Nebraska’s 38-31 loss to Indiana highlighted the team’s inconsistencies and lack of focus at times. Because of that, one of the main focuses from Monday’s press conference was focusing on the little things, a mantra that has been repeated over head coach Scott Frost’s almost two-year tenure.
“Those little things, like easing off the gas, those show up in the game,” junior offensive tackle Matt Farniok said. “Those lead to lack of focus. That’s what leads to us making mistakes.”
A good takeaway from the defeat was it highlighted the depth at quarterback as both backup quarterback Noah Vedral and third-string quarterback Luke McCaffrey played and performed well.
The two combined to complete 19-22 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown. They also ran for a combined 97 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
“I think quarterback is one example of a position where there is no question, we have improved, gotten more talent in here, [and] increased our depth,” Frost said. “All three of those kids are good players and we are in a good spot to have all three of them.”
For the most part, offense wasn’t the issue on Saturday, though, as they put up 31 points and 514 yards of total offense.
The defense was the main issue as they could not slow Indiana’s pass-heavy attack all day. After a performance as poor as that one, it was fair to question the defensive coaching, but Frost was quick to defend the whole staff, particularly defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
“[Chinander] is one of the smartest coaches I’ve been around,” Frost said. “...Every kid in our program adores Coach Chinander, they all play hard for him. I don’t think there’s any doubt our players are playing harder than they did or however far you want to look back.”
After the loss, Nebraska sits at 4-4 and must win two of its remaining four games to become bowl eligible. With games against both Wisconsin and Iowa left on the schedule, Saturday’s clash with Purdue is close to a must-win.
The Boilermakers enter the contest after a rough stretch of games where they lost five of their last six games, including a disappointing home loss last week to Illinois. One of the main reasons Purdue has struggled is because its best playmaker, wide receiver Rondale Moore, has been out with an injury.
Moore is questionable for this week’s contest, but Frost said the availability of “one of the best players in the country” will not change their preparation.
“[Moore’s] a special guy, but I’ll tell you they have some other special guys on that team too,” Frost said. “...I think [Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm] is really smart with the scheme offensively. He’s going to give you some stuff you haven’t seen. We’ve got to prepare for their team.”
One of Moore’s good friends is Nebraska freshman star Wan’Dale Robinson, as they are both from the same area and train with each other over breaks. Robinson had mixed feelings on whether he wants to see Moore on the field this weekend.
“Yes and no. I hope he comes back, obviously because I love seeing him play. I think our games are similar, but I don’t want him to cause our defense any fits either. Either way, I’ll be happy to see him,” Robinson said.
Nebraska takes on Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2. Television coverage will be provided by FOX.