With preparations for Ohio State well underway in Lincoln, Scott Frost and each of Nebraska's five captains met with the media in a Zoom press conference on Monday to talk about their excitement for the season opener and what they're expecting to see from the Buckeyes.
Below, we've compiled some notes from what each of them had to say – starting with Frost, followed by the players – relevant to the Cornhuskers' trip to the Shoe on Saturday and their pregame impressions of this year's Ohio State squad.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost
- “Adrian's going to be our quarterback,” Frost said, after Adrian Martinez competed with Luke McCaffrey for the starting job this preseason. Said the Cornhuskers won't be releasing a depth chart, though.
- “I expect Ohio State to be ready. We're going to be as ready as we can be.”
- Frost said he doesn't think there would have been a Big Ten football season without Ohio State's efforts. Said he doesn't think it's a coincidence that they're playing each other in the first game of the season. Specifically praised Ryan Day, Gene Smith and Dr. Jim Borchers for their efforts in the fight to save the season.
- “I have a ton of respect for them ... I think they were one of the best teams in the country and could have won everything last year.”
- Frost said the biggest challenge of preparing for Ohio State is all the talent they have.
- On Ohio State: “I'm going to root for them in every single game expect this first one, because I'm grateful to them going shoulder to shoulder to get this (Big Ten football) back.”
- Frost said he talked to Day “quite a bit” during the fight to save the season and said their relationship became closer during that process. “I gotta give most of the credit for this to Ohio State ... Dr. Borchers deserves a lot of credit for this ... Ohio State looked for reasons to play, rather maybe than reasons we shouldn't.”
- “Chase Young's about the best pass-rusher I've been on a football field with,” but he expects Ohio State's new starting defensive linemen to step up without him.
- Asked about Ohio State's last two quarterbacks, Frost said he believes Justin Fields is better than Dwayne Haskins because of his ability to run as well as pass. “That's not taking anything from Dwayne.”
- Frost said the tough thing about preparing for Ohio State's defense is that you can have a small crease or gap and it will go away really fast because of how talented the Buckeyes' defenders are. It is challenging to prepare for their defense without film from this year to go off, but he knows Ohio State has good coaches that will have a good plan in place.
Nebraska wide receiver Kade Warner
- “I'm excited to hit other guys this weekend,” Warner said when asked about Nebraska's hitting in practice. “We've hit each other long enough, and I'll speak for the whole team that we're ready to hit somebody else.”
Nebraska cornerback Dicaprio Bootle
- On Ohio State: “It's no secret, they're a great team, year in and year out ... They're not going to show up to the game and beat themselves ... I've played them every year since I've been here, never got a break from them, so in that aspect, I know how they're coming. They're coming hard.”
- Bootle said Nebraska has to go off what it's seen in the past from Ohio State without any film from this year to go off, but the Cornhuskers knew they have to be on top of their game going up against Justin Fields.
Nebraska linebacker Collin Miller
- On Nebraska's preparation for the season: “I definitely think a lot of players are ready to go. It's been a long time coming, from last year to this year.”
- On Ohio State's running game: “Justin Fields, their offensive line, running backs, they don't beat themselves. They do what they gotta do. Everyone's doing their job.” Said the Cornhuskers need to be assignment-sound.
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez
- “I'm excited. Getting to play Ohio State week one, I know our guys are excited ... We fought to play, we're excited to play.”
- Martinez said Nebraska has been preparing to play in an empty stadium, but that fans shouldn't be needed to get excited for a game like this.
- Martinez said “it's definitely different” preparing for Ohio State's defense without any film from this season to go off, because this is the first time Nebraska has opened up with a Big Ten opponent since he's been there, but he's confident the coaches will have a good plan in place. They've been watching Ohio State film from last season, but he knows the Buckeyes have “some new pieces in there.”
Nebraska right guard Matt Farniok
- How much do you relish the chance to start the season against Ohio State? “It's awesome. They're obviously a high-caliber team ... those are the type of guys that you want to play and you want to kind of test your strength against ... It's always fun when you get to fight these top kind of teams.” Noted that the Buckeyes are ranked in the top five without even playing a game, which is a “tip of the hat to them.”
- On matching up with Ohio State's defensive line: “I think we'll match up fairly well.” Said both teams will win some battles, but it will be a fight.
- Farniok expects Saturday's game to be a physical game. “We're going to try to just own the line of scrimmage.”