We have discussed why Nebraska simply shouldn’t enlist Scott Frost if Mike Riley is let go at any point during the 2017 season or after it ends. It takes two to tango, though. Let’s look at it from the perspective of the guy who would have to sign the contract.
Frost needs to be selfish about his future. He can’t let the idea of heading back to his alma mater entice him too much, even if his former coach comes calling. That might be insanely difficult to do, but from a career perspective, Frost would be throwing away everything he has built if he signs up to be the Big Red’s head man in 2018.
I’m going to put myself in Frost’s shoes for a minute. I’m instantly in far better shape, for one.
More importantly, my stock is sure to be hotter than ever later this year, barring a complete team collapse. My squad’s schedule is set up very well, so that shouldn’t be an issue aside from South Florida and maybe Navy. My second year at Central Florida is going even better than my first. I’m the talk of the coaching world. I’m in my early 40s and can demand anything I want from an interested athletic department if I want to.
I have a couple of options. Tom Osborne called and Twitter has been blowing up with Husker fans damn near demanding my return to Lincoln. However, my predecessor didn’t even get a chance to set up his recruiting blueprint before he was fired. All of his connections will be severed and he was so well-liked, many bridges will be burned between Nebraska and schools across the country, including those in some of the most talent-rich areas.
Yeah, I still have some cachet in Florida, but I will need guys from places besides Nebraska and Florida. Plus, I have to stiff-arm the Gators, Florida State, Miami and every other Division I school and the rest of the SEC at least for those Sunshine State kids. I’d love to keep Keith and Donte Williams if I took the Nebraska job. They’re great coaches and even better recruiters, but with their ties to Riley, they’ll probably want out.
Putting recruiting to the side, Nebraska doesn’t have the players I need to run my offense. Ideally, I can keep that Diaco guy so my defense doesn’t have to completely transition again, but that’s not a guarantee.
This 2018 schedule, though, it’s insane. I’m supposed to deal with everything I just listed and play Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Ohio State and Iowa on the road? Who did these guys piss off at the Big Ten offices? Oh great, I’d get Colorado for my second game as a coach there, too. How many wins can I actually find on this thing, anyway?
Well, at least there are the fans. They love to win. I remember that from back in the day. That’s the thing, though. It was back in the day and things are different now. When do they expect me to win the division or the conference? Are they going to give me five years or longer? I mean, I’m Scott Frost. These folks remember me leading Nebraska to a national title. I’m supposed to right this ship from the get-go…
Stepping back from the mind of Frost for a moment, take that all in. Would a promising young coach want to step into a situation where his coaching career could very easily take such a beating that it would knock him back into a Group of 5 gig just to prove himself again?
Now, on the other hand, let’s say LSU comes calling. The Tigers will, you know.
The first thing that jumps out is that Frost would have to compete against Nick Saban to win the division every year. Even when Saban steps down and turns over the crimson keys, whoever will take over has a talent level that rivals something you could put together in a video game set on easy mode.
Recruiting would be a piece of cake, though. The Florida connections are still there for him, and since LSU gets one of the best young coaches in the game, plenty of the best prospects in the country will visit the bayou to hear what the Tigers’ new head man has to say.
Like Nebraska, the fans want to win. However, unlike the Huskers, the Tigers have gotten a taste of success far more recently. There was the conference championship in 2011 and the national championship in 2007.
Not only will Frost get more patience, he’ll be able to get the best assistants money can buy to coach up the aforementioned top talent. If Frost is as good as everyone believes he is — and there’s nothing to point to the contrary right now — he should often be able to put LSU in position to best Bama.
If you think LSU-Alabama was one of the games to watch before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. That game is in Baton Rouge next year, by the way, and the Tigers’ 2018 schedule is far more manageable than what Nebraska will have to deal with.
Should Frost stay in Orlando for even two more years and continue to build both his stock and UCF’s, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? Is Nebraska suddenly not going to be able to pay him whatever he demands thanks to its gigantic checks from the Big Ten?
If the Big Red administration wants him as badly as fans do, they’ll get Frost eventually… but if he’s smart, he’ll turn them down for now. There may be a day when all media outlets tell the great story about the national championship-winning quarterback returning home and guiding his former team back to greatness. However, for Frost, that day should be at least a few years down the line. He could practically be a head coach-in-waiting for Nebraska while at UCF, building up political capital in the state.
Riley could then help him with a seamless transition while putting in a good word with those who know him. Suddenly Frost would be set up to succeed unlike anyone Nebraska has seen since his old head coach.
That will require a little patience on the part of Nebraska fans. So, the question is: Are Big Red fans willing to wait a bit longer for the foundation to be put into place for Frost to excel, or do they just want to be able to call him “Coach” now and anything else is gravy?
Honestly, it seems like a no-brainer. Stay in Orlando and be adored for now. Any job Frost wants will be there when he’s good and ready — including the one at Nebraska.
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