We support the University of Nebraska’s decision to keep Scott Frost as Husker football coach.
Clearly, he hasn’t been as successful as anyone had hoped. Clearly, the leap to being a head coach of a major program competing in what he’s called the “grown-man league” of the Big Ten was harder than he expected.
We know well the arguments against keeping him, which start with a pitiful 15-27 record, no signature wins and repeated, infuriating mistakes. Something essential is missing — top football programs play with greater consistency, and if a head coach gets credit for wins and disciplined play, Frost cannot avoid blame for delivering the opposite deep into his fourth season.
Even Bill Callahan and Mike Riley had better records and bigger wins than our native son and national championship quarterback has been able to deliver.
But a critical difference, in our view, is that Frost genuinely knows and feels Husker fans’ pain. We are confident he cares as much as any of us and hurts as much or more than any of us. Callahan, Riley and, in all probability, whomever could be hired to replace Frost lack that intangible.
We leave detailed assessments to our excellent sports staff and Athletic Director Trev Alberts — the All-American Blackshirt who also feels our pain — but feel fully confident saying that playing within 10 points of four top 10 teams represents marked progress. One such game could be just a good week. Four such games, painful as the losses were, leave no question that the 2021 Huskers put substance behind Frost’s repeated assertions that the team is close to turning the corner.
Losses to perceived lesser teams indict the coach’s ability to have his team ready each week, but weekly Big Ten results show that the league is light on cupcakes and underscore the difficulty of the Huskers’ schedule this year.
Do we think Wisconsin and Iowa coaches and players are looking forward to facing the Huskers? Of course not. They know this is a dangerous team.
In addition, the obvious brotherhood and on-field performance of the Blackshirts is deeply heartening. It brings back memories of the Husker pride and spirit of better times and demonstrates the player-centric committed culture Frost has sought. That culture is sustainable from year to year as new players come in and this year’s younger guys step into leadership roles.
As a quick aside, that leadership will serve these players throughout life off the field. Longtime Michigan coach Bo Schembechler was once asked if he thought a particular team was his best, to which he responded that he wouldn’t be able to tell for 20 years, until his Michigan Men were well into their careers and family lives.
Frost can grow into his difficult, public-facing leadership role. It’s an understatement to say his is a tough job, but we believe Alberts provides stronger, more knowledgeable, more engaged oversight than Frost has had before.
Changing course now would have opened the transfer portal even wider than is inevitable, hamstrung recruiting and all but certainly condemned the Huskers to a couple more years of rebuilding.
Remember: “Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game. In the deed the glory.”
Sportswriters live by the credo “no cheering in the press box.” We editorial writers are not in the press box. Go Big Red.