The more one learns about Scott Frost’s past month as dual head coach, the more one wonders just how long it will take the 42-year-old coach to fully recover. Not that anyone will be able to tell a difference. Frost and his staff will coach UCF one more time on Monday, then probably take whatever free time the completion of that task that might allow for and pour it straight back into Nebraska.
From the outside, it won’t seem like any change at all. There will be no acknowledgment of the grind beyond what you can plainly read on the faces of those involved, and eventually, weeks down the road, things will actually settle back into normalcy. But this past month of UCF/Nebraska double duty seems like the sort of thing that will be felt for a while.
And if you want a good sense of what that month was like, Mitch Sherman and Andrea Adelson of ESPN have a good, long read on what it was like for Frost and Co. to wear two hats in December. The story has plenty of good detail, but of particular note was this note about why Frost and staff elected to take on the challenge of coaching UCF while trying to get their Nebraska era underway simultaneously:
His task is rare. Of the five FBS head coaches to leave for another school this year, Frost is the only to attempt double duty. He took note that Urban Meyer, at age 40, coached unbeaten Utah to a win over Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl before taking over full time at Florida.
And Frost chatted on Dec. 7 in Atlanta with Dave Doeren, who jumped from Northern Illinois to NC State after the 2012 season. Doeren told Frost that the decision to skip the Orange Bowl against Florida State still ranked as "one of his biggest regrets in coaching."
Frost wanted to leave UCF free of regrets.
Simple enough until you really stop and think about how rare it is.
I was in Atlanta for the first day of Peach Bowl availability yesterday. It’s going to be an interesting dynamic in this game. I’ll probably write more about it later, but on one side you have UCF carrying the banner for what it was able to build in two years under Frost and one last chance to prove just how good the Knights actually are. Win and UCF will have climbed as high as the current system effectively allows a Group of 5 school to climb.
Auburn? The Tigers were just in Atlanta earlier this month with more on the line. They’ve already got wins over Alabama and Georgia on the résumé, but it’s the Tide and Bulldogs who are in the Playoff. For football fans not paying close attention, a win over UCF might not even register.
“It’s not only a chance to win our eleventh game, which we’ve done six times in school history, but to finish this season off the right way,” Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn said in response to the motivation question yesterday.
I guess that means both coaches are trying to finish things here the “right way.” The difference? Frost and his staff only get one more crack at it with UCF. Feels like a pretty big edge.
The Grab Bag
- Interesting read from John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times on whether a program like UCF can ever become a national power. Lee Corso certainly doesn't pull any punches.
- Which of the new coaching hires in this cycle will still have their new jobs five years from now?
- Missouri defensive end Marcell Frazier says departed offensive coordinator Josh Heupel (now at UCF) left the Tigers in "a bad position" for the bowl game. Missouri lost 33-16 to Texas last night.
- The Big Ten West is undefeted in bowl season thanks to wins from Purdue and Iowa on Wednesday.
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.