Before there was an announcement, before there was a press conference, there was the game — UCF and Memphis combined for 1,479 yards and 117 points in the Knights 62-55 overtime win to claim the AAC championship — and the reports. As Memphis was engineering a fourth-quarter rally from two scores down, Brett McMurphy reported that Scott Frost was going to be Nebraska’s next head coach.
Most of the national outlets followed suit, confirming initial reports. Steve Levy mentioned it on the ABC/ESPN telecast. The news started to run on the ticker as the game headed to overtime and, when it was over, sideline reporter Todd McShay got the postgame, on-field interview with an emotional Frost and his last question was about the reports.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, who covers sports media, wrote a quick column about the decision making that goes into a situation like that and spoke with ESPN’s Josh Hoffman, who produced the game:
“I wasn’t convinced that you had to ask him but if there was any news about the [Nebraska] job during the course of the day, then you had to ask him to react to the news,” Hoffman said. “Todd and I were in complete agreement on that. This was like any decision I made during the course of a game whether it is a replay, graphics or a camera shot. You make a decision about the person sitting at home. What do I want to see? What do I want to hear? If I am sitting at home watching that game, what do I want to ask Scott Frost? Given that we had just said he had reportedly accepted the job at Nebraska, we felt like it seemed like an obvious thing to ask. It was not a difficult decision from my standpoint. What would be your reason for not asking it?”
How did Hoffman see McShay’s asking of it? “I don’t think there was any moment that he did not want to ask the question. But I get it. We were in the office with Scott Frost the day before and he seemed very conflicted about which way he was going to go with this decision. It seemed like a very difficult decision for him and I am sure Todd was being sensitive to it in some way by saying the statement of “I have to ask.” But he was in no means ever conflicted of asking the question and we knew Frost would handle the question of whatever way he decided to.”
I agree with Deitsch and Hoffman, McShay asked the question he had to ask. And Frost answered it the way – “I’m going to go celebrate with my team.” – he had to answer it.
And if you’re not interested in the media blow-by-blow angle, there’s another interesting piece of that quote. Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World Herald wrote that Frost was wrestling with the decision he’d made to take the Nebraska job so much that it took a Friday-night phone call to Tom Osborne to salve last-minute second thoughts.
How serious was the conflict? Serious enough that a TV producer noticed it earlier in the day.
The Grab Bag
- You can find all of our Scott Frost coverage from the past couple of days here, but be sure to give the podcast a listen when you get a chance. And if you're ready for some hoops, here's Jacob Padilla's game story from Sunday.
- Nothing official yet, but Gus Malzahn has reportedly agreed to a seven-year extension with Auburn.
- Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente said he has "declined to talk to everybody that's come along" and isn't entertaining coaching offers.
- Former Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin appears to be the top candidate to replace Frost at UCF.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.