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Tom's Takes: Scott Frost is staying, so let's talk about standards for success

Tom's Takes: Scott Frost is staying, so let's talk about standards for success

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Sam discusses the news that Scott Frost will return for a fifth season at Nebraska.

» Got an emotionally charged email last night claiming outrage because I used 6-6 as a goal for next season. Is this the new standard now? Trev Alberts is doing this to try to keep the '90s alive.

I beg to disagree. Now let's talk about standards.

People have to stop using numbers as a standard. I read some takes yesterday that said Scott Frost has to win eight or nine games next year or he's out. Stop it. Don't do it.

First, using the number of wins to decide what is acceptable is sooooo '90s. That's over.

The 6-6 record is significant for one reason: It means you're going to a bowl game. Yes, eight wins would be great. If it happens, gladly accept.

But right now the thing Nebraska needs most is to learn how to win. Nebraska football is literally in a place where it's starting over when it comes to winning. Forget unfathomable. It's here. It's reality.

You've seen the games this year. How many times did Nebraska look "close" to winning and then act like they forgot the password? They don't know the password. They don't know how to make plays to win games.

Baby steps. Go to a bowl next year. Then go to another one the next year. Then go to another one the year after that. And so forth. Habits. Winning is a habit. A habit that players pass down to the next generation.

And please don't call next year's schedule "easier" or "manageable." It's filled with teams that all know how to beat Nebraska, and all of them in the West have been doing it at a regular clip. Nobody's afraid of Nebraska. The Huskers are the patsy.

The idea that you would look at those teams and pick eight or nine wins is ludicrous. Sure, it could happen, but that will take a magic man at quarterback or hitting on a transfer like Michigan State's Kenneth Walker.

Again, forget numbers. Go to a bowl game. Learn how to win again. And know that in the Big Ten, you might win eight or nine one year — and six or seven the next. This isn't the old days. Those days are gone.

So let's talk about what that standard actually is. It's not a number. It's a thing. A way of life.

Fundamentals. Doing the right things all the time. Attention to detail. Caring about how you play. Hard work. Offense and defense that complement each other. Unity of purpose.

Yes, all those things Alberts wants to bring back to the program. They aren't sexy. You can't put them on a bumper sticker.

That was always the standard of Nebraska football. Not the number of wins. The New Year's Day bowls. The championships. Those happened because of the way Nebraska played football.

We've seen these things on defense. But once Frost gets his offense and special teams to join the party, that's when Nebraska will finish games. And go to bowl games. And learn how to play football again. And win.

That's the standard you should be focusing on next year. If that isn't met, if it's still sloppy, Frost won't make it. Alberts will have that program he wants, one way or another.

» I look at Alberts' decision as a chess move.

Yes, the financial details are important. Know that about Alberts. He's part football and part cheerleader for Nebraska, but foremost he's a businessman. And he's going to run the department like a business. There won't be any more frivolous spending. But there will be a practicality to the way things are run.

We saw that Monday. Extend the year. Cut the salary. Cut the buyout in half. A calculated move. Finally, after so many years where it seemed Nebraska operated haphazardly on emotion and personal agendas, this is a welcome sight.

But there was another move going on here. If Alberts does have to make a coaching change next year, he laid some groundwork.

He gave another year, another chance, to a losing coach, but one who had to deal with the pandemic, one who looks close. Other A.D.s would have pulled the plug, and we've seen some do it in midseason. And yes, while we believe Frost's Nebraska background saved him, that could work out to be a good thing.

That's because coaches pay attention. Coaches take notes. Where can I win? Whom do I want to work for? What's a good job and what's a bad job?

Nebraska hasn't been a good job for a long time. Yes, it has a passionate fan base and money it hasn't been afraid to spend. But, as the saying goes, you have to get on a plane to recruit. And it's a place that has had a quick trigger finger when it comes to coaching changes.

Mostly, it has had dysfunction at the administrative level. Coaches today are more selective than ever about jumping for jobs. Guys like Luke Fickell and Matt Campbell have to have a really good reason to leave. They have most everything they want where they are, big money, manageable expectations and fan bases that adore them and don't want to lose them.

Coaches leave for places where they can win the conference and hunt the national title. Even more than that, a stable situation with the president and A.D. People they can trust. People who will have their back.

In less than one year, Alberts has shown he's an A.D. who is going to have his football coach's back. By reaching out and talking and listening once a week. And now by extending a second chance to someone he didn't hire.

I have no idea how popular Frost is in the coaching community. But coaches generally will look favorably on what Alberts did Monday. They'll take notice.

Now throw in the cooperative nature of Alberts, Ronnie Green and Ted Carter. If and when the time comes to hire someone else, Nebraska won't be radioactive. It will be a place coaches feel good about. That wasn't the case in 2014. And I'm not sure that was the case in 2018. If Frost had turned down NU, Bill Moos might have had a tough search.

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