LINCOLN — Scott Frost knew what he was facing when he took the job at Nebraska.
There have been no real surprises. Frost was well aware of where the Husker program stood and how much had to be done to get the program to where he wants it to be.
“I knew a lot of the challenges coming in here,” Frost said Monday. “I’ve been watching Nebraska for a long time and it was a long way away from what it needed to be and where it should have been. Those changes can’t happen overnight.”
They also don’t happen in a year. We saw that Saturday when an outstanding Ohio State team, one with legitimate national championship aspirations, came into Lincoln and handed the Huskers a 48-7 loss.
The Nebraska program has a long way to go before it’s on the same level as this Ohio State team.
“There’s a lot of ways to look at things,” Frost said. “Going into that game, we won seven of our last 10 games and two of those losses after last night were to Ohio State. Good things are coming.
“You’re never satisfied with where they are. You always want it to go faster, but I don’t think anyone in our building doubts that things are coming and it’s going to make it even sweeter when you get there when you go through these things.”
So the rebuilding job isn’t harder than Frost thought it would be. He also doesn’t really have a schedule as to when he wants the program to arrive.
“My schedule is to get better, and we are,” he said. “We’re a lot better than we were week one, and we’re a lot better than we were last year.”
Ohio State was said to be a measuring stick for the program. That it was, but the Huskers don’t measure up yet. Perhaps Northwestern, a team that beat the Huskers 34-31 in overtime last year, will provide an idea of where the Huskers are in the rebuilding process.
“We’re going to have to play well to win Saturday,” Frost said. “Northwestern is a good team. We’re going to have to play well the next week (at Minnesota). So, we have to keep improving and our kids have to understand that that’s the goal every day.”
Bootle likes secondary
The statistics don’t really make you think the Huskers have a top defensive secondary.
Nebraska is giving up 234 yards passing a game which is 11th in the Big Ten and 76th nationally. That doesn’t change how cornerback Dicaprio Bootle views the Husker secondary.
“I still take our room over anybody,” Bootle said. “I feel like we’ve got some of the best guys in the nation in our room. Our room is still really deep, and we have a lot of talent throughout our room.
“So, we’re just going to keep this thing turning in the right direction. Everything that we’re going to do we’re going to do with intent and all throughout the week just to prepare us for Saturday.”
Taylor-Britt coming on strong
Sophomore safety Cameron Taylor-Britt has turned into an every-down player for the Husker defense.
Taylor-Britt was listed as a cornerback to start the season, but moved to safety early on. Now he rarely comes off the field.
Taylor-Britt is tied for the team lead with two interceptions and has two pass breakups as well. Taylor-Britt is also tied for fifth in tackles with 21.
“It’s pretty fun,” Taylor-Britt said of being an every-down player. “It’s actually amazing, especially at the position that I am. There’s a lot of pressure on the DBs in college football and the NFL because one messed up play and that’s a touchdown. I love pressure, our room loves pressure, and we like that. It’s kind of great.”
The Huskers would like to find some momentum heading into Saturday’s game against Northwestern.
You could make the argument the Huskers had some momentum after a strong performance — except for fumbles and penalties which are certainly important — in a win over Illinois. But any momentum they had was stuffed by Ohio State.
Frost said the team could recapture that momentum at any moment. A great practice could do it.
And if they find that momentum in practice, then they will play well Saturday against Northwestern.
“We’re focused on this one game,” Frost said. “If you want me to look at the whole layout of the season, I think it’s good. We’re not a team with a ton of depth right now, I think it’s good that this is a year where the schedule falls and we have two bye weeks.”
Those two bye weeks could be big for the Huskers. The first comes after the Oct. 12 game at Minnesota. The second comes in early November.
“I think that will give us a chance to lick our wounds, heal up a little bit physically and recuperate mentally too, and breaks up the season pretty well for us,” Frost said.
Bob Hamar is sports editor for The Independent.