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The world has too many lists. That was true again last summer.
One college football outlet listed Scott Frost on the “Hot Seat” list.
As in, Frost needed to win soon or get fired.
This was news to most of Nebraska. Also, laughable.
Did Frost ride into Lincoln two years ago on a parade of hype? Yes. Has he started with two losing seasons? Yes. Has there been some grumbling? Oh sure.
Bob Devaney heard it. Tom Osborne did, too. Some folks wanted them out. Every coach gets that at some point.
But as we wait for the next Husker football game to be played, we find something interesting has happened.
Frost has never been stronger in his position, never had more clout, never had more Husker fans unified behind him.
The coach was already popular, but that popularity has been solidified. Maybe even grown.
In an interview with Tom Shatel, coach Scott Frost talks opening day without Husker football, where the Big Ten stands on playing this fall and more.
It has to do with the nuance of this job, the nuance that national media don’t always get, the kind of nuance that Frost brought when he came home in 2018.
It has everything to do with what has transpired in the last month. No games. Plenty of action.
On Aug. 10, the day before the Big Ten called off football, Frost got out ahead of the situation.
He defended his players, the business folks of Lincoln and the state, and every fan in red. He said there should be football. But if the Big Ten pulled the plug, he said NU should go find it anywhere it could.
Frost was roasted around the Big Ten and nation. He was called irrational.
The next day, when the Big Ten announced its decision, Frost was back with a few of his friends. Athletic Director Bill Moos. Chancellor Ronnie Green. And President Ted Carter.
They all signed a message of disappointment and hope that NU could still find football somewhere, if not in the Big Ten.
These were bold strokes. But far from irrational. For those that didn’t know Frost, in Nebraska and all points outside of the borders, this was an introduction.
He took a stand in what he believed in. And what he believes in is all things Nebraska.
This is exactly what Frost came back to Nebraska to do. Winning, banners, parades, yes.
Moreover, represent and lead the state, school and program.
It's been six months since the sports world shut down. And though professional leagues and other major college football teams have started up again, the Huskers are still waiting for their chance.
Here was Exhibit A of the “fit,” the substance behind the flowery talk about the kid born to coach the Huskers.
The previous three head coaches before Frost would not have done this. They couldn’t have. Not with the conviction of soul with which Frost put himself out on the high wire.
To have his superiors join him, to see the unity on display, unity we haven’t seen in many years.
And to watch Nebraska out in front of the growing crusade to call out the Big Ten presidents and commissioner and re-examine fall football.
It’s been inspiring for Nebraska fans. They are winning without playing any games.
You want to zap every Husker fan in the heart and watch them melt like butter, this is a way to do it.
Have their collective backs.
This is what Frost has done in the last month. And it has not gone unnoticed. You can hear and feel the folks rallying around the coach.
It’s been amazing to watch.
Look, there was going to be a spotlight on season three. Frost and his staff needed to be better, in all areas. A bowl game was certainly expected.
But unless the Huskers knocked off Ohio State or Wisconsin and made a higher tier bowl, it’s hard to imagine Frost scoring more points than what he did this last month.
In the past few months, our Husker football writers have become well versed at writing about everything but the Huskers playing football. And kudos to them. But my, what a strange and tough time.
For sure, it extended his timetable, whatever that was exactly.
The pandemic did that, too. Took away spring football. Took away fall camp. Now, maybe an entire fall season.
This was going to be the important developmental year, a growth spurt year. Lots of new faces, Frost recruits, learning on the run. Making mistakes. Making plays, too.
With a veteran quarterback rehabbing injuries and his confidence, it had potential to be this or that. But definitely a winning record and bowl trip.
Well, now we aren’t sure when a third season will take place, how many games, and a bowl game might not be part of the package.
A shortened season beginning in October. Or beginning Thanksgiving weekend. Or in January, with no home games and domes with no fans.
Or some sort of hybrid that plays into the spring, with all kinds of Big Ten players opting out for the draft.
Whatever comes next, it doesn’t feel like something you would use to judge the coach and his progress.
Oh, when the Big Ten does play, I’m certain they’ll keep score. And Nebraskans will keep their own score, too.
But without spring ball and nonconference games and who knows how many Big Ten games, it seems likely that the Frost timetable may not resume again until next fall.
Then again, everyone has their own timetable. Including the coach.
“This year was time to take a step forward,” Frost said last Saturday. “We’re getting closer to the point where we feel like it’s our team.
“We’re still young and developing some guys but it was time to take a step forward. Anytime you’re a coach, the time is now.”
To be sure, when they do resume football, notes will be taken. Grades will be handed out on social media and in most bars around the state.
But without playing a game, Frost has pulled off quite an impressive feat.
He’s got his first big “Win.”