Nebraska coach Scott Frost isn’t sure where some of his injured players are heading into Saturday’s game against Indiana.
But he knows Maurice Washington won’t be a part of the game plan.
Frost said Monday at his weekly press conference that Washington hasn’t lived up to some of the things that he requires from his players, so he’s not a part of the team right now.
“There are certain standards we ask our players to uphold,” Frost said. “When those aren’t upheld, doesn’t matter who it is, they won’t be in our plans for that week or longer.”
Frost cited his mentor Tom Osborne with how he wants to treat players and do what’s best for them, but eventually sometimes something has to be done.
“Coach Osborne was this way,” Frost said. “He wasn’t quick to crumble kids up and throw them away. Some of those kids that are in some of those situations, if they’re gone from the program, that road doesn’t lead to very many good places.
“As long as I’m here, I’m going to try to help these young me as much as I can. That’s a promise I make to their parents when I sit in their living room and tell them we’re going to try to help them no matter what.”
Frost said this isn’t related to Washington’s legal issues in California, and that as far as he knows Washington is still enrolled in classes.
Washington had been held out of two halves of football this season. He missed the first half of the opening game against South Alabama. Later Frost kept him out of the first half of the game against Northwestern on Oct. 5.
“I held him out of the first half because of internal things and rules,” Frost said after the Northwestern game. “Mo is such a special player, but we need to be able to rely on him all the time, and that was my decision to hold him out the first half.”
Washington’s biggest game of his career came against Colorado when he had 77 yards on 15 carries and caught four passes for 118 yards, including a 75-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
Washington was also off to a fast start against Illinois and had 10 carries for 89 yards, but left the game in the second quarter with an apparent lower leg injury.
For the season, Washington has 455 yards on 77 carries (5.9 per carry)and three TDs and has caught 24 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown.
Frost said Washington didn’t practice last week, didn’t practice Monday and his status for the rest of the season remains to be determined.
“He won’t play this week,” Frost said. “We don’t see him being a part of our plans in the immediate future, and the farther out future, we’ll have to determine that based on some circumstances.”
Washington’s absence leaves a hole in the Husker offense that someone will have to fill. Junior Dedrick Mills, who has been listed as a co-No. 1 at running back with Washington all season, now is all alone in that spot.
Frost said Mills is getting better all the time.
“I think probably the big thing was the vision and a little bit of patience in running in our kind of scheme,” Frost said. “It’s not so dowhill and hit right now.”
The Huskers could look for more carries from senior Wyatt Mazour, who is returning after missing time with an injury. Mazour has eight carries for 31 yards so far this year and has caught two passes for another 31 yards.
Freshman Rahmir Johnson has nine yards on three carries in two games so far, but Frost would still like to keep him at four or fewer games this season so he can retain his redshirt status.
“I think it could change if circumstances change,” Frost said. “We’d like to try to save the year if we can, depending on how the last half of the season goes.”
Frost was fairly noncommittal when asked about quarterback Adrian Martinez, who missed the Minnesota game with an injury. Frost said he was working hard to get back and that the bye week helped, but when asked if he was optimistic about his return this week, Frost said, ‘Hard to say.”
Kicker Barret Pickering has missed the first seven games with an injury, but was listed second on the depth chart this week. Frost said he believes Pickering is close to returning.
“We’ve got a whole army of kickers down there, and some of them are healthy and some of them aren’t, and I can’t really keep track anymore,” Frost said. “Hope to get him back as soon as we can. I think from what I hear, he’s getting pretty close.
The Big Ten Conference announced Monday that the Nebraska game at Purdue on Nov. 2 will start at 11 a.m. and will be televised on Fox.