Purdue and Nebraska have played some close, exciting games of late and the Boilers even won during their last visit to Lincoln. Can Purdue avoid a Scott Frost Day and pick up a third victory over the Cornhuskers in the last four games? We talked to SB nation’s Corn Nation about it.
1. It is year four of Scott Frost and Scott Frost Day is still a thing. Are things getting hot enough for his facade to melt? What is a reasonable expectation for him?
Patrick: He probably has to go to a bowl or face the wrath of AD Trev Alberts. If not, expect an assistant coaching overhaul and a firm talking to.
Todd: It’s definitely put up and shut up time for Scott Frost. He’s had some tough luck, and the rebuild has been bigger than a lot of fans thought it would be. That said, a winning season and a decent bowl game must happen this year.
Nate M: We have heard about progress for three years. I think he made mistakes in year one and two and has started making adjustments. Unfortunately the put up or shut up year he has the 2nd hardest schedule in the country. In fact, I think Purdue is up there as well if I’m correct.
Jon J: Here is a reasonable expectation. Win 8 games this season with no blowouts. Getting to a bowl game is the absolute minimum for continuing his existence at Nebraska. Nebraska fans are tired of this shit. It’s not just losing, it’s the stupid comments. The complaint about clapping against Iowa last year… Good God man, are you up for this job or not?
2. I saw that Nebraska was pretty terrible in turnover ratio last year (-11!). Was that the main thing holding the offense back?
Patrick: Playing football
Todd: Turnovers contributed, but were not as big of a factor as penalties, ridiculous play calling, and just not having the talent to compete any better than they did.
Nate M: Turnovers and thinking you can turn athletic running back into a quarterback.
Jon: Turnovers are endemic of a bigger problem. Nebraska under Scott Frost has been a weak football team. If bad things happen, games snowball into the ground. Compare two games last season. Against Purdue, good things happened early, Nebraska goes up 17-3 in the first quarter and continues to hang on for a win. Illinois, Nebraska starts by throwing a sideways pass that’s ruled a fumble - a bad thing happening - and the game goes straight into the shitter after that.
The main thing holding the offense back? They can’t overcome themselves. Simple as that.
3. Is this the year Adrian Martinez turns the corner from “pretty good” to “great?
Patrick: Great question, let’s ask the Nebraska offensive line and Adrian’s physician.
Todd: He will never be great. He can top out as very good if he can stay healthy, complete passes, and make good decisions.
Nate M: We forget he was in the pre-season Heisman discussions his sophomore year. He has not been healthy since. During the spring game he looked faster than he ever has but they weren’t exactly hitting him. If he doesn’t stay healthy it doesn’t really matter.
Jon: Yes. He is physically capable of being a Heisman Trophy winner. Mentally… he’s been all over. This is the year he pulls it together, the offense explodes and we start talking about Scott Frost Day with a positive vibe.
4. What about the defense? It was not great, but not terrible a year ago.
Patrick: Hey, we beat Rutgers. Right? Pretty sure we beat Rutgers.
Todd: Defense will be good and the strength of the team. That said, it still needs to get a lot better.
Nate M: The defense is getting old and then we hope they stay old. They should be greatly improved but then again they’ll be playing Oklahoma and they could put up 100 on Nebraska. Purdue also has a David Bell and Nebraska definitely doesn’t.
Jon: The defense has figured out how to be mentally strong. They have players now that can get past mistakes. They play together, they have experience. They have the makings of a pretty decent defense.
5. The recent series with Purdue has been kind of fun with a decent amount of close games and chatter. Are you a rival now?
Patrick: Sure, why not? Let’s put you folks right behind Northwestern but ahead of Maryland.
Todd: I don’t think so. Nebraska fans don’t hate Purdue enough. Every rivalry must have respect, competitive games, and hate. The hate isn’t there.
Nate M: I think if we shared a border then the chances of us becoming a rivalry would be better but we all know Iowa fans and they are simply terrible human beings who have made one of the worst decisions in their lives and that is pulling for Iowa. (I kid. I kid.)
6. What will it take for Nebraska to be NEBRASKA again?
Patrick: Innana to come back and reign over the earth. She was popular back when Nebraska was NEBRASKA.
Todd: Win ball games. Play a physical style of football. Beat teams they should beat, and beat them badly. Start beating good teams.
Nate M: I don’t think they’ll ever be NEBRASKA again. I think they could be a better program than Wisconsin but that’s so far off that it’s not even a consideration. Right now they have trouble beating Illinois. The road toward where I think they could be will take close to a decade, and that’s assuming Frost is the one who figures it out. They need to focus on development and figure out who they want to be.
Jon: In capital letters? I think we should start with being NEbraska or NeBRASka before we worry about that. I know there’s a lot of people who think it can’t happen, but look at what’s going on with Nebraska’s basketball program. We are seeing recruits at a level that previously no one thought possible. The wins haven’t come yet, but when they do, they will come in droves. You may find that statement laughable, but wait a year, then send me an email, and see if you can laugh at me again. This is going to happen because we have the right coach, because we’ve built facilities and an arena to prepare for greatness. Things are coming together.
If Nebraska is going to be NEBRASKA it’s going to take everything coming together. EVERYTHING. That’s a lot of stuff.