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Football Facility, 9.27

Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos (left) and football coach Scott Frost attended the announcement of the Huskers' new athletic facility last month at the East Stadium Plaza.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Things I know, and things I think I know:

Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos preaches the importance of head coach Scott Frost having sufficient time and resources to build his football program in a thorough manner. In a manner that will allow for sustained success.

For instance, Moos says, the walk-on program needs a couple of more years to develop before it's ready to bear significant fruit.

"Plus, we need to be in those high schools where the Ohio States, Alabamas and Clemsons are recruiting," Moos told the Journal Star last week. "If we're expected to get back into that kind of race, we have to have those kind of players."

He paused and added, "The Husker Air Fleet is going to be important."

The Husker Air Fleet? Although Nebraska fans may not have heard much about the relatively new flight program for coaches, Moos emphasizes its importance in Frost's building project.

In short, he said, the program allows donors to provide Nebraska with private planes and/or flight hours through either fractional ownership or jet card hours. Fractional ownership costs include the number of hours flown, but also some recurring costs of owning a share of a small jet. In general, a jet card allows more of a pay-as-you-go service, according to NU officials.

Donors also may give to the Nebraska Foundation to pay for air expenses.

In other words, "We have jets ready to take coaches out to recruit," Moos said. "There are some private jets, but it's mostly done through charters that (donors) can contribute to. We build a bank of cash and create sponsorships and everything else. It's a key component here."

According to HuskerOnline.com, Nebraska in recent years used a mix of commercial and charter services -- and car rentals -- for coaches on the recruiting trail. Moos told the Journal Star he pushed for creation of the Husker Air Fleet.

Did Frost come to Moos for help in this area?

"I knew before I ever hired Scott what we needed," Moos said. "I looked at what we had. We have infrastructure. We have an academic reputation. We have the brand. We now can pay for parents to come on a campus visit (per relatively new NCAA rules).

"So now we have mom and dad saying, 'Oh, my baby's going to be safe. What a beautiful, beautiful place. The community's an extension of the campus, so he's going to be safe. It's a big family. It's wonderful.'"

And Nebraska's main recruiting challenges in Moos' eyes?

"One of the challenges is also one of the benefits," he said. "I think one of the benefits is what I just described: Where we're located. It's clean, it's safe. The parents are seeing that. But the biggest challenge? It's where we're located. We're not Florida. We're not USC. We can't just drive 10 miles and fill a roster with five-star recruits.

"So how are we going to level that part of the playing field? By getting our coaches out there."

Fuel up the Husker Air Fleet. Nebraska coaches will hit the road this week to recruit hard during the bye week.

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Moos makes no bones about it: Nebraska obviously needs an injection of talent.

"It's a big part of the plan," he said of the fleet. "You're not going to win a national championship with all walk-ons. They're going to help. They're key in what we're trying to do. The heart and soul of Nebraska football is from the state of Nebraska.

"But the arms and legs are from California, Texas and Florida. If we're going to get back to where we want to get, we have to be challenging other championship-caliber programs for players."

Always good to hear what the boss is thinking, and what he's doing to help matters.

* A popular football tenet is that turnovers and special teams often decide games.

Nebraska committed zero turnovers against Minnesota. But the Huskers' special teams once again were disappointing.

However, "I know we're on the right path as a program," Moos said last week.

Frost says the same thing, repeatedly. But I'm guessing Nebraska fans would feel much more confident that the program is indeed on the right path if there was more evidence to back the contention, including on special teams.

Yes, the injury issues at place-kicker are unfortunate. But the problems extend far beyond that aspect.

* Judging by some of his comments, you have to wonder if Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck was playing a game of possum last week. Or perhaps he simply overestimated Nebraska's defensive front seven.

"This is going to be the biggest and strongest D-line we've faced all year up to this point," he told reporters. "We've got our work cut out for us up front. We know that, and their linebacking corps is deep."

Or maybe the Husker front seven just had a bad Saturday night. A really bad one.

At any rate, NU is now allowing 4.5 yards per rush after surrendering 5.0 per carry last season. But the Huskers still must face you-know-who in mid-November. If the Blackshirts don't make significant improvements before Nov. 16, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor ... well, I don't even want to think what Taylor might do in Lincoln.

* Speaking of the undefeated Badgers, they've outscored opponents 153-3 in the first half through six games this season.

How good is Paul Chryst's crew?

"They're better in the offensive line, they're better at quarterback and they're better at receiver," BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo told me. "They're better everywhere on offense. Defensively, they're just so darn confusing for offenses."

What's more, "They're all back to being regular people instead of dealing with all the hype that accompanied last season."

* See ya at Guns N' Roses Tuesday night. Maybe Axl Rose will give a big shout out to Frost before breaking into "Patience."

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

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Husker columnist

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

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