Steven M. Sipple: Husker’s spring football season ‘one of greatest ever’, says Alberts | Column


What I know and what I think I know:

Trev Alberts is not a big guy who wins the offseason.

He knows it doesn’t matter much.

“We had a lot of wins in the offseason here,” he said.

Many Nebraska football fans are tired of the offseason hyperbole leading up to fall frustration. The phenomenon became extremely noticeable to me during Mike Riley’s tenure as coach (2015 to 2017).

Even so, Nebraska’s first-year athletic director Alberts is willing to share some of his first impressions of current Husker coach Scott Frost’s revamped offensive staff as he prepares for the start. Monday of the spring training season.

“I will say I just walked into Scott’s office today (Friday) and he’s thinking about different things — which I think is really good,” Alberts told the Journal Star. “When you have Mickey Joseph and Whip (new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple), there are a lot of thoughts that get challenged.”

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I’m told that Nebraska’s new offensive line coach, Donovan Raiola, brings very different teaching methods than his predecessor. It’s safe to say that this will be a more physical spring for the O line compared to the past few years. Maybe Husker’s new running backs coach, Bryan Applewhite, will light a fire at his position. Time will tell us.

A projection of the pre-spring depth chart for the Husker offense

Joseph, the freshman passing game coordinator and wide receiver coach, has already captivated much of Nebraska’s fan base with his personality and energy in recruiting. Meanwhile, it has become clear that Frost has handed the offense over to 64-year-old Whipple – a big part of it, anyway – as Frost transitions more into a CEO role.

How much will Frost be involved in the offense? This is one of the intriguing elements to evaluate in the future.

“I was very impressed with these coaches,” Alberts said. “They have a presence about them, and it’s not ego or arrogance. But, I mean, a lot of them have been in a lot of situations and seen a lot of things. You can even feel it with the players they I had the chance to interact with Casey Thompson (the transfer quarterback. I’m really excited.

“It’s, I would say, one of the most important springs we’ve ever had in Nebraska football.”

Why does he feel this way?

“You have so many new faces,” Alberts said. “You have new coaches. How is this all going to work? What is the structure like? You can do a lot of really good work in the spring. I just see a commitment and a work ethic. And generally, while ‘they’re all subjective (observations) – superlatives or otherwise – you tend to win more than you lose if you do them right.

Frost will likely have to win more games than he loses in 2022 to get to 2023. No reason to dig deeper into that conversation at this point.

That said, urgency alone makes this spring interesting.

Nebraska, 15-29 since 2018 under Frost, has a lot of ground to cover, and time is indeed running out when you’re setting up a new offense.

The spring game is scheduled for April 9.

Yes, everything seems quite important.

Steven M. Sipple: The pressure is on Husker's staff, but Chinander wouldn't have it any other way

* You know who else wasn’t a big guy winning the offseason? Former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who preceded Riley, always felt the offseason here was ridiculous in terms of media coverage. It’s a single market, that’s for sure.

* I tend to think of Nebraska’s upcoming spring season as one of the most interesting spring seasons the media won’t see (except, of course, for the spring game). Frost is generally stingy when it comes to the amount of practice he allows the media to witness first-hand. Due to the massive changes in offense, I suspect he will be even more frugal in this regard. It will probably allow the media to watch stretches and a few exercises and probably not much else. No complaints here. If I was the head coach of a program as widely covered as NU, I would operate the same way.

*Don’t worry, there will be plenty of interviews in the coming weeks. In fact, all of Nebraska’s coaches and several players will meet with the media on Monday.

* Don’t forget Nebraska’s fifth-year defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. He’s got a lot of work to do on his side of the ball given he’s lost six of his top 10 tacklers from last season.

What does he want his unit to accomplish by the end of the spring season?

“I want to get a better sense of the staff,” he told the Journal Star. “I want to at least know who’s in the running in these battles (for starting jobs) before fall camp in August.”

His follow-up response hints at the high level of intensity that accompanies the spring ball.

“Coming out of the spring, I want this defense to lead the country in the effort,” he said. “There’s still the old test: your defensive value to our team is directly correlated to your distance from the football at the end of a game.”

It’s a good way to look at things. The film does not lie. Usually.

* Bowling is usually great television because the events take place in such a small space.

Kudos to Paul Klempa and his top-ranked Nebraska women’s team for capturing the Big Red Invitational Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl, and BTN deserves a high-five for high-quality streaming as well.

Klempa had a distinct sense of relief during his post-match interview. These bright lights produce a certain pressure.

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