We have reached the 100-day threshold of the Scott Frost era at Nebraska. What have we learned over that span? All this week we'll be taking a look at the "first 100 days" from a variety angles to help answer that question.
In 2016, Scott Frost tok over a Central Florida team that went 0-12 the previous year. Frost coached the Knights to a 6-7 season his first year and to 12-0 this past season.
Now he faces another rebuilding job in Lincoln. The Huskers are coming off a 4-8 season that saw historically bad performances on both sides of the ball.
Now, 100-plus days in, where is this program compared to where UCF was? The transition started in the weight room as the strength and conditioning staff got first crack at the team.
“Players have adjusted well,” Frost said at his spring preview press conference. “We’ve gotten a lot of buy-in from the players, a lot of effort out of the players and I see a lot of excitement. They’ve adjusted to workouts really well and we’ve already seen huge gains from a lot of the workouts they’ve been doing. Zach Duvall is as good as there is in the business and before and after pictures and gains in the weight room and on the field have been pretty apparent to the coaches.”
Physically, the team has already made great strides according to Frost; early quotes about the physical state of the team were not nearly as glowing. The players have also surprised him from a mental standpoint.
“I think our team, mentally, is way ahead of where I expected it to be,” he said.
On Friday, the players got a crash course in what spring ball is going to be like under the new staff.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that I loved that team down there, our whole coaching staff did,” Frost said. “I’d go to battle with those guys anytime. That being said, this was quite a bit better first day than we had on our first day down there,” Frost said. “I think the guys were a little more mentally prepared for it, as coaches we were all a little better because we’ve been through this process before and I was really impressed with the execution and understanding what we’re trying to get done on day one.”
That Central Florida team didn’t have guys like Stanley Morgan Jr. and J.D. Spielman coming back on offense. It didn’t return a lot of starters on defense. That’s not the case for Nebraska; this roster has talent and it has some experience at key positions.
Making the transition even easier was the fact that Frost brought his whole coaching staff with him. There won’t be any time spent on teaching the coaches something new. They get to focus all their attention on installing the offense and defense and making sure the players know it inside and out.
“We just went through this process two years ago, installing schemes on both sides of the ball and special teams,” Frost said. “I think we’re going to be better this time around than we were last time as a coaching staff. I’ve been really impressed with this group of players and how quickly they pick things up, but usually you’re not limited by how much you can get in, it’s the detail of which you get in. There’s a lot of little details that go into the execution of what we’re going to do on both sides of the ball. The more reps you get the more familiar you are with those details and the better chance you have of being successful. So, we’ll get the majority of what we want we want to run in it’s just a matter of how much of that we run well.”
Turning a 4-8 Big Ten team into a conference — and perhaps a national — contender will be no easy feat for Frost and company. However, the early returns after 100 days in Lincoln seem to offer a reason for hope.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.