Nebraska’s Frost says he and new OC Whipple on same page

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Embattled Nebraska coach Scott Frost said there is no tension between him and new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple following the Cornhuskers’ season-opening loss to Northwestern in Ireland.

Frost, 15-30 over five seasons, said in his remarks minutes after the 31-28 loss that the Huskers need to be more creative on offense and the coaching staff must work together better.

His comments were interpreted in some quarters as criticism of Whipple, who took over the play-calling duties from Frost when he was hired away from Pittsburgh.

Asked at his weekly news conference if he and Whipple were at odds, Frost said, “No, not at all. He’s really smart. Really good at what he does. We have a lot of other coaches who are really smart and good at what they do. We need to find our rhythm of putting all the best stuff together. I thought it was good on Saturday. It can be better.”

Whipple is scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday. The Huskers play North Dakota this weekend.

Frost had called plays for nearly a decade, since his time as an assistant at Oregon, and he understands the singular focus the task requires.

“Simply said, if I was calling a game, I wouldn’t want somebody else shoving a lot of stuff down my throat,” he said. “You get in a rhythm as a play-caller. That’s the approach I took. Whip’s an elite play-caller. I think that showed up in the first two-and-a-half quarters. You see what can be done with this offense.”

In the first half, the Huskers’ offense was as sharp as it’s been at any point in the Frost era. But it bogged down in the middle of the third quarter and never recovered, and the running game did next to nothing besides Anthony Grant‘s 46-yard touchdown run.

Frost has taken full blame for his ill-advised call for an onside kick when the Huskers led Northwestern 28-17 in the third quarter. The Wildcats recovered at the Nebraska 44, seized the momentum and scored two touchdowns while the Huskers’ offense went dormant.

Frost raised eyebrows with two postgame comments. First, he said, “I think we’re going to have to learn as an offensive staff that you’ve got to be a little creative in this league.”

Later, he acknowledged it’s been difficult for him to give up play-calling.

“I’ve said this, there’s no one way to do things, but I think we can cooperate a little bit more,” he said.

The Huskers rushed for only 110 yards, mostly on plays run between the tackles.

“In the Big Ten it’s hard to just turn around and hand it to a back and think you’re going to be real consistent,” he said Tuesday. “I think I was referring (in the Saturday postgame) to having a few more things in the run game that are schemed for the particular opponent.”

There was one designed run for quarterback Casey Thompson, his 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and backup Logan Smothers entered for one play and carried for 7 yards.

Asked if he would have liked to run the quarterback more, Frost said, “We did run some of it. If I was calling it, maybe we’d call a little more, but I also wouldn’t have been able to call the things (Whipple) did to score us the first 28 points. It’s going to have to be a marriage of different things and I think we’ll continue to get better at that.”

The Huskers finished with 465 yards, but they netted just 84 on their last six possessions.

“It was 75 plays on offense, and not a lot of complaints about the play calls from my end,” said Thompson, who passed for 355 yards. “I think every run and pass play we could have executed. We have to make a few changes and adjustments.”

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.