go with the ball based on down-and-distance, situation. It’s fun to watch somebody develop like he has this year at that position.”

Some other quick hits from Frost:

Of junior running back Wyatt Mazour, Frost said, “He’s a really good player. He can do a lot of things for us because he’s learned a couple different positions. We’re hoping to get him some time on Saturday (against Bethune-Cookman) and get him some carries so people can see it, but he’s going to do whatever we ask of him and he’s been a good special teams player for us.”

Frost also reiterated that he admired sophomore defensive lineman Ben Stille, who turned down a Blackshirt this week because he didn’t think he’s performed well enough to earn one yet.

“The Blackshirts mean a lot and I wasn’t ever one, but I got to practice against them every day,” Frost said. “Hopefully the standard for what it takes to be a Blackshirt keeps getting better. I love what Ben did. We felt like, after the win, at least the starters deserved to wear those shirts in practice, and it shows how much Ben cares and how much he gets it to say he didn’t practice well enough to get it.

“I’ll tell you what, he’s practiced well this week, so if we go out and play well, we’ll try to give it to him again and see if he thinks he’s earned it.”

Frost was asked a couple of questions about tempo and playing fast and, though he didn’t cover any particularly new territory, his comments were interesting nonetheless.

“We have a gameplan set based on how teams are going to play and a lot of it is by formation and where we think we can get advantages based on how teams line up against formations,” Frost said. “So we’re trying to track that as we’re going fast and see if there’s any adjustments we need to make. Adrian has the ability to change certain plays. If we’re ever in a really bad play, he has the ability to change it. One of the great things about our scheme is, on any given play, usually the ball can go anywhere to two or three or four different places based on what the defense is giving you, so there’s not too many things that need to get us out of plays and into something else. We just have to be efficient enough in what we do and our decisions and our eyes to get the ball to one of several different places based on what the defense is giving us.

“That’s a little different than when I played and we were running option one way or maybe we needed to get a different option or run I the other way. There are several different guys that are live and capable of getting the ball on many of the plays we run. That makes us more efficient without having to get into a completely different play."

Frost talked tempo and the way in which the defense and offense can complement each other in the ability to play fast.

“When we’re really rolling as a team, that puts our offense in attack mode,” Frost said. “We get a little better on offense, a little better on defense, we start to get the ball back, we star to get the ball with good field position, that’s when we really want to get after someone.

“If we keep getting better and keep getting the ball in that position, I think the tempo is going to get even hotter.”

Frost on recruiting and verbal commitments: “The open thing we promise our commits is if they’re committed to us, we’re committed to them. If they’re committed, we expect them to stop taking visits and stop talking (to schools) and be done. The flip side of that is if a kid is committed to us, we’re going to see it through no matter what. We had one kid get hurt and we’re going to honor the commitment and get him healthy and we’re not going to back out on him.”

That would be running back Ronald Thompkins of Grayson High in Georgia, who saw his senior season end before even one full game when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. It’s the second straight year Thompkins has had a knee injury scuttle a season.

“Commitment is kind of like being engaged. You’re not married yet, but you’re committed,” Frost said.

Steven M. Sipple, Parker Gabriel and Chris Basnett peg Lamar Jackson, Devine Ozigbo and Adrian Martinez as three of the most compelling storylines of the season. Plus a look at Bethune-Cookman, thinking about the stretch run of the Huskers' season and a healthy dose of hoops talk as the season nears.

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Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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