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Steven M. Sipple: Frost handles critical moment well and other takeaways from media session
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Steven M. Sipple: Frost handles critical moment well and other takeaways from media session

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Scott Frost presser

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost speaks to reporters last week following a practice at Memorial Stadium.

Sipple and Parker Gabriel give the four most interesting things from Wednesday's post-practice press conference.

This was an important moment for Scott Frost. 

Wednesday marked the first public opportunity for the fourth-year Nebraska coach to explain why he parted ways Monday with four members of his offensive staff. He took questions from media for 15 minutes at Memorial Stadium.

Some takeaways:

1. Frost handled the moment well. And, yes, these moments are critical. 

Wednesday was reminiscent of the late-fall day in 2002 when former Nebraska coach Frank Solich announced major changes on his staff. Frank always understood the magnitude of his important role as program leader.

Nebraska has an enormous fan base. It's a passionate fan base. At the moment, it's a fan base that wants answers. It wants the leader of the program to be strong and accountable. 

Husker fans surely didn't want to see Frost step in front of the cameras and give half-hearted answers. They didn't want to see the coach in a defensive posture. They wanted him to explain his vision for his program in a clear, concise and confident manner. 

Frost hasn't always been strong in these types of settings. But he's improving. You saw more of that improvement Wednesday. 

There's little doubt in my mind that new Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts, hired in July, has had a positive influence on the way Frost presents himself in media sessions. Frost showed up in slacks and a polo, as opposed to his practice gear. 

He showed up ready for the moment. 

He explained in clear terms why he made changes to his staff. 

"We've come so close in so many games," he said. "It's hard to think we can keep doing exactly the same things and get over the top. It's not any person's fault, any one of those coaches' fault. Sometimes there just needs to be a little different voice and maybe little changes that can make a difference." 

He also said, "It would break my heart to think we've made the improvements we've made and gotten it so close in so many games, and not get an opportunity to see it through. It's an easy decision for me to make any sacrifices I have to (in order) to have the privilege to continue to be here."  

That quote makes you wonder how much influence Alberts had on Frost's decision. It sounds like the AD had ample influence. Along those lines, it's important to note that Alberts said Monday that Frost made the call on his own.

“Ultimately, Scott brought a plan to me that contemplated a lot of the things we had talked about over the last several weeks,” Alberts said. “I want to be very clear. I did not mandate that Scott fire any coaches at all. No coaches. That was not part of it. This is Scott Frost’s vision, and I believe that’s the role of the head coach and CEO of the football program.” 

Frost played the part of CEO well on this day, an important one for the program. 

2. The first question of the session addressed something that's definitely on the minds of fans. 

What's the mood been like in the football facility during the last 72 hours?  

"It's been tough on coaches and players and everyone," Frost said.  

The coach showed proper respect for the assistants with whom he parted ways. That was important, obviously. He also gave voice to the challenges this sort of situation puts on the most important people of all — the players. 

Nebraska football head coach Scott Frost speaks during a news conference on Wednesday.

"They're hurting, I'm hurting," Frost said. "The kids are resilient. They'll be OK." 

Of course, it's not that simple. It perhaps goes without saying, but I hope a healthy part of Frost's grand plan that he presented to Alberts includes how the head coach plans to get his team fully prepared for remaining regular-season games against Wisconsin and Iowa. 

Paul Chryst and Kirk Ferentz will show absolutely no mercy on Nebraska. 

This is an unforgiving sport, amigos. 

3. Make no mistake, coaching at this level is a brutal profession.   

Frost had strong words of praise for former Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco, who made coaching his position a way of life.   

"He's done an unbelievable job of getting our quarterbacks right mechanically," Frost said. "Those guys go into the game knowing every read, every possible thing that can happen, every protection. 

"He was in the office every morning at 3:45. Every day. That was his level of commitment and his passion for what he did. And sometimes when you come up a play short, that's the business." 

I've told my wife for years that I wouldn't have the stomach for the volatile nature of it.  

4. The Frost-as-program-CEO discussion is fascinating, and one we'll continue to explore. 

Remember, one of the major reasons Nebraska hired Frost in late 2017 was because he was a whip-smart play-caller with a "cutting-edge" offense. 

Many Husker fans envisioned Frost calling plays on autumn Saturdays with the strategic wisdom they once saw in Tom Osborne. 

That vision is no longer in play, and it's a remarkable development in so many ways.  

Frost, though, made it clear he wants to broaden his horizons in his role. 

"I'd love to be out talking to the fans more," he said. "I'd love to do more booster functions. I'd love to go hunting more in western Nebraska. Those things are important, I think, for my sanity." 

"I love this state, and I love representing this state," he added.

He might not have a lot of time for hunting in the next few weeks. 


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