LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Sept. 19)–The Nebraska football team practiced for over two hours on Thursday inside the Hawks Championship Center in helmets only in preparation for Saturday’s game against Illinois.

Head Coach Scott Frost addressed the media following the conclusion of practice to talk about the improvements Illinois has made from last season.

“They’re an improved team,” Frost said. “Their coaching staff knows what they’re doing. Defensively, I think they’ve plugged up some of the holes that we exploited last year. They’re not giving up big plays like they did last year. They’re better up front. I think the secondary looks faster. Offensively, they do some creative things, and I think they’ve got good players doing them. I think they’re an improved team. I think they’ve gotten better. I think we’ve gotten better, so we’ll see how the chips fall and who has improved the most.”

Frost also commented on the kicking situation.

“We were just kind of dealt a bad hand,” Frost said. “This isn’t like the NFL where you can go pick up someone new. Most teams only have one scholarship kicker. We’re the same. We have a bunch of other guys and they’ve done a pretty good job, but it’s not a situation you want to be in. Hopefully we’ll be through it soon and can put it all in our rearview mirror.”

Expanding on the kicking situation, Frost announced a new addition to the roster, sophomore place-kicker Matt Waldoch.

Matt Waldoch is his name,” Frost said. “Really good kid. He’s a Cubs fan, so I like him. He’s got a big leg. I think he was a soccer player, and he’s officially on the team now. It’s a little different and he needs some work at it, but we’ll see where he’ll develop too. I don’t think he’ll be on the trip this weekend.”

Frost also talked about the depth at the quarterback position.

“We’d like to get [freshman] Luke McCaffrey some run in one of these games if we ever get into a situation where we can,” Frost said. “I feel great about [sophomore] Noah Vedral right now. He’s practicing at a really great level. I think he can come in and win games for us. It would be great to get Luke a little time too. Obviously the plan is to redshirt him, but I’d love to see him get his feet wet this year.

The Huskers finish preparations for Illinois with a light practice on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday with television coverage provided by BTN.