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Nebraska Football 2019: The Coach is still the story

That is, the Frost Story is one that still needs to be written

Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

What more can be written about Scott Frost?

It’s a question I have pondered a lot in the lead-up to Nebraska week here on Off Tackle Empire. At this time last year, it felt like we were already out of superlatives; ‘savior’, ‘homecoming’, ‘Frost Advisory’, and whatever other marketing term you could think of were in full effect. The problem with all of this, as it is generally, is that expectation is often the impending doom of a coach at Nebraska.

When Tom Osborne retired, Nebraska was on an absurd streak. From 1962-1997, Osborne and his predecessor, Bob Devaney, combined to win 356 games against only 69 losses and 5 ties. That’s good for an .837 winning percentage. For reference, Nick Saban is slightly better at Alabama with an incredible .876 winning percentage, and .840 between LSU/Alabama. The point is, Nebraska was as good as anyone in that era, and for all the, “The 1990s are never coming back for Nebraska,” crowd, you’re sort of missing the part where there was literally a four decade period of dominance built up.

See, the funny thing with success is that it feels like you can’t possibly fall from the top. Sure, it happens to literally everyone and everything, but I don’t blame anyone for feeling good about themselves after a stretch like that. Again, this wasn’t just about what Osborne did. This was a hubris built on years of backing it up. Hell, even under Osborne’s predecessor, Nebraska was feeling good about itself... until it wasn’t. Again, what is well documented as the place we find ourselves now is poor decision after poor decision. (And, it might be a perfect time for you all to check out Dead Read’s excellent series on the decline and hopefully rebirth of Nebraska athletics)

It wasn’t just hiring Bill Callahan, and it wasn’t about firing him either. It wasn’t about whether or not it was smart to hire Bo Pelini without experience, nor was it simply about how idiotic it was - especially in hindsight - to hire his opposite in Mike Riley. Hell, it wasn’t about Steve Pederson, Harvey Perlman, or Shawn Eicorst. It was all of these things, and even just the cycling through of new rules, teams catching up, and the football world changing. But that’s just it, even through all this mess, Nebraska fans found themselves more and more upset at each new iteration of Nebraska football. That is, until Scott Frost was hired.

Frost, the local kid who grew up in the midst of the dominance, gets where the expectations come from. As the beginning from hell unfolded last year, you could see the visible frustration on his face. Arguably no coach wants to win more than any given individual on a field, but Frost understood the goal here. It’s win, win some more, and if you don’t win, make up for it with some more wins the next weeks. He had brazenly walked in and told the Big Ten to take its swings and boy were they doing that. But through all that, I think he started telling his own story. One that does not have to take on the baggage of the winning or losing.

Look, I don’t really even know what to think about Frost yet either. I’m excited about his potential and he’s been fairly excellent in everything he has done throughout his career. His staff has been loyal and executes strategies and plans in about as clean a method as I’ve seen. He has worked to create a strong top-down strategy with administration that should give him the rope and resources to be the best destination in the nation for recruits. All the pieces are there, but until we get a few seasons in - and hopefully quite a few more wins - his story will be incomplete. Is he a Bo Pelini where you’re going to get 9 wins and just have to be happy with that? Is he Tom Osborne where he’s going to usher in an era of dominance? Is he something worse and the pressure will get to him?

I honestly don’t know, and like I said at the beginning, what more is there to say at this point? It’ll be a really interesting few years and I’m excited, but I guess we’re just going to need to see this one play out.


Scott Frost will be the best coach Nebraska has ever had.

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  • 69%
    That’s sort of an insane bar
    (749 votes)
  • 28%
    (303 votes)
  • 2%
    Still hate Nebraska
    (24 votes)
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