Ahead of the 2019 football season, former Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said he’d consider a six-win season a success. The Huskers won five games.
The following year, he provided the same benchmark, though that was before the Big Ten eliminated the nonconference and altered the conference schedules. Nebraska went 3-5.
During a Sports Nightly appearance earlier this year, Moos called eight to nine wins “realistic” heading into year four under Scott Frost.
Moos is no longer setting expectations for the football program, or any of Nebraska’s teams. That’s Trev Alberts’ job now, and he’s taking a different approach than his predecessor.
“I can promise you you’ll never hear me talk about numbers of wins,” Alberts said at Big Ten Media Days.
Alberts said his conversations about expectations with Frost will remain private. Alberts talked about trust during his introductory press conference, and he believes that’s one way to build that trust with his coaches.
However, Alberts did share what he’s looking for from the football program moving forward.
“I like incremental growth and looking at the small fundamental things because ultimately those things lead to what we all want,” Alberts said. “It’s the fundamentals, it’s the discipline, it’s the areas of focus that ultimately lead to being a successful football team. Sometimes we’re so focused on the outcome that we forget the process is the primary driver in getting the outcome we all want.”
Alberts played for Nebraska during the 1990s. Though he didn’t win a national championship with the Huskers, he did play in a championship game in 1993 when Nebraska fell just a bit short against Florida State. From afar, he saw the Huskers win it all the following season. He understands what it takes to get to that level.
“We’re not going to get back there talking about what we used to do because nobody cares,” Alberts said. “We’re not going to get back there talking about winning championships. We’re going to get back there by executing the fundamentals administratively and in coaching that get you there. Those are very simple things, frankly.
“It’s just hard work, it’s encouraging the coaches to narrow their focus, focusing in on the details that ultimately win you games. There’s some hidden yardage here and there. Coach Osborne would talk to us about special teams and the importance of field position.”
That mindset is a change from Alberts’ time as a media member when, while discussing Frank Solich’s firing on ESPN, he infamously said that it “always has been and always will be about winning championships” at Nebraska.
Championships will remain the goal, but the Huskers can’t skip any steps to get there, especially in the Big Ten.
“This is a conference that has elite coaching,” Alberts said. “This is a conference that has elite offensive and defensive coordinators. The margin for error in this conference is very, very small. We need to understand that, and we need to have a process that allows us to have the focus and discipline to build what’ll ultimately be successful.”
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. 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.