LINCOLN, Neb. — When Nebraska coach Scott Frost and his staff arrived in Lincoln, many wondered what the Huskers’ winter conditioning would look like. If it was anything like Central Florida’s, it was expected to be difficult.
With the end of winter conditioning and the arrival of spring practice, was head strength coach Zach Duval’s “winter war zone” as difficult as expected?
“The first workout was crazy,” senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. said. “I couldn’t walk for a week.”
So, yeah — it was pretty difficult.
Duval’s workouts didn’t just test players’ limits and abilities. It actually made a huge impact in their gains. Morgan, for example, said he gained six pounds of muscle during winter conditioning. His smirk after admitting that said everything one needs to know about how that feels.
Frost noted the differences he’d seen in players at his pre-spring football press conference. He even equated some of the before and afters from players to that of ‘The Biggest Loser.’
“We’ve already seen huge gains from a lot of the workouts they’ve been doing,” Frost said. “Zach Duval is as good as there is in the business and before and after pictures and gains in the weight room and on the field have been pretty apparent to the coaches.”
The winter work mentality isn’t over yet, either. With Nebraska now in full spring practice mode, players are working to adjust to Frost’s way of doing things. That includes early morning practices that are difficult from start to finish.
And if junior defensive back Lamar Jackson were to sum up Frost’s practices? It would be a marathon.
“It’s crazy,” Jackson said. “It moves fast, super fast. Everybody is running around, running around so you have to think on your feet. There’s not [too much] talking, you just have to keep it flowing. Once you get into the flow and stuff like that, everything goes OK but it’s a fast tempo.”
Jackson was out of breath when he reached reporters after practice on Tuesday. So were senior linebacker Dedrick Young II and Morgan.
Was the “marathon” practice enough to leave Morgan the most tired he’d ever been post-practice? He was hesitant to say, but he had his answer after giving it a little thought.
“Probably so, I want to say so,” Morgan said. “But we haven’t hit the sun yet. We’ve been inside. The sun plays a factor.”
Frost felt the Tuesday practice was a bit sloppier than the Huskers’ first practice before spring break. It wasn’t to the level he’d like from the team, but spring break likely played a factor. He expects better results by Nebraska’s next practice on Thursday.
“Every time we’re on the field, I want us to be better than the time before,” Frost said. “We set a new standard every time we’re on the field, and we’re competing against ourselves to beat that the next time, so we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us on Thursday.”
Jackson smiled as he tried to catch his breath post-practice. Winter conditioning was as difficult as advertised, but it’s already been helping him keep up in Frost’s spring practices. Seeing improvement already, he knows the marathon practices will be worth it in the end.
“I feel better today than I did the first practice and I think I’ll continue that way,” Jackson said. “This is just teaching me how to take care of my body. A little more hydrated, recover a little more. It’s all good for us.”