Frost says Huskers will have to be at their best vs Michigan; Martinez close to returning

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Scott Frost and the Huskers said the team has a lot of things to get better on, but they're working hard to change the results. The coach and several players talked to the media Monday in the Huskers weekly press conference.

Coming off a loss to Troy at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, which dropped the Huskers to 0-2 on the season, Frost and the Huskers said they're getting better and have showed a lot of good things, but details and discipline need to improve and they're working to get things to where they need to be.

The team's schedule doesn't get any easier with conference play opening on Saturday at Michigan. Frost said Michigan plays hard and the Huskers are going to have to be at their best to compete with the Wolverines.

As for quarterback Adrian Martinez, who didn't play Saturday after he was injured in the final minutes of the game against Colorado, Frost said he practiced Monday and was close to playing against Troy, but the decision to hold him out was made because it was deemed best for the team and Martinez's future.

You can hear what Frost and the players said Monday by clicking the links above. The transcript of Frost's presser is below.

On quarterback Adrian Martinez playing against Michigan
“He practiced today and that’s all I’ll say. We’re going to make a decision on what’s best for the team and what’s best for him. It was close last week, but he wasn’t ready. We didn’t want to put him [Martinez] in that situation. We need him for the rest of this year and the rest of his career, so the key is going to be whether this is any added danger for further or more injury.”

On Michigan’s defense
“They know what they’re doing and they’ve played really hard. On top of that, they have some really good athletes on that side of the ball at all three levels. Teams have a hard time running the ball against them and they do a great job taking away easy throws and playing tight coverage. You have to earn what you get against them.”

On the offensive line's performance vs Troy
“At times we did things well, it’s kind of like everything else that’s going on right now. At times we did things well, at other times we didn’t and it cost us. If you’re going to move the ball consistently on offense you have to have 11 guys execute well better than 90 percent of the time and we’re not there yet. We’re at a point where we’re doing things right 70-80 percent of the time and the other 30 or 20 percent are biting us and costing us drives. It’s not just the O-line, it’s everybody on both sides of the ball and special teams.”

On what Nebraska needs to improve upon the most
“If it was as simple as pin-pointing one thing I think we’d be ultra-focused on that, but its details. That was our message to the team last week, and it will continue to be our message to the team. It’s not just on the field, it’s deciding whether or not to make it to class and deciding whether or not to be dressed the right way at meetings and deciding whether or not you are going to go home to go to bed and get sleep instead of doing something else. Champions make good decisions every single decision that they have, and average players, average teams don’t make those good decisions. Little things lead to big things and we’re going to get it right, I don’t care how long it takes and what we have to do, we’re going to make those little decisions matter. It’s those little decisions and little mistakes that cost us a couple games.”

On penalties
“We look like an undisciplined team right now with a lot of the penalties. Some of them got corrected this week and other ones popped up. Too many mistakes, too many penalties, too many bad plays. I did see a great practice today, I saw guys practicing with an intention to be great. I thought it was our best Monday. It was just kind of a different mind-set today and I hope that carries over.”

On if anyone has “gotten off the ride” this season
“No, it’s nothing like that, I just want to get ahead of it. Coming into Nebraska and hearing about how things went down last year I want to make sure that nobody decides to go off on their own. We’re all in this together. There’s a lot that had to be fixed, we fixed a lot of it, but there’s still a lot more to be fixed. Typically it’s older guys if you’re going to have some frustrating things that happen to you at the beginning of the season they are bought in, but not completely. That’s just what I don’t want to see. I want to see the old guys doing things the right way training young guys, everybody just fighting harder. It’s going to take more discipline, more attention to detail than these guys have done and that we’ve held them accountable to yet.”

On keeping spirits up
“I think their spirits are OK judging off practice today, probably better than mine. Nobody likes to lose. You could kind of feel like we’re snake bit with some of the things that have happened to us at the beginning of this season, but again that’s those are the cards that were dealt to us and we have to find a way to make it happen. Right now I think the guys aren’t in bad spirits, they’re just frustrated and want to change the results.”

On the amount of mistakes from this team
“There’s a lot of things. I think accountability is something a lot of these guys have been missing as a team. We are trying to instill that and it’s going to happen. Whatever we have to do to make sure we’re doing things the right way habitually so those things become part of who we are, and then in the heat of the moment when we need it the most we are going to fall back on our training and make those good decisions.”

