Camp Notes: Joy of Scholarship Announcements
Nebraska football players wear devices during practice that monitor their physical vitals, including heartrates.
“I woke up today just like any other day, coming to work, doing my job,” said Weinmaster, a walk-on linebacker from Loveland, Colorado.
Make that former walk-on.
Frost introduced the junior and announced he’s being placed on full scholarship. Teammates jumped and roared their approval before mobbing Weinmaster.
They did the same for Bryan Reimers, a senior wide receiver from Lincoln, and Wyatt Mazour, a junior running back from Albion, who Frost also asked to stand before the group and announcing they, too, were walk-ons now on scholarship.
“I just felt an overwhelming presence when Coach Frost told them to stand up. And I knew exactly why,” sophomore safety JoJo Domann said. “Dude, to see your friend, your teammate, work for something for so long and so hard, and finally be able to achieve it, you take a step back and you admire the whole situation.”
Weinmaster, one of Nebraska's top special teams players last season while playing in all 12 games, said the idea of being on scholarship is still setting in, but that it marked a significant step in his football career.
“I have a really good support staff,” said Weinmaster, distant relation to Kerry Weinmaster, a middle guard for Nebraska in the late 1970s. “My family has been great. My teammates have been awesome. I think it’s been more proving it to myself, because this is such a big thing for any person to go through.”
Mazour, who’s specializing in Frost’s famed Duck-R position, a hybrid running back/receiver role, said Frost pulled him aside late in Friday’s practice, with about 10 minutes remaining, music still blaring in the background as storm clouds began rolling in.
“He said something about talking to me about a one-year scholarship,” Mazour said. “I looked at him, and was like, ‘Wait a second,’ and he kind of had a smirk on his face about it. I shook his hand and said, ‘Thank you,’ and was thinking about it the rest of practice.”
Mazour joked, although not really, about being “broke,” having taking out student loans to go with some academic scholarships he’d received to pay for his school. Now on scholarship, it’s a lightened burdened as Mazour (pictured above) can more easily focus on his future.
His father, John, is a doctor, and Wyatt has always wanted to follow suit and join the medical field. He’s dreamt since high school of going to physical therapy school and specializing in sports therapy to help athletes.
“I grew up loving sports,” Mazour said. “Being able to know what people go through when they go through injuries, you feel like the world is crashing down on you, so to be able to help those people and see them improve emotionally and physically, I’m really looking forward to that.”
Reimers, a Lincoln East graduate, has seen the most on-field production of the three new scholarship players. He played in 12 games as a sophomore and 10 games as a junior, and has seven career catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Weinmaster, Mazour and Reimers are the first walk-ons Frost has placed on scholarship.
“Those three guys kind of epitomize the walk-on program to me,” Frost said. “They came in here, they sacrificed. Particularly, Jacob has paid out of state tuition to be here. All three of them have earned spots on special teams. That’s usually your first start of getting on the field, is contributing on special teams, and all three of those guys have been selling out.”
The spirited reaction of their teammates during Friday’s introductions is exactly what Frost had hoped to see from a group in which in he’s instilling a brotherhood culture.
“It’s fun to see the team get excited for their brothers,” Frost said. “That’s the best part, when you announce it and the team goes crazy and gets excited for something good happening for one of their teammates.”
Bryant Moving On
Junior running back Tre Bryant has told Frost his knees can no longer hold up, and that he’s moving on from football, Frost announced Friday.
“I think he just figured out he just can’t do it with the condition that he has,” Frost said, noting Bryant’s knees are bone-on-bone. “We’re going to support him and help him any way we can.
““He’s been incredible since he’s been here. I just don’t think his knees will hold up right now.”
Bryant, from St. Louis, played in the first two games of last season before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. He had surgery in October and went through extensive rehabilitation to return to football in time for preseason camp.
Coaches were cautious with how much work they gave Bryant, who recently has also been dealing with an ankle sprain.
“We were going to try to keep him on pitch count and so many reps in practice and so many reps in the game,” Frost said. “He’s good enough to be a great player, and I feel terrible for the kid, because I think he had a future in the game -- a bright future in the game. But it’s hard.”
Bryant initially was feeling good but recently told coaches about not being able to sleep at night because of aches and pain in his knee.
“This game has to end for all of us at some point,” Frost said. “It’s just sad when you see one that has to end too early.”
In other personnel news, Frost said wide receiver Dominick Watt, a member of the 2018 recruiting class, has enrolled in a junior college.
QB Announcement On Hold
Frost isn’t ready to announce a starting quarterback. He said he wanted to wait through the weekend and talk to both candidates – freshmen Tristan Gebbia and Adrian Martinez – before making a final decision.
“Both guys are doing really good things,” Frost said. “It’s been going back and forth. We’re going to need both of them this year. We’ll probably have a conversation this weekend and make an announcement.”
Frost had a situational scrimmage on Thursday that focused on quarterbacks.
“I started to see flashes of what it’s supposed to look like in that scrimmage,” Frost said. “The defense is flying around a lot better than I’ve seen it. Offense, when we execute well, we have plenty of talent to be really dangerous.
“At times, it showed; at times, it didn’t, because of little mistakes. But the effort was great, the intensity was great. I was really happy to see some signs of excellence coming out of these guys.”
Frost reiterated the competition has been healthy and friendly, that Martinez and Gebbia are friends, and each has taken turns in having the better practice.
They also have different strengths, which makes the battle all the more intriguing.
“It’s kind of comparing apples to oranges in the same offense,” Frost said. “I think both guys are capable of running our offense well.”
The coaching staff’s final decision will be based on which player is most efficient, protects the football and makes good, timely decisions without making mistakes.
Reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.