Frost Fires up the Fans as a Family Husker Hire Hits a Homerun
There have been dozens of articles written since the Nebraska hire of Scott Frost last Saturday, December 2, and his introductory press conference the following day. The scribes have covered every Frost angle from recruiting to offense and defense to the Peach Bowl to his family and even back to his undefeated 8th grade team in McCook. I may not write anything particularly new or original in these droppings, but wanted to share what this hire means to this 62-year old lifetime Husker fan.
As I watched the press conference Sunday, the lump in my throat and the moisture in my eyes was punctuated by the occasional fist pump as Frost shared his vision for Nebraska football. Those of us that lived through the 70s, 80s, and 90s know what Husker football is supposed to look like and Coach Frost gets it. He has been there, he has won, he is family and lives the values we all can relate to.
“I played here. I understand it,” Frost said. “I saw the best of this place. I also saw some hard times that maybe other people hadn’t. But that’s what makes this place great, is the passion that the people here have for it.” “Watching it from afar, I’m not sure that that passion was unified, that that passion wasn’t always completely supported. It’s my hope that by returning this to its roots and maybe with me coming back we can get that passion all pointed in the right direction. When that happens at Nebraska, this is the best place in the country to be.”
Our country is as more polarized now than at any time since the Viet Nam War…. maybe even since the Civil War (but I wasn’t around then). The polarization had extended to Husker fans as 20 years of frustration had taken its toll on the fan base and losing only exacerbates the fracture. We are a people that needed an opportunity to hope again, to be passionate about a product we could be proud of, to cheer players that play their tails off for each other and for the red “N” on their helmet.
“From afar, it didn’t look like the Nebraska that I knew,” Frost said. “I think this state is hungry for unity. When I was here under Coach Osborne, there was unity of purpose, and unity of belief, and unity of understanding, and unity of support for this program, what it stood for and what it was accomplishing. This program needs that again, and this state needs that again.”
Sports has been referred to as “the toybox of life” and when the rest of the world around us seems like it’s swirling down the drain, many of us at least want our playground to be a safe place to play. Unity begins at home, it begins with a sense of family and common values. Frost gets it. To turn an 0-12 Central Florida team to a 12-0 squad takes more than smoke and mirrors. It takes love. He weeded out the bad apples and convinced the team that hard work and loving each other would create a change in culture that produces fun for the game and the joy that comes from victory. More love, more work, more success, more fun, more wins.
“We’re going to work harder than everybody else,” Frost said. “That’s what Nebraska’s about. We’re going to be a more united team than everybody else. That’s what Nebraska’s about. And we’re going to work your tails off in the weight room and be stronger and more physical and tougher than everybody else, because that’s what Nebraska’s about.”
“The staff that I’m going to bring in here is going to be a bunch of guys that these players will love, a bunch of guys that have tremendous character and are going to care about these guys that are going to mentor them and teach them and help them be better on and off the field,”
Frost also struck some chords when he talked about the walk-on program and in-state players. On his 1997 Championship team, the offense featured 9 of 11 starters from Nebraska. Frost mentioned that too much top talent has left the state in recent years and we only have to look back to the Iowa game to see the reality of those words.
“I’m looking forward to try and grow the walk-on program and making it what it was before. There’s going to be some sacrifices that are probably going to have to be made to get it there, but when you have a bunch of kids that are from the state of Nebraska in this program, those are the type of players who would bleed for this place and are going to work hard to make this work.”
“When I was growing up, every kid in the state of Nebraska dreamed about running out here in this stadium, on this field, wearing the red ’N’ on their helmet,” Frost said. “There’s too many kids from this state right now playing at other schools. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure those kids are here.”
The truth is, you don’t change a culture overnight. It will take some time and Nebraska fans need to encourage their impatient compatriots to give it time. I don’t think it will take the seven years of his $35 million-dollar contract as I believe we will seem some improvement immediately. Some players will choose to leave, but those that stick it out will reap the rewards.
A few other random thots…
- The unity Frost preaches apparently extends to his coaching staff. His entire staff is moving to Lincoln with him and getting nice pay raises accordingly.
- Many of us thought the silence last week was because the hire was in the bag. Little did we know that it was still up in the air and we have Matt Davison and Tom Osborne to thank for nudging him home.
- Bill Moos is a smooth customer. How great is it to have a cattle rancher as the NU AD who through his tenure has gained immeasurable administrative experience from which Nebraska gets to benefit? Just look at the difference in how Moos acquired Frost vs the train wrecks in major programs around the country.
- Any concerns regarding whether Frost and Company could multitask have been answered quickly as over a dozen offers have been distributed to recruits and he also seems ready to get as many JuCo guys as necessary to fill the needed gaps.
- The question many have is whether Erik Chinander’s defensive scheme was going to work with the B1G. The last two games, high powered offenses shredded UCF’s crew. One difference to me is that his boys could hit and tackle and be aggressive on that side of the ball. That can only spell improvement. The more that comes out about Diaco is that the previous coaching philosophy became a flaming cluster. Position coaches seemingly were prevented from actually coaching, and I feel for guys like John Parella that were handcuffed by Diaco.
- I can’t understand why any running back or wide receiver wouldn’t be thrilled to be in a Frost offense. Stanley Morgan, Jr will do nothing but improve his draft status by staying for his senior year.
- It will be interesting to see what kind of shakeup happens in both the offensive and defensive lines. Who will last? Who will be committed to get stronger and tougher? We were embarrassed up front this year and these guys better start getting in shape now, because real work is about to begin.
- Can you imagine a greater contrast between the fan response to this hire vs the last one?
I’m more excited about this off-season than I have been in years. The sellout streak is surely preserved for years to come and I trust fans will have a reason to stay for four quarters of the Frost Fiesta! Go Big Red!!!
ThotDoc's Brain Droppings on the Frost Hire
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