Huskers look to turn the page, prepare for Black Friday matchup against Iowa

Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Luke McCaffrey #7
Nebraska FB vs Illinois
Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Luke McCaffrey #7 Nebraska FB vs Illinois Nebraska Football Nebraska Athletics Communications Office (Nebraska Athletics Communications Office | Nebraska Athletics Communications Office)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 12:58 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s time to move on to Iowa, and that’s what the Nebraska football team is trying to do.

After practice on Monday, several players and Coach Scott Frost spoke to the media via Zoom about moving on from a very bad loss to Illinois and getting focused on a Black Friday date against the Hawkeyes.

“We’ve got to be constructive about what went on Saturday and then turn the page on to the next game,” linebacker JoJo Domann said.

“We’re so much better in so many ways, but we weren’t Saturday and that’s what frustrates me. We’ve taken steps forward. I feel like we took a step backward Saturday,” head coach Scott Frost said.

The two big talking points about the team were the defense finding a way to get off the field on third down, and the offense moving the ball down the field and hitting receivers.

On the defensive side, Domann said he doesn’t believe third down is always the issue.

“When it’s third and short, I think the real problem is on first and second down. We’re not getting them into third and longs,” Domann said.

Illinois started Saturday 3/3 on third down and finished 11/17.

Some of them were certainly short distanced, like the two 3rd and 1 conversions Illinois made on its way to scoring for a second time on its first full drive, but there were plenty of third and long conversions as well.

On the offense, when looking back at the tape there were several times receivers, particularly Zavier Betts, were wide open down the field and the ball never game their way.

“I think the biggest thing is building that trust in practice,” captain Kade Warner said. “If you don’t build the trust, then there’s no way you’re going to have it during the game.”

“We’ve got kids in the program that I think are going to be great receivers. Our quarterbacks need to trust them, and we need to be in the right spot,” Frost said. “We’re working toward that every day and we were better today.”

Both Warner and sophomore Wan’Dale Robinson said that there were issues with route running and completing passes in practice last week leading up to the Illinois game.

Both indicated balls were dropped and the lack of success in practice led to a lack of success in the game.

“That’s not the way this game works. Hopefully our young players learned a lesson and we won’t let it happen again,” Frost said.

“In practice, we weren’t really executing the way we should,” Robinson said.

But Robinson said he believes the team learned from the mistake of not practicing hard enough last week after a win.

He said there were hardly any mistakes today and that the team was laser-focused.

“Even after a win, you have to know that you have to come to work each and every day to get prepared to beat the next team,” Robinson said. “This season is not over. We still have three regular season games left... This could be a really big steppingstone for next year.”

One additional note, Collin Miller was at practice Monday but didn’t participate after having to be taken from the field on a stretcher on Saturday. Frost said it’s doubtful Miller returns to the field this season as the team is most concerned about being careful with his long-term health.

Nebraska will travel to Iowa City to play the Iowa Hawkeyes at noon on Friday.

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