Central Florida

Scott Frost's up-tempo offense led to an unbeaten 2017 season at UCF.

Matt Davison says he’ll keep telling it how he sees it in his job as color analyst for Nebraska football games on the radio, even now that his close friend and co-worker, Scott Frost, is the head coach.

The thing is, with Frost’s up-tempo spread offense, Davison probably won’t get as much time to talk during the broadcast.

That’s what radio play-by-play announcer Marc Daniels remembers as being the biggest adjustment in the two years when Frost was the head coach at Central Florida.

“(The commentator) goes from being able to break it down like, ‘That play opens up because of how the guard pulls, or this blocking downfield,’ to more of, ‘Hey, that’s a great pass he saw in coverage.’ I think sometimes they’re losing 50 percent of their normal time.”

TV and radio announcers are among the people who will be challenged as Frost brings his offense to Lincoln.

There was an adjustment for Daniels when he went from describing George O’Leary’s pro-style offense to Frost’s offense.

But Daniels says the offense didn’t go from 50 to 100 mph during Frost’s first season at UCF, and that may be the case at Nebraska, too.

Daniels had studied Oregon, where Frost had previously worked as offensive coordinator, in getting ready for that initial season. But Oregon had that offensive playbook in place for many years and the players to run it. UCF wasn’t able to go as fast in Year One.

What Daniels realized is the speed of Frost’s offense is fast, but not impossible, for an announcer to document. Daniels usually had enough time to write down what had happened after each play while color commentator Gary Parris talked.

“When Scott first got here to UCF there was the thought of, ‘Wow, will we be able to keep up?’” Daniels said. “Well, what you realized was he was rebuilding an offense, and by design he didn’t have it at the fastest pace simply because of a combination of the personnel and just that group of players getting used to it.

“Year Two was a faster offense. They were more efficient and had a year under the system, but you realize as the year went along there was still a lot of, let’s get to the line, let’s see what the defense is doing and then we’ll turn and look to the sideline. Scott got comfortable kind of analyzing the defense and working with McKenzie Milton. But there were times you’d get it and go in a hurry.”

If spring practice at UCF is an indication, Daniels said the Knights' offense will go even faster under new coach Josh Heupel than it did under Frost.

The speed of Frost’s offense is probably more of a challenge for the TV announcers, who aren’t as familiar with the players because they broadcast different teams each week. But the radio crew attends practice on occasion, and local broadcasters are familiar with the players.

Jerry Allen has been the voice of Oregon football for 30 years, including when Chip Kelly was head coach and Frost was offensive coordinator.

The fast-paced offense changed how Allen called games. He could only explain the play until the whistle blew, and then had to quickly get to analyst Mike Jorgensen.

Now when the game is over, Allen is even a little fatigued.

“Before it was kind of an easier pace. It was more of a conversation about the game,” Allen said. “Here is the play, here is what happened, (Jorgenson) would talk about it, we’d get set and here comes another play. But now it’s just bam, bam, bam, and you've got to keep on your toes. I’ve had to do more preparation because you don’t really have time to use your spotting board that much, or really delve into the game. Once it starts, you better be ready to go.”

But Allen says it’s fun when a good up-tempo offense goes to work.

“There is an element of it that’s fun because you can see what they’re doing,” Allen said. “And so what they’re doing is they’re exerting their will on the defense. They’re taking away the defense's opportunity to get set, and so it’s kind of exciting. You see what they’re doing. The defense is scrambling and you get caught up in this tempo and you want them to go fast."

Gameday 2018 need-to-know information

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.


Sports reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

Load comments