It’s now a one-week season for Scott Frost and his Nebraska football team.
And it’s going to be a one-week season the rest of the year.
That starts this weekend when the Huskers (4-2) play at Minnesota against the unbeaten Gophers (5-0). After that game, Nebraska has the first of two bye weeks this season.
“Pour everything into this week,” Frost said. “It’s a one week season. We are going to look up on Sunday morning and either be 4-3 or 5-2 and then we get to rest and recuperate. And recover mentally too as we prepare ourselves for the next stretch. Whatever our guys got, they have to pour into this week to try and give us the best chance.”
Bye? What bye?
“We don’t even see the bye to be honest, we’re looking at the next game,” nose guard Darrion Daniels said. “That’s one thing that’s comforting in regards to playing with this team. The bye week isn’t on anybody’s mind right now, we just want to play. We just want the opportunity to go out there and attack anybody.”
The two teams met a year ago with the Huskers giving Frost his first victory as head coach with a 53-28 win in Lincoln. Starting with that game, the Huskers have won eight of their last 12 contests.
“We’re just in the middle of this process of getting us to where we want to be,” Frost said. “There’s a lot of steps to take. We’ve certainly come a long way. I don’t think anybody in the building is happy where we are either.
“As a coach, you could go undefeated and not be completely happy because you don’t play as well as you want to. We’ve just got to keep finding ways to get us chances to win.”
Since that loss to a year ago, Minnesota has gone 9-3. Have the Gophers arrived in PJ Fleck’s third year as head coach?
“I know the whole thing is a process,” Frost said. “You have to keep getting better inch by inch and day by day. It’s pretty obvious that they’ve continued to improve. I think we’re on the right trajectory as well. We’ll probably have this game and a lot more tough games and big games against these guys.”
That’s one advantage for the Gophers. Fleck has had that extra year to implement his system at Minnesota.
“They’re like us. They’ve taken a big step from last year to this year, and probably the year before,” Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said. “They’re one year up on us as far as a maturity standpoint. I think they’re doing a good job with that group and it will be a challenge for us.”
And then you throw in the challenge of possible inclement weather.
The forecast for Minneapolis calls for highs in the high 30s with a good chance of snow during the day.
Nebraska offensive coordinator Troy Walters said the Huskers have taken no steps to deal with the cold weather.
“None,” Walters said. “We told them Monday it’s going to be cold and possibly snowing. It’s a mindset, and to get ready for that. And if anything else changes, if it’s better conditions then we’re good to go. But we’re prepping for a cold day, a snowy day, a tough day.”
It may be a day like the Huskers faced in Lincoln last November when they came away with a 9-6 win over Michigan State.
“Our guys are tough,” Walters said. “We played Michigan State last year in those types of conditions. If it comes to that, we’ll be ready to go.
“A lot of it is just mindset and understanding before you get there that it may be miserable conditions. But it’s hard to really simulate snow or cold if it’s not cold here. Rain you can simulate with wet balls, but cold you just gotta go play.”
Daniels just isn’t going to worry about it.
“I have no control over the weather, so it’s one of those things where God blessed us with the day, so just be thankful for it,” he said. “ I’m not used to playing in cold weather, but I get used to it. After warm-ups, I’ll be straight.”
Cold and snow might be harder on the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers who are handling the ball.
“I don’t think really anyone loves it, but we’ll make the best of it,” quarterback Noah Vedral said. “I mean, what did they say it will be, 30 to 40? Still not quite cold for Nebraska’s standards so we’ll be OK.”
But it’s just a one-week season, so it shouldn’t be too bad.
“I think the weather could be the biggest factor in this one,” Frost said. “Thirty-two degrees and playing football is beautiful. That’s football weather unless it’s raining and blowing wind, then that changes things.”