LINCOLN — Nebraska coach Scott Frost is like every other Nebraskan who’s following measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.
He’s conducting staff meetings on Zoom. NU has given its players a game plan to stay in shape and eat well even though many players have gone home. For the ones still in town, they’re getting takeout meals from the training table instead of gathering to eat. Recruiting is done with phones. Just about everything, for that matter, is done with technology.
And when Frost had a final team meeting with his giant roster before sending players off, he spread them about the Hawks Championship Center, keeping them an appropriate distance from one another to abide by social distancing rules.
The coach, his staff and his players are doing what they can in the midst of a pandemic. It’s not easy.
“We’re frustrated and concerned and a little bit bored and anxious to get back to a normal state of affairs and in our regular lives,” Frost said Monday night on the “Husker Sports Nightly” radio show. They were his first comments since March 9, when he kicked off spring drills that lasted all of two practices before coronavirus prevented the rest of the workouts — for now — and wiped out the spring game, which is often one of the best-attended such contests in college football.
“It’s a sacrifice we’re going to have to make,” Frost said of canceling the spring game. He noted the rabid support of Husker fans. “I’d certainly want to sacrifice the spring game for the sake of the season next year.”
Yes, that possibility looms if the United States — collectively or in key parts of the nation — can’t get the spread of COVID-19 under control. Frost praised both Nebraskans and state leaders — he’s spoken to Gov. Pete Ricketts — for enacting and following social distancing plans that, thus far, have kept the spread low in the state.
“I think Nebraskans are following orders better than most people, staying away from each other,” Frost said, “and I think really the key to that is that the better we can do with those things right now that the quicker hopefully we get back to a normal type of lifestyle.”
One aspect of the job that hasn’t abated in recent weeks: recruiting. Nebraska has been “burning up the phones” with 2021 prospects, Frost said. On Friday, NU even landed a commitment for that class from inside linebacker Christopher Paul of Cordele, Georgia. Tuesday, the Huskers extended a new scholarship offer in Iowa as well.
“There’s going to be a big hiccup in this recruiting cycle without being able to have kids officially on campus,” Frost said. “And we’re trying to figure out if we’re going to lose our entire spring recruiting (period) where our coaches go out or not.”
That period is supposed to start April 15 and last through May. Then, in June, Nebraska had planned its camps and a slew of big official visit weekends designed to land their top prospects. All of that is in limbo now, especially the month of June, when camps may be supplanted by spring football practices.
But Frost is aware, too, these are minor issues compared with ones faced by a U.S. economy that could be on the ropes as many businesses shut down to try to contain the spread of the virus.
“We’re talking a lot about football problems, but there’s bigger problems out there,” Frost said. “People that aren’t going to work that aren’t getting paychecks, that are laid off. Nebraska people all need to rally around each other and be supportive of people that are really in need, and we’re looking for opportunities to do that as a football team, too, because I know there’s people with bigger problems than what we have.”