INDIANAPOLIS — New Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts came to Indianapolis and Big Ten Media Days armed with a quote from an old admiral.
“Part of good organizations is having the courage to examine the blatant truths of your current reality,” he said to a gaggle of reporters after his head coach was on stage expressing confidence in his football team.
That dichotomy is a friendly home Nebraska has lived in for some time now. Scott Frost said he feels as good about this year’s team, his fourth, as any so far. The record, though, would suggest the bar is perhaps low. Frost is 12-20 in three seasons as the Husker coach.
The man who hired him, Bill Moos, is now gone. Alberts took his place, officially starting on Monday.
He watched Frost from just yards away as the head coach spoke on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. He then held court himself. “I’m going to work really hard to make sure he’s comfortable knowing the apparatus around our football program is operating appropriately,” Alberts said.
Part of being in Indianapolis this week was showing his coach he’s putting in the time.
Trust is going to be important to Alberts as he builds a relationship with Frost.
Alberts won’t publicly talk about expectations. Conversations he has with Frost, of which there have already been four, will remain private between the two men.
“Scott Frost is going to hold me accountable, and I’m going to hold him accountable,” Alberts said of the relationship. “We’re going to have the kind of trust that we can (make) the difficult decisions with one another and know it’s out of love because we both love this place.”
And Alberts knows there are tenuous waters ahead of him. When he left the Nebraska program after the 1993 football season it was set up to win multiple championships. As he walks back in the door, he stresses that getting back to that level won’t entail talking about winning them again. Details will be important.
They’ve been overlooked.
“The reality is that part of growth is we need to be honest with ourselves, warts and all,” he said. “There’s some really great things about our program, there’s some things that need some work. So let’s define them and understand them and at the end of the day the reality is going to match perception.”
So what is the truth of the Husker football program Alberts will work to dust off and polish once again?
“The truth of the football program today is we have really good coaches, we have a fanbase that is starved and hungry,” he began. “I can also say the blatant truth is over the last several years we have not executed and accomplished what we’d like to do. We’ve got a lot of work to do. It isn’t just for the football program, it’s for the athletic department as well. We’re committed to getting that done. We’ll do it. We’ll do the work. But we’re just going to get focused in those small, minute details. That’s, to me, what the issue is.”
That applies to the administrative side as well.
“We’ve got a lot of hardworking people, but are we all in the right roles and are we all activated? We’ve got a lot of assets that maybe aren’t activated the way they need to be and given the autonomy they need to run,” he said.
Alberts says he can’t hold his coaches accountable until he’s confident the administrative side is operating at an “elite” level. And that’s an assessment he hasn’t made yet.
But, he’s in Frost’s corner. That much was key. Alberts wants to use his experience as a Husker and as an athletic director to make life easier on his coach. But he also says that will include having tough conversations about who they are and what they’ve been.
“I think we’ve been really focused on outcomes,” he said. “Outcomes are great, we all want the same outcome, but without the proper process we’ll never get the outcome we want. We can do a better job of that.”
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.