LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) — It’s been a little more than six months since Nebraska’s own and former Husker Scott Frost returned to the program as the head man, aiming to return Nebraska football to greatness.
And while Frost has yet to coach a regular season game for the Huskers, there’s an indescribable sense of calm, and at the same time, unmatched excitement across Husker Nation.
In a one-on-one interview with 10/11 Sports Director Kevin Sjuts, Frost talked about the program, what fans need to understand about the process and what he and the staff are doing. He also shared which former teammate he’d pick to have on his current roster, potential tunnel walk changes and what he loves to do in his free time.
As Athletic Director Bill Moos searched for the next head coach for Nebraska football in late November and early December, the importance of the hire never seemed greater, and yet, the choice seemed to be so easy. The task at hand for the new coach, however, not so much.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s some areas where I think we’re ahead of what we expected, but there’s also some areas where we were surprised how much ground we still have to cover,” Frost said.
With spring practices and the Spring Game finished, Frost and his staff have a little better sense of what kind of players are on his first Nebraska team, but the evaluation process is far from over, he said.
“I don’t think anybody has a lead at any position. It’s tough for us to evaluate how good a kid is going to be in the fall when they’re still learning the offense and defense because there’s mistakes being made that aren’t indicative of what’s going to happen when guys are familiar with the x’s and o’s,” Frost said. “So, Spring, for us, was more about getting them familiar, allowing them to learn, make mistakes and get better, and really this fall, once everybody’s fairly familiar with what we want to do, we’ll do more evaluation then.”
With all of the evaluation of the current roster, working to install their systems and teaching the players how they want to play, not to mention all of the recruiting, Frost and his coaching staff have been very busy since arriving in Lincoln. So, has Frost been able to take everything in and have a little fun, too?
“I am having fun,” Frost said. “Looking at the jobs, when we decided to take this one, we took it on its own merits. But, I didn’t realize how special it’d be to be back in this state and around lots of people I know, and around friends and family, and trying to do the best I can for this program with all that support and all those people that I care about right around me,” he said. “And, if we can get done what we want to get done here, it’s going to be more special than it would be anywhere else.”
Special for Frost, no doubt, but also for Husker fans. Frost and his staff worked wonders at UCF, taking a team that had zero wins in 2015 to undefeated and Peach Bowl Champions in 2017, and changing what was the second worst offense in the country into the highest scoring offense.
And, while things went exceptionally well in Orlando and it’s not impossible to do the same at Nebraska, Frost warned that the Nebraska turnaround is going to take patience from everybody.
“We wouldn’t be here if things would’ve been going really well with the program. There’s a lot of things we need to do to make the program look like we want it to look,” he said. “None of those things can happen overnight.”
But however long it takes, Frost said he and his staff are just focusing on getting better each day and developing the talent they do have, while supplementing it as best as they can through recruiting.
As for what will be going through his mind on September 1 when the Huskers host Akron at Memorial Stadium, Frost said he’s not sure what that first real tunnel walk as Nebraska’s coach will be like for him.
“I don’t know because in the Spring Game I wasn’t coaching, so I was able to step back and take it all in. Usually, I’m so focused on game day that I don’t hear or see anything, so I’m probably just going to be thinking about the first play we’re going to call instead of that, but man, there’s no place like Nebraska,” Frost said, and walking out of the tunnel for the Spring Game helped remind me of that.”
As for what music might be playing during that tunnel walk, Frost said he’s also unsure of that, but said no decision on the music has been made yet.
“To me, the beauty of the tunnel walk is a united team walking out on the field, getting ready to play a game together and being united, and being greeted by the best fans in college football, and I think that’s more important than which song is playing.”
You can watch the full 1-on-1 interview with Frost above.
Other Notes from Frost’s interview:
- If Frost could pick one player from the teams he played on in the ‘90s to have on his team now… “It’s hard to pick anyone other than Grant Wistrom,” he said. “Grant was a phenomenal player on the field, but the leadership he brought to our team in ‘97 might have been the difference for what we accomplished that year.”
- Frost on Maurice Washington: "Every year we're going to recruit, there's some guys that are going to have some work to do to get enrolled at the university and be eligible, and Maurice has had a tough couple of years, transferred a couple of times and lost his father, and I think there's some things off the field that have probably affected him in the classroom, but once a kid is committed to us, we're going to be committed to them and try to do everything we can to make things work for them."
- Frost said they’ll start the fall without Blackshirts and make players really earn them, not just by becoming a starter. “The guys that I played with that wore blackshirts, it was more than just being a guy that was on the field, so we're going to go into the fall with nobody on our team having a blackshirt and it's gonna be tough to earn them, but when they do earn them I want it to mean something."
- Outside of football, Frost is very good at crossword puzzles and said he and his brother were big trivia buffs, and he loves learning and memorizing things. One example: He can name all 195 countries in the world from memory, and is working on memorizing all of their capitals.