On Frost’s impression of Jim Harbaugh
“He’s a good coach obviously and his teams play hard, I know that. They [Michigan] are going to be well-coached, disciplined, and play hard. Listen, we hoped at the beginning of the season to go into this game with a good record, hasn’t turned out that way. This one’s going to be a more challenging game than the two we’ve played so far. This team is considerably better in my opinion, than the two teams we just played and didn’t beat. This is a huge task and we’re going to have to play a perfect game and get a lot better in a week to come out on top in this one, but that’s how the kids are practicing. Looking forward to it.

On Harbaugh’s formula or style of play that carried over from Stanford
“I think it’s just that they play really hard and they know what they’re doing. At Stanford he had success, at Michigan he’s had success, so usually those things follow somebody that holds teams to high standards and makes everybody do the right thing.”

On Adrian Martinez’s situation and whether that could become a game-day decision
“Until I hear from trainers that he’s progressed to a point that there’s no risk of further injury, then we’d be foolish to play him.”

On what he liked best about freshman running back Maurice Washington and what he brought to the table
“Mo is a big play waiting to happen. He’s just young, I think the fans are starting to see some of the things that he’s able to do. Again, the unfortunate thing for Mo is we didn’t get him in and admitted to school until late, he didn’t have the advantage of a summer conditioning program and being around the guys to learn scheme. He’s done a great job coming in and doing what he can, he’s a really talented kid. I can’t wait until the day when he has a year, year and a half in the weight room with Zach (Duval). He’s certainly a kid that can provide a spark for us in the game.”

On what he wants to see in regards to wide receivers this week
“This week is going to be a challenge. These guys play a lot of man coverage, they’re going to be up in our face, you have to be able to win. Right now we trust (senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr.) and (sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman) to win. We need more guys to step up. I think it hurt us a little bit at the end of the last two games because we’ve had to play Stanley and JD a lot. Anybody would get tired as much as we’re playing those guys so we need more depth there, more guys to be consistent, so we can get them on the field and keep them fresh.”

On how close he thinks they are to reaching that point
“We’re close, there’s a bunch of guys that show really good things. (Freshman wide receiver Andre Hunt) has been good since he got here, he just has to take the next step. (Junior wide receiver Jaron Woodyard) since he got here, he has to be more consistent. (Junior wide receiver Mike Williams) continues to improve, (senior wide receiver Bryan Reimers) has to give us some reps. (Sophomore wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey) has got to be a little more consistent but shows flashes, we just need consistent play out of those guys so we can get more guys out on the field.”

On how special teams are working
“Not very well right now. Everything else that happened, I think if we don’t give up a punt return touchdown we have a really good chance to win. Going into that game we kind of had a strategy where we were going to lean on our O-line and our defense and our special teams and try to do everything we could for a new quarterback to not have to have the game on his shoulders. The way we started it out, down 17 to nothing that became impossible. We have to make sure and get those things right. Our starting field position hasn’t been very good and that’s due to penalties and mistakes on special teams.”

On whether he anticipates personnel changes on special teams
“Potentially, but that will be every week. Tell you this, no matter what happens, we’re going to be who we are and we’re going to do what we know works. Nobody is going to panic, we’re just going to work. I think if the coaches panic and make a bunch of changes just because of losing a couple games, the kids won’t believe in us as much. We had the guys out there on those units that we thought were the best going into the game. Not a lot is going to change, we just need to do a better job.”

On whether that mentality also applies to the offensive line
“It does, I think offensive line, it relates closer to the issue at receiver right now. Guys like (sophomore offensive lineman Boe Wilson), (redshirt freshman offensive lineman Trent Hixson), (redshirt freshman offensive lineman Hunter Miller), some others need to step up and be able to spell some of those guys. We got tired on the O-line, particularly at the end of some of the long drives where we’re going fast and we didn’t quite have the edge that we had at the beginning of the drive. More guys that are able to play will help us, we just have to keep bringing them along as coaches.”

On whether that will be critical against a defensive front like Michigan’s
“We’re going to have to be at our best judging off what I’ve seen on tape. Hopefully we’re full strength, we’re going to put them in the best position we can from a schematics standpoint on both sides of the ball and special teams. We have to have a lot guys make plays and play well.”

On how Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh has worked in Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson
“Any time you’re starting a guy that’s new to a system, and a new starter, it takes a little while. You can see the talent there. I guess we didn’t know for sure if his offense would look more like it had the last couple years or if they’d go more spread this year. Shea is good enough to play in any scheme, and we watched him when he was coming out of high school and I thought he was exceptional in high school, so I know how good a player he is. It’s kind of like our guys starting games for the first time, it’s going to take them a little bit of time to get comfortable enough with everything to be as good of players as they can be. I have no doubt he’ll get there.”

On whether they thought about Shea Patterson when they came to Nebraska
“By the time I got to Nebraska, I think that was a done deal.”