All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Tuesday's episode, Adam Carriker is joined by Husker legend Tony Davis to discuss Scott Frost's offense, Nebraska's running backs, Adrian Martinez and more.
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Here's a transcript of today's show:
Adam Carriker: Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles the people's show where we check the pulse of Husker nation. Brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital.
I know he's not a fan of the nickname, but this is Mr. Tough Tony Davis, Coach Osborne's first I-back and first thousand-yard rusher, and he is also the MVP of the Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl in the same calendar year in 1974.
Also the MVP of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1977. How you doing my friend?
Tony Davis: Good, buddy. How are you?
Adam Carriker: I'm doing glorious. I'm gonna thank you for joining me and let's dive right into it. Alright, so we're one year, nine games in to Scott frost era as the head coach here at Nebraska. Just give me your initial thoughts and impressions so far with Scott frost as our head coach.
Tony Davis: I would have, like most of us, would like to see more wins. I'd like to see-- see us progressing up versus even or down or even down, and that concerns me, but I also understand that this thing's going to take a while and we're going to have to be patient with them and give them the time they needed to turn this thing around.
I'm excited, I'm I'm a fan of Scott frost as a coach, and I think that he can get this thing done.
Adam Carriker: Now, talk to me because they started out 0-6 last year, then they won four of the last six games, and their two losses-- last second field goal on the road at Iowa. Five point loss on the road to Big 10, Rose Bowl champ Ohio State. Then this year, there's some high expectations, obviously a little bit too high, but do you think they've regressed from last year and if you believe they have, what would the reason for that be?
Tony Davis: I don't know. There's parts of our game, and I'm not going to go into because it required me singling out certain areas of our football team and I don't feel like calling kids out like that, I think I want I want them to, most people know what I'm talking about.
Adam Carriker: Yeah.
Tony Davis: And that is: The game is won or lost up front most of the time. If you're dominating defensive and offensive lines, your chances of winning the game increased drastically. If you're not, they decreased drastically, and I think that's that's what we're seeing right now.
Adam Carriker: Talk to me, what you see from our running back position. Obviously, Maurice Washington isn't with the team. His long-term future has not been made public, anyways, as of just yet, but talk to me about what you see from Dedrick Mills, who played at Georgia Tech and the true freshman Wan'Dale Robinson, those two have kind of been the one-two punch most of this year. What have you seen from the guys?
Tony Davis: I've really encouraged by both of those, I think that Mills shows great speed and strength and power, and Wan'Dale is kind of a difference-maker. Whenever that ball is in his hands, he can make things happen. Keeping him healthy is very important. I really like those two backs. I noticed earlier on the season, we started running a little of the old Scott Frost offense with Mills at fullback. I think that, from a personal standpoint and my background and in football coaching is, I think that that type of offense would help would help that offensive line a little more than what's being run now, but Scott's got a plan and so he's following that plan. It's going to take him a while to get the players he needs I think.
Adam Carriker: Now, when Eric Crouch came on the show, that's obviously a guy who's familiar with the old power triple option offense, that Nebraska used to run. I asked him the question just for fun. We know what Scott Frost's offense is, it's uptempo, fast-paced spread. Okay, we're not questioning whether he should run that or not. But, just for fun, if he did bring back the old school Nebraska triple option power offense, do you think it would work in today's college football world?
Tony Davis: What did he say?
Adam Carriker: Eric said yes, and I agree with him.
Tony Davis: I agree with him 100 percent. It takes pressure off your offensive line. It puts pressure on the defensive line, in that you do this, when you're running the option offense, you're blocking certain players and you're allowing other players to not be blocked, and you're going to counter off what that guy does. That puts the pressure on that defensive player. Right now we're putting pressure on our offensive tackles to be able to block one on one, and they're having a difficult time doing it.
Adam Carriker: Yeah, so for me, I've always said the offense worked for 40-plus years and obviously, the game of football evolves, all right, but for me, it can still work and if everybody--that's what Nebraska is known for, and if we were the only school who's still doing it, we would be the destination spot for those kids coming out of high school to come to. There would be no real competition other than per se Navy or Army. Georgia Tech is not doing it anymore. But that's just my opinion. I do think the scheme can work. I do think we'd get all the recruits that want to play in that offense, but we know what Scott frost wants to do.
So, talk to me, what you see about Scott Frost's offense, because it put up a ton of points at UCF. There were times last year when it put up a ton of points. What do you see in the future for this spread fast paced Scott Frost offense?
Tony Davis: Well, I think he's going to get the players he needs to run the offense that he wants to. I also think that by combining his offense with the old school offense he ran, I think you can do both. I think you can do both effectively. I think you can run the option, the option, the trap option, series that they ran when they were there. I think that you can combine that with your shotgun options and passing as well. I think you can do them both. I think that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on defenses, but I'm also going to say this, I trust Scott Frost to do, I'm gonna trust him to get done what he needs to get done, because he's a-- this kid is a great coach. He isn't, you know, he didn't just get bad all of the sudden. Things happen for reasons and sometimes the results are not good.
