If you’re looking for a reason beyond tangible results why there is even the smallest glimmer of hope for Nebraska to have success Saturday against Ohio State, start with the change Scott Frost has seen in his players’ belief in their ability to compete.
“To be honest, when we went up to Ann Arbor (to face Michigan), I’m not sure the team thought they could win. I think they wanted to, but I’m not sure, deep down, if some of the guys thought they could win,” Frost said Thursday. “I think we have a team that’s going up there (to Columbus) thinking we’ve got a chance if we play well. And that’s a big change and improvement.
[ Watch: Frost on preparing for Ohio State ]
“We’re playing a really good team; we’re going to have to play our absolute best to have a chance to beat them. But I think the mindset’s in the right place.”
Nebraska was outmatched physically against Michigan, yes, but the mental side of things was just as fragile. It showed on the scoreboard as the Wolverines led 20-0 less than 12 minutes into the game, and 30-0 halfway through the second quarter.
This Ohio State team is ranked higher than Michigan was at the time. The task certainly isn’t much easier. But at least there is a sprout of belief.
“We know we have a big challenge ahead of us, but I know our guys are excited to play this one and I think we’re going to put our best effort out there,” Frost said. “Guys are having fun, and that’s what it’s all about. If you can work hard and get accomplished what you want to get accomplished and have fun at the same time, makes life a little better.”
[ Two-Minute Drill: Vedral moves up ]
Vedral is QB2: One week after getting his first game action in a Nebraska uniform and three weeks after first being ruled eligible and getting rushed to Evanston, Illinois, for the Northwestern game, Wahoo’s Noah Vedral is now Nebraska’s No. 2 quarterback behind Adrian Martinez.
On Nebraska’s depth chart, released Monday, there is an -OR- separating Andrew Bunch and Vedral for the backup spot. But if the need arises in Columbus, Vedral will likely get the call.
“Right now it’s Noah. And Bunchy’s perfectly capable and ready to come in, too,” Frost said. “But I think going into the game it would be Noah.”
Vedral played the entire second half against Bethune-Cookman, going 2-of-9 passing for 29 yards, and rushing seven times for 13 yards and the Huskers’ lone second-half touchdown.
Neal out: Junior defensive lineman DaiShon Neal will miss time after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed injury, Frost said Thursday.
Neal had played in Nebraska’s first seven games, but was not in uniform against Bethune-Cookman.
“DaiShon has been gutting it out with an issue for a while and just couldn’t go anymore, so we got him surgery,” Frost said. “And he’s probably going to be out for a little bit.”
Neal had three tackles this season before his injury.
Short stuff: One of the ways NU’s offense will try to stress Ohio State on Saturday is with quick passes to the perimeter, whether designed or part of run-pass option packages. It’s a staple of the Husker offense, but it requires speed and accuracy from quarterback Adrian Martinez.
It seems illogical, but Martinez sometimes makes the most difficult throws — say a deep out to the far hash mark — look easier than swinging a ball out to the flat. But he’s been more accurate the past couple of weeks.
“It all has to do with his feet, and there’s a couple things we have left to take care of so it’s not left to chance,” quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said. “All that stuff is starting to come together.”
Sometimes there’s no time to get fingers on laces and, depending on the rush, it might require a side-arm or three-quarters throw. Martinez is getting used to using whatever arm slot or motion he has to in order to get the job done.
“That’s what we like to make certain that we do,” Verduzco said. “You’re going to have to (change it) depending on the environment. It’s been good and I suspect it’s only going to get better.”
Source: The Associated Press