The last team meeting the Nebraska football program had this spring, the one in which coach Scott Frost explained to his team that spring football was being shut down due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, did not look like most team gatherings.
Instead of the meeting room in the team's North Stadium offices, the Huskers gathered on the indoor field at Hawks Championship Center, so the 130-plus players and all of the staff could be in the same place while still maintaining proper social distancing, a term that's only come into normal American lexicon in recent weeks.
So now Frost and the NU football program, which lost 13 of its 15 spring practices and its Red-White Spring Game — and who knows what else over the coming months — are pretty much in the same boat as most people in the United States.
They're just trying to ride out the storm brought on by a fast-moving, dangerous virus.
"We're just like everybody else. We're frustrated and concerned and a little bit bored and anxious to get back to a normal state of affairs in our regular lives," Frost said on the "Husker Sports Nightly" radio program Tuesday evening. "Everybody's safety and well-being is the most important."
Frost said most of his team is not on campus right now — that could change slightly after UNL's regularly scheduled spring break ends at the end of this week — and that those who stayed include some of the players who had extensive rehabilitation from injuries.
The team's weight room is now closed, though players can get meals from a grab-and-go setup at the training table. The staff, too, is working from home. They have a daily Zoom video conference call and they're "burning up the phone lines" in recruiting because, well, that's about all they can do at this point, Frost said.
"Hopefully at some point we'll get the guys on campus, but their safety and health is our No. 1 concern. Getting them back, so they can at least focus on academics and making sure their grades are right with online classes, is important. So we're kind of in a holding pattern right now, but we're trying to communicate with our kids as well as we can and keeping them happy and healthy."
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Frost said most of the team will have trouble finding an open weight room at all, though some have either home gyms or can get out on an open field somewhere. He lauded the importance of the team's academic, nutritional and weight staffs in communicating plans to the players through the unique circumstances.
He also kept the hindrance facing the NU football program in perspective.
"We're talking a lot about football problems, but there's bigger problems out there," Frost said. "People who aren't going to work, aren't getting paychecks, aren't getting paid at all. Nebraska people all need to rally around each other and be supportive of people that are really in need.
"We're looking for opportunities to do that as a football team, too, because I know there are people who have much bigger problems than we have."
The third-year head coach said he's had communication with campus leaders such as athletic director Bill Moos, UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green, NU President Ted Carter and even Gov. Pete Ricketts.
"They've been great, but I know they have more important things to worry about than the Nebraska football team," Frost said. "But it does help me to get some information so I know how to lead the football program."
Frost said it was difficult to pull the plug on the Red-White Spring Game, which had more than 62,000 tickets sold, but that it was necessary.
"I certainly would want to sacrifice the spring game for the sake of the season next year," Frost said.
For now, though, it's pretty much just a waiting game for Frost and the Huskers, just like it is for everybody else.
Contact the writer at email@example.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.
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