Adam Carriker: Yeah I know, I've said several times on this show Scott Frost is the right guy. I've also said, you know, everyone needs to be held accountable because at first it was like, ooh, don't question him. You know, everyone needs to be held accountable.
Tony Davis: Everyone.
Adam Carriker: But you got to be reasonable at the same time. So, when I asked about the old school offense, it's just because it's fun to talk about. You would know that better than anybody. Yeah, I just enjoy talking about this stuff.
Now. Let's talk about Adrian Martinez, and obviously he's struggled a little bit this year, but as a former running back and obviously he's a running quarterback. He doesn't look like he runs the same to me. From a running perspective, what looks different with Adrian Martinez this year to you?
Tony Davis: My first thought was it looked like he put on 15 pounds. That's the first thing I thought, boy, he's not looking as as decisive, as quick, as he used to look. Then. the indecisiveness sometimes comes when you know more about the offense than you did before and you're kind of overthinking and overanalyzing it. You kind of put that into perspective. I don't know if that was part of it, but then he gets dinged up. What we need is, is Adrian to play like Adrian played last year at times, which is decisive, making those decisions, put the ball on the money, if you gotta run, run, get your butt down, okay. There's no reason for you to take on, take any more hits then you have to. You have to be smart about how you do this, but be decisive on how you do it.
Adam Carriker: To me last year, he didn't always make the right reads and didn't always do everything right, but he was going so fast. I'll never forget that Colorado game. The one where he runs, he makes a guy miss, and he runs down the left sideline, 40-50 yards for a touchdown. He does the dive into the end zone. You've probably seen the picture a million times. Yeah, he actually makes the wrong read on that play. Yeah, he should have given it to the running back, but he kept it, made a guy miss, made another guy miss. He was playing so fast. To me he was like a gunslinger last year. He didn't really care. He didn't always do it right, but he was going so fast. This year, do you think maybe the preseason hype kind of got to him a little bit?
Tony Davis: I don't know. You know what, that's the things I don't know about Adrian, because I've never really spent time with him. If we do, we might be able to evaluate things a little bit differently. I'm not sure. I know that it doesn't seem like he's playing like he did last year. He doesn't seem to be as effective as he was last year, and what quite frankly, every offense needs a quarterback to play at their best, but, and we're no different than anybody else, if our quarterbacks are not playing at their best, then we are going to struggle, and we are.
Adam Carriker: Now, you and I were briefly talking about the Blackshirts before we came on air here. So, tell me what a Blackshirt tradition means to you, because you got there right after the Blackshirt tradition started. So, you were there around the inception. So, what's the Blackshirt tradition mean to you, and what do you see from our Blackshirts right now?
Tony Davis: When I played, those who wore the black shirts wore them with a sense of responsibility that was almost beyond what was reasonable. That's how much they thought of that Blackshirt. They would not-- that Blackshirt, man, I have a responsibility to everyone who wears this Blackshirt, and then as a result of that everybody who wears the red, but the effort that it took to be honored a Blackshirt, was second to none. There was no halfway, there was nothing halfway.
Coach Kevin and these guys, there was nothing halfway. If you wanted to wear a Blackshirt, there's a certain thing that you did, a certain way you played, and efforts you gave that that was never questioned. Okay? And if you're not doing that, you're not giving that effort, and that's the first part of its effort, because those are things we can control, right? We can always control how hard we decided to work, and how hard we decided not to work, and those are under our control. We don't do that, you're not wearing a black shirt. That's all there is to it.
We have a ways to go to get there, okay. We are not, Adam, playing as good of defense as what that Blackshirt represents. And, that, I'm sure we can get there. These kids got talent, but you know, someone's going to have to kick somebody, somebody has to hold somebody accountable on that football team. It's got to be players, more than it is coaches. You know what it is, you guys, we played an era, and you played in a time when we held each other accountable, and that's the name of the game.
Adam Carriker: I completely agree. I'm just going to quickly give my thoughts that I just shared with you beforehand. I'll share them here with the fine folks at home. You know, sometimes you're a really good football team. Sometimes, you're not as good. Sometimes you're better than the other team. Sometimes you're not as good. The thing that should never ever change is what you spoke about, is the effort. You can always give 100 percent effort, whether you're up 50 to nothing, down 50 to nothing, zero to zero. It doesn't matter, the effort should never change. I tell that to the kids that I coach right now that are ten, and they get that concept.
So, to me, that's the thing that bothers me the most, and I think we can work on the most important thing. Now, I know you're a former running back and offensive guy, but can you share with me, as I tell the fine folks at home, thanks for joining me, go big red, can you say throw the bones?
Tony Davis: Throw the bones. Go Big Red!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.
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