Scott Frost had a plan for how he wanted to approach this early signing period, but he wasn’t going to fill a class two months before he needed to and he wasn’t going to make a bigger deal out of it than it should be.
“I didn’t want to come in and try to fill a class in two weeks because that doesn’t give us enough time to evaluate and get to know people and develop relationships, so there’s a lot of work left to be done,” Nebraska’s head coach said on a teleconference call Wednesday afternoon. “I think fans are too impatient now and they think you’re just going to solve all the problems on a roster in a program by going out and signing this kid or that kid and plugging him in and playing. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
He also took it a step further.
“I think we have good pieces on the team in Lincoln,” Frost said, “and I think they had probably more talent on the team last year than what the record indicates.”
On the Big Ten Network earlier Wednesday morning, Frost said the coaching staff won’t be doing any dancing around just because they signed a kid. It’s a different approach to take from other major programs. While the Oregons and Oklahomas of the world have invested major time and energy into elaborate announcement videos, Nebraska’s social media has remained dormant. Whether that's by design or it's simply coincidental, it matches the mood.
“I can see now why Coach [Tom] Osborne always said ‘he’s a good player,’ and would never give them any more shining endorsement than that because I think people get a little bit too excited about how many stars are behind a kid’s name,” Frost said. “We want kids that are good football players that are good people that we know can develop and fit in our schemes and then we’re going to get them inserted into our process and our way of doing things and I know what the results are going to be at the end of that.”
Frost’s results have spoken for themselves throughout his early career. And that’s what he’s pitching, success and hard work. He said kids, especially on the offensive side of the ball, see the success he’s had and want to be a part of it. From there, it’s about taking the right player.
“One thing we weren’t going to do was just sign kids to fill spots. We want kids that we know can come be good people and become good football players,” he said. “I feel good about where we are and I wouldn’t have wanted to sign a whole recruiting class and fill it all up in these first two weeks because I think we’re going to have a real opportunity in January to get out and see a lot more kids.”
Frost said he expects a number somewhere in the range of 19 for scholarship spots, but that number could grow into the 20s by the time signing day rolls around in February. The Huskers currently have eight players signed, with at least two more expected in the early period. Several are junior college players. Frost said he doesn’t want to make a career of loading up on JUCO talent but if they’re the right fit, they’re the right fit.
And right now, he knows he needs immediate help. Even if he didn’t want to sign players for the sake of signing players, Frost said the Huskers need scholarship bodies at wide receiver and defensive back.
“We don’t know the roster real well in Lincoln yet, we’re getting to know it,” he said. "There’s a couple positions where the number of scholarship players we’d want to carry, the University of Nebraska is way down on those numbers. Receiver and defensive back are two glaring ones. There’s just not enough guys at those two positions. Those are places we need to go to work and get some kids in just to make sure we have enough at those positions.”
Don’t let the downplaying of the importance of signing day fool you though. “Adding talent certainly helps,” Frost said, and the newcomers aren’t going to get buried on the depth chart just because of their (lack of) experience. A freshman could enroll early and not play at all or show up in August and play right from the opening kick. What it comes down to is work, and this staff is preparing to hold open competition once spring ball and organized practice begins.
“We’re going to play the best players, whether they’re from Florida or California or Nebraska, whether they’re seniors or freshmen, I don’t care, we’re going to play the best kids,” Frost said. “But every one of them is going to have to earn it and everyone’s going to have to come in and outperform everyone else on campus. Competition is healthy so at every single position the competition is going to start over because there’s going to be a new set of coaches with new eyes on them.”
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.