One of the more polarizing discussion points for fans of the Nebraska football program has been about who will be hired to fill the vacancies left following the firings of four offensive assistant coaches.
Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts, on his monthly ‘Sports Nightly’ radio appearance Tuesday night, said he’s encouraged by the candidates that head coach Scott Frost has been interviewing. There’s been progress, but due to the seismic changes across the landscape of college football, that progress hasn’t been as smooth as he’d like.
“Obviously, the progress is, perhaps, altered at points based on what’s happening across college football,” Alberts said. “When you really think about it, what’s happening in terms of coaches changing and salaries, it really is unsustainable.”
Alberts and his head football coach, Scott Frost, will be meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the progress on the hirings. Frost has been on the road and interviewing candidates, Alberts said.
“We are talking to a lot of different coaches,” Alberts added. “I’m very confident we’re going to have some really solid additions in terms of teachers for our football team, in terms of recruiters, and people who really want to be a part of Husker athletics.”
The hirings will be made by Frost, and not by anyone else.
“These are decisions being made by Scott Frost and the coaching staff,” Alberts said. “They’re not being dictated or directed by me. We are in conversation and communication about that, but I really want this staff to be Scott’s staff. These will be his hires. I can provide some council when appropriate or ask some questions, but at the end of the day, this has to be a staff that he and the rest of the staff are really comfortable with and that fits what his overall strategy and vision is for the future of Husker football.”
Cultural fit is most important for the new staff hires. And being a former Husker, or having Nebraska ties, isn’t a prerequisite.
“I don’t think there has to be a direct connection with Nebraska. I think cultural fit is really more important,” Alberts said. “I think having Scott clearly communicate what his vision is in terms of how the offense will look, what the terminology is, what the changes are going to be. And I think also, Scott is himself trying to be a good listener to some of these individuals who could give him some perspective on what they’ve seen.”
More news and notes:
>> Alberts was impressed by what he saw from Nebraska football fans, who kept showing support for their team despite the 3-9 record.
“Let’s be honest, this was a team going into the game against Iowa that was 3-8 and had been on a long losing streak,” Alberts said. “And yet, look at the crowd that showed up for that game. It was incredible. The energy was incredible.”
>> Alberts mentioned creating a modernization