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Steven M. Sipple: Seems odd to put heat on Moos; mulling Frost's offense; longing for Waco
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Steven M. Sipple: Seems odd to put heat on Moos; mulling Frost's offense; longing for Waco

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Minnesota vs. Nebraska, 12.12

Nebraska's Austin Allen celebrates his touchdown catch with Brenden Jaimes and Ethan Piper against Minnesota on Dec. 12 at Memorial Stadium.

We tried a mailbag Q&A last week, and it worked extremely well. Thank you. 

So let's make it a regular occurrence. Don't hold back. 

I know this was a topic in the past, but do you think Bill Moos will step up his retirement plans? After an illustrious start, his stock has dwindled as of late — ongoing men's athletics dismal results, facility hang-ups, and Oklahoma-gate. My vote is for Trev! — Troy P.

The short answer is, no, Moos hasn't stepped up his retirement plans — at least not as of mid-December.

That's when I talked to the fourth-year Nebraska athletic director at length about his future at the school. He said he sees no reason why he wouldn't keep working full-go until the end of his contract, which expires Dec. 31, 2022.

"We're going to move the dial here, and I don't want to be looking at that success from afar," he said. "I have every intention of fulfilling the contract."

Moos, who turned 70 on Jan. 3, believes you don't leave a job until it's done. He approached his work that way in previous AD stints at Washington State, Oregon and Montana. He'll do the same at Nebraska.

Perhaps Trev Alberts someday will get a legitimate crack at the NU job. But such talk is premature at the moment. 

"Each stop had a little bit different scenarios," Moos said of his AD career. "But I couldn't come back here (to his ranch in eastern Washington) and sit and leave the department on anything but solid footing and in a winning position. It'd drive me crazy."

"We need to get that new building finished," he continued, referring to the $155 million football training facility, set for completion in 2023. "I have nine head coaches who I hired. I want to see all their programs develop and be competitive. I want to see Will Bolt's baseball team be successful. I want to see Fred Hoiberg's magic that he's worked. And, of course, there's football."

If Moos' stock has dwindled in the eyes of some folks, it's mostly because his two high-profile hires — Hoiberg and Scott Frost — have been largely disappointing. Although Frost's struggles are more widely discussed than Hoiberg's, Fred also has been slow to show satisfactory progress. He's 5-34 (.128) in Big Ten play. That is simply a startling stat. 

But let's face it, Moos made the two hires that essentially everyone wanted. 

As for Nebraska exploring the possibility of backing out of this coming season's game at Oklahoma, it would be a gross oversimplification to hang that issue solely on Moos. Multiple parties were involved. I've said it before: Moos loves the pageantry of college football. He's a traditionalist to his core. I'm not sure exactly who was leading the charge to "explore the possibilities" of replacing the OU game with a home game, but it would absolutely shock me if it was Moos. 

In other words, it would be misguided to use "Oklahoma-gate" as a reason to downgrade Moos. Same goes for using "facility hang-ups." That would be another oversimplification. Plus, he says NU is close to hitting its fundraising goals for the new training facility and hopes to begin breaking ground this summer. 

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Moos has had to steer his department through a pandemic. Although it's created immense challenges, putting heat on him strikes me as odd.  

What are your thoughts on Arizona having its spring practices open to media and fans? Could it work here? Should Frost try it? — Dave F.

Jedd Fisch is in his first year as Arizona's head coach. Opening up practices is a good way for a new coach — or perhaps a struggling coach — to ingratiate himself to media and fans. That usually makes sense. But it usually wears off in time.

Former Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan in the spring of 2004 opened up practices to media as he embarked on his first year in charge. We could watch them in their entirety, then a novel experience at NU. We saw a ton of interceptions that spring, by the way, so many that at one point I thought they were doing an interception drill. But it was extremely beneficial in terms of understanding the program. And if opening up practice was detrimental to the operation, Callahan never expressed it.

Should Frost open up spring practice to media? I think it would be a good idea, but I'm slightly biased. Opening up a couple of practices to fans probably would be a nice (and doable) goodwill gesture.

Media will be able to attend all 15 of Arizona's spring practices, and the plan is to allow a to-be-determined number of fans.

If Nebrasketball doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament in ________ years, Hoiberg is out — Brendan. 

Wow, tough crowd. I can think of at least a few head coaches — Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan come to mind — who would have Nebraska winning in the NCAA Tournament in three or four years if given the chance. You could bank on it. Hoiberg should at the very least have NU in the Dance in Year Four. After all, he had Iowa State in the Sweet 16 in his fourth year at Iowa State (2013-14). 

The likelihood Nebraska leaves the B1G and goes back to the Big 12? — Matt B. 

I've covered Nebraska football in both leagues. There's no doubt NU is a better fit culturally and philosophically in the Big 12. It's obviously a better fit geographically.

The fact the Huskers have essentially lost the state of Texas in recruiting is a hindrance. 

Damn, how I miss autumn weekends in Austin and College Station. 

Waco might as well be the Caribbean compared to West Lafayette.

Unfortunately, Nebraska moving back to the Big 12 in the near future is an extreme long shot, and "Oklahoma-gate" didn't help NU's chances any. 

How much info have you gotten on the changes to the Husker offense going into 2021? Are we changing anything/going back to the older "Nebraska style," or are things staying the same? — Theodore R.

No inside info, my amigo. But Frost was Oregon's offensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015 when Royce Freeman (5-foot-11, 231 pounds) rushed 535 times for 3,201 yards (5.98 per carry) and 35 TDs. Frost's offense has the capability of generating yards in a power run game. USC transfer Markese Stepp is 6-foot and 235 pounds. Just sayin'.

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