Husker columnist

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

Things I know, and things I think I know:

Scott Frost is just strange enough to be a great coach.

That's what his good friend, Matt Davison, told me recently, saying Frost "is different than the average person — in a good way, though."

The 42-year-old Frost, formally introduced Sunday as Nebraska's new head football coach, spends a decent amount of time on Sporcle, an iPhone app that specializes in trivia quizzes.

"He's a factoid freak," Davison said. "You could ask him, 'What are the five countries that border Uzbekistan?' He might know because he's a geography whiz. He's constantly doing things that make him think quickly."

It makes sense. He has to call plays quickly because doing so gives his up-tempo spread offense an advantage.

The strategy is working, as Central Florida — the program he coached this season to a 12-0 record — leads the nation in scoring (49.4 points per game) and ranks fifth in average yards (540.4).

Davison thinks back to the Nebraska program's glory years in the 1990s and identifies a couple "X" factors that always worked in the Huskers' favor: One was head coach Tom Osborne's renown as a play-caller. There were none better.

Another was Nebraska's option attack, which was challenging for defenses to prepare for adequately.

Perhaps Frost brings similar traits to the table. After all, he's proven himself as a play-caller at both UCF and Oregon, and his offense is regarded as a cutting-edge system.

Frost seems to possess another quality shared by great coaches — that is, a genuine sense of caring for his players.

He gets them to respond with intense play on Saturdays.

"That comes through tough coaching — coaching them hard — and then letting them know you care," Davison said.

Frost will demand plenty of his Nebraska players. Some will respond, some will wither — especially during the initial stages of winter conditioning next month.

Thing is, he needs to improve the team's physical and mental toughness. I'm guessing he'll go about it in a carefully structured, thoughtful manner.

By the way, his analytical side blew away University of Nebraska system president Hank Bounds in their hour-long meeting Sunday.

Davison wasn't surprised.

"Scott's a young coach, that's the thing," Davison said. "He's going to get even better."

Davison feels Frost will learn plenty from new Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos, a 66-year-old who's spent some 25 years as an athletic director at Montana, Oregon and Washington State.

"For all the experience Scott has around coaches and around football, I think there are some things Scott is going to learn from Bill Moos that he doesn't even know yet," said Davison, who will serve as an associate athletic director for the football program.

"I think Bill Moos, with his experience, is going to be able to show Scott some of the managerial parts of athletics. Big-picture leadership stuff. I think it's going to help Scott be a better coach and understand the business better, because he's always learning."

If not from Moos, then from the Sporcle app.

* Frost apparently wrestled hard last week with whether to take the Nebraska job or stay at UCF. According to sports anchor Pat Clarke of WESH 2 News in Winter Park, Florida, he had an intense conversation with Frost in which the coach relayed his inner struggle. Frost clearly loved UCF and was very comfortable in Orlando.

Writes Clarke: "Scott loved the relative anonymity that this job afforded. He told the story of leaving his office following another big UCF Saturday victory, getting hungry and stopping for a Gobbler sandwich at Wawa on his way home. He walked in wearing a UCF hat and shirt, yet not a soul in the joint said a word to him. In front of 40,000 at Spectrum (Stadium) earlier that day, Frost was king of the world. Three hours later, he was the Invisible Man."

The story reminds of when former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini considered the Miami job in December of 2010. Bo told me he liked the idea of living in relative anonymity in the Miami area, where college football tends to get lost in an extremely diverse city.

At any rate, Clarke's story on Frost also noted Florida never had a chance to land the coach. Frost told Clarke that he had told the Gators he wasn't interested. It was either UCF or Nebraska.

Am I surprised Frost was torn? Not at all. You could see his emotional attachment to UCF players and the program. He'll soon be forming similar bonds at Nebraska.

* By the way, Davison and Frost talked a lot during the past six weeks, a bit more than normal. "I knew he was happy in Orlando," Davison said. "I knew he was happy with his family in Orlando. I was trying to do what's best for Nebraska and what's best for Scott at the same time. I think that ended up pretty good for both parties."

* A name to get to know: Gerrod Lambrecht, Frost's chief of staff at UCF who's now part of the Husker staff. In a sense, Lambrecht also has come home — he's from Wood River and played at Concordia University in Seward, and even coached the offensive line there for one season.

* Last word: "We're all running on adrenaline right now, and happiness," Davison said.

That seems to be the prevailing vibe.

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

9
0
5
4
60

Load comments