Gerry DiNardo sees what the rest of the football world sees––Scott Frost is going to do big things at Nebraska. That's the long-range view.
Short term? The Big Ten Network analyst and former coach wasn't quite ready to proclaim Nebraska the division favorite as some have––and DiNardo still isn't doing that––but after watching the Huskers in person on Monday, DiNardo sees why Nebraska could get to Indianapolis ahead of schedule.
"I think they're progressing faster than I thought," he told Chris Schmidt on Monday's Hail Varsity Radio show.
DiNardo and the rest of the BTN team were in Lincoln as part of the network's annual fall camp bus tour. Jacob Padilla recapped the analysts’ impressions from the visit here, but DiNardo offered a little more detail during his appearance with Schmidt.
An All-American at Notre Dame in 1974, DiNardo went on to head-coaching stints at Vanderbilt, LSU and Indiana. He's been around football for more than four decades at this point and certainly sees something unique in Frost's leadership ability.
"He's like he was when he was a player," DiNardo said. "He's just confident, he believes in the plan. He's a teacher. He's got a great presence about him."
Great enough that it reminds DiNardo of one of his foremost influences, Ara Parseghian. Parseghian won two national titles and 83% of his games at Notre Dame, coaching DiNardo all four years in South Bend.
"I loved Ara Parseghian. Anyone that has been a player on a team, you always respect your coach. Sometimes they're hard on you, sometimes they're not," DiNardo said. "The thing about Ara, I wanted to be in his presence and I think that's how Nebraska players feel about Scott.
"When you want to be around your leader, I don't think there's any greater compliment."
The BTN crew heads to Iowa on Tuesday.
Back in Black
I decided to retire this year from offering uber-nerdy, detail-driven grades for Nebraska's alternate uniform. I've done it for every uniform to this point and a lot of times Nebraska's alternates were kind of mess. It made me question the role of criticism itself–a question real critics are continually wrestling with––and I just didn't think it was providing much value for anyone.
But I can't turn that design part of my brain off. I still have the thoughts, I'm just going to keep them to myself. Mostly.
Because I can't just quit cold turkey, however, here are three quick thoughts on Nebraska's new alternate, which is quite good this time out. (Great timing on my part.)
1. This is the no-brainer alternate that has been out there for Nebraska since it first agreed to play the evolving uniform game.
I’ve been waiting a long time for these #Huskers alternates.
From 2013. pic.twitter.com/X2TbbeQzWr
— Brandon Vogel (@brandonlvogel) August 19, 2019
2. Interesting choice to make the TV numbers (i.e. the ones on the shoulders) red, but the main numbers white. I think it works. Make the big numbers red and this jersey with a skull on it almost becomes overaggressive. Keep it white and not only does it nod to the actual black practice jerseys, but it also better evokes the Huskers' usual uniforms. The red accents are just enough to keep Nebraska's primary color in there.
3. That said, black-and-white is an underrated color combo for football uniforms. Some might think it's boring, but I think it's striking (and uncommon). There are no FBS teams that are simply black and white. This is why I like this Nebraska helmet so much. Making the football-N black was the key move here. There's a strong Permian Panthers vibe. Reading about that team 20-plus years ago in "Friday Night Lights" is probably what unlocked the power of this color combo for me.
Also, I'll be very surprised if Nebraska only wears this uniform once.
The Grab Bag
- So far Jahkeem Green has been everything the Huskers staff was looking for in a junior college transfer on the defensive line. (Premium)
- Greg Smith released his list of the top Nebraska targets for August and also revealed who just missed the cut.
- Here’s Monday’s practice report and video.
- A couple of poll streaks were snapped on Monday with the Huskers’ appearance at No. 24 in the preseason AP poll.
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.