UCF UConn Football

Central Florida coach Scott Frost watches from the sideline during a game last season. Frost, a former Nebraska player, has seen his reputation rise quickly.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Let's do this.

1. At this point, most every sign points to Scott Frost becoming Nebraska's next head football coach. Nothing I'm hearing suggests otherwise.

A question comes to mind: Why was Frost never a full-time Husker assistant?

Although he blazed his own trail elsewhere in the coaching business -- an admirable trait -- there were at least a couple instances where Frost becoming a full-fledged assistant coach at Nebraska was in the realm of possibility.

In February of 2011, the former Husker quarterback great from Wood River considered joining Bo Pelini's staff before deciding to remain at Oregon as a receivers coach. Frost at that time had a desire to call plays, but Pelini was set to hand over those duties to Tim Beck, who had been running backs coach from 2008 to 2010. Frost was promoted to offensive coordinator at Oregon in 2013.

In December of 2008, Frost interviewed with Pelini for a position on the defensive side of the ball. Pelini was in the midst of forming his first staff in Lincoln, and Frost was coaching linebackers at Northern Iowa. Pelini's initial defensive staff had John Papuchis (defensive ends), Marvin Sanders (secondary), Mike Ekeler (linebackers) and Carl Pelini (defensive line).

Frost stayed one more season at Northern Iowa -- the Panthers in 2008 advanced to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs -- before Chip Kelly hired him at Oregon. That was a big break for Frost.

As far back as 2012, Frost was considered for FBS head-coaching jobs. In December of 2012, for instance, he interviewed for the vacancy at Louisiana Tech, which settled on Skip Holtz. Thing is, Frost wasn't going to go just anywhere. He told me he was selective about jobs. Central Florida obviously made sense to him, and the fit was perfect.

Wednesday, he was named American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year as his 11-0 Knights prepare for the conference championship game.

That's right, he blazed his own trail -- and it apparently will lead to Lincoln after all.

2. What about Frost for national coach of the year?

He has to be in the running -- the Knights were 0-12 two years ago -- but competition is stiff, as one might expect.

Right now, I'd go with Paul Chryst because, well, Wisconsin is the only undefeated Power-5 team and the Badger defense is ranked No. 1 nationally by a long way despite losing preseason All-American Jack Cichy to a preseason injury. In addition, Chryst has made it happen with a true freshman running back, Jonathan Taylor, who has 1,804 rushing yards.

And, of course, the Badgers are one win from reaching the four-team College Football Playoff.

Georgia's Kirby Smart, Miami's Mark Richt, and Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley have to be high on any list of leading candidates. 

Our Parker Gabriel suggests another coach who tends to get overlooked: Jeff Tedford, who has led Fresno State (9-3, 7-1 Mountain West) to the conference championship game one year after the Bulldogs finished 1-11 and 0-8.

3. Nebraska basketball plays Boston College at 8:15 p.m. in Pinnacle Bank Arena (ESPNU). The Huskers (5-2) are on the verge of what could in many ways become  a season-defining stretch of games. I'll let Nick Bahe, the FS1 analyst, take it from here ...

Nebraska would do well to come out of that gauntlet with a 7-5 record.

4. Former Nebraska volleyball coach Terry Pettit is a worthwhile follow on Twitter. He's thoughtful and thought-provoking. For instance ... 

I agree with Pettit that Riley faced a difficult situation and responded with grace. But it wasn't necessarily an uncommonly difficult situation. Granted, Riley coached the final nine games without the boss who hired him. But Frank Solich in 2003 coached under an athletic director (Steve Pederson) who didn't hire Solich and showed him virtually no support. I've written it before: Solich's staff operated that year knowing it would have to win at least 10 games in order to be retained. That's pressure. The team battled to a 9-3 regular-season record, prevailing in the regular-season finale at Colorado, but Pederson fired Solich the next day.

In 2007, Pederson was fired midway through the season, setting up an awkward situation for Bill Callahan, who was fired by Tom Osborne after a 5-7 finish. As for Bo Pelini, he coached in both 2013 and 2014 with the mindset that nine wins may or may not be enough to keep his staff from being fired by Shawn Eichorst. Pelini was fired in 2014 following a 9-3 finish.

It's a ridiculously rugged business. We've seen it up close in Lincoln long before this season.

5. High-five to Lance Leipold, a Nebraska on-campus recruiting coordinator during the Solich era, who now is the head coach at Buffalo. His Bulls won their final three games -- including a 31-24 win against Ohio last week -- to become bowl-eligible.

But there's a problem: At least 80 other teams are expected to be eligible for 39 postseason bowl games, meaning there's no guarantee for Leipold's crew.

Give credit to Leipold for holding his team together following a four-game losing skid. As noted in this story in The Buffalo News, the Bulls led the conference in passing yards while playing three quarterbacks after starter Tyree Jackson and backup Drew Anderson suffered shoulder injuries. It's an entertaining team, especially if you like offense.

Bowl officials like offense, right?

Right?

6. I like egg rolls. But I like neck rolls better. More neck rolls, please ...

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.

3
0
0
3
4

Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

Load comments