Footballfoundationbuilding

Assistant coach Jovan Dewitt speaks with media following practice at Hawks Championship Center on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

It’s common for Husker fans to find themselves frustrated with certain games and plays. It’s no secret that there was a lot of confidence and momentum in players, coaches and fans going into this season.

Head coach Scott Frost himself said this year wouldn’t be a rebuilding year, so it’s understandable that fans expected success right away.

After struggling at the start of the season, some people began questioning whether this confidence was all talk. 

However, it’s important to put into perspective that the coaches not only have to focus on being successful this season, but they also have to think about building a long-term program.

Nebraska football has changed and improved since the arrival of Frost and his staff and they’re just getting started.

According to outside linebacker coach and special teams coordinator Jovan Dewitt, when looking at ability and physical stature, the outside linebackers needed to improve their  endurance and speed when he arrived.

To take steps toward quicker players, Dewitt has brought in younger outside linebackers like freshmen Garrett Nelson and Jamin Graham and sophomore Caleb Tannor.

“You can’t fix it all at once,” Dewitt said. “You wish you could, but if you go that route, then you’re probably ending up with transfers all day long and other guys coming in and you’re probably going to end up fixing it again in two years.”

To avoid starting over, sometimes playing younger players with less experience are the best option.

“You’re gonna have to take freshmen and throw them into the fire a little bit, and when you sprinkle in some of the guys that were here then I think you’ve changed the dynamic of the room,” Dewitt said. 

A mentality and attitude improvement has also been crucial in the coaches’ task of changing the culture.

“You see guys paying more attention to detail,” Dewitt said. “You see more guys coming in and just asking questions and having suggestions. They have ownership in what they’re doing.”

Within special teams, Dewitt pointed out that recently at practice a player had a good suggestion for a special punt return situation and Dewitt was completely on board with putting it to use.

Although it’s only year two under this coaching staff, players have adapted quickly to this mentality. Dewitt agreed saying the team is better now than they were a year ago.

The coaches believe having good character will pay off on the field and make the team better and stronger.

“I can put the guys in the best scheme, the best best offensive plays, the best defensive plays I can come up with,” Frost said. “If we don’t have people holding each other accountable, and we don’t have our team making smart decisions and grinding and working hard, I’m not sure the best scheme in the world matters.”

sports@dailynebraskan.com