Scott Frost has seen his fair share of Nebraska thunderstorms.
So when the Wood River native's first game as the Husker coach got delayed by lightning after kickoff but before his offense could run even a single play, Frost figured it wouldn’t be long before NU and Akron returned to the field and the on-field portion of his tenure began in earnest.
“Usually when thunderstorms roll through, the front rolls through and maybe another pocket pops up, but you’re still going to have the fireworks on the Fourth of July after the storm’s over,” Frost said. “This one just seemed to be tracking right across Lancaster County and just wouldn’t give up.
“For the first hour and a half, I thought, ‘Let’s hurry up and get this over with. The later this goes, the longer night this is going to be.’ It wasn’t for probably well over an hour that I started thinking, ‘Oh no, we might not be able to play this one.’”
Frost said he and the coaching staff — they’ve had this happen three straight years now — addressed the team several times over the course of a 2 hour, 40 minute delay before the game was scuttled for at least the night. The players were sent home but told to be ready to play Sunday morning.
When Akron athletic director Larry Williams told NU athletic director Bill Moos that the Zips weren’t staying until Sunday due in part to concerns about where the team would stay, though, Frost and the Huskers were left without a Week One contest.
“We’re just disappointed,” Frost said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and we got all dressed up for nothing. The guys were ready to play. More than anything, I was proud of how they reacted to it. They handled the delay like pros. They wanted to play.
“A couple of guys were yelling out, ‘Let’s just play in the Hawks (indoor practice facility),’ which would have been epic but probably not safe.’”
Frost said the Huskers "certainly wanted to make" a Sunday game happen, but added that he didn’t know what he would have done had he been in Akron coach Terry Bowden’s shoes.
“We were scrambling to find a place for them to stay, kind of found a place, but it certainly wouldn’t have been ideal to not know where they’re eating, not know where they’re staying, not know where everybody is,” Frost said. “I wish they would have agreed to play on Sunday so we could have got the game in, but if I was in his (Bowden's) shoes, I’m not sure I’d have made any different decision.”
Notably, the first-year Nebraska coach said he’s willing to entertain the idea of filling in a 12th game either on Oct. 27, his team’s scheduled open date, or after the regular season if the Huskers are not in the Big Ten championship game.
“At this point, any scenario isn’t ideal,” Frost said. “Playing 12 straight weeks certainly isn’t ideal for any team. Depth is a little bit of an issue for us at certain positions and it’s certainly not ideal for us. But given the choice, I know they’re kind of researching and looking into all options. These guys have worked so hard, they deserve to play a full slate of games.
“If they give us an option to fill that game in somewhere, we’re going to take it.”
Central Florida played 11 straight weeks in 2017 after Hurricane Irma scuttled plans two straight weekends and forced a reschedule of a game against Memphis. The Knights, of course, won all of those games and finished the season 13-0 after a Peach Bowl win over Auburn.
Regardless of what scheduling fix NU officials may find, Frost expects he’ll be involved in the final decision-making process.
“I imagine they’re already looking into position and I wouldn’t expect them to do anything without sitting in a room with everyone involved, including me, and making a decision on what’s best for our team,” Frost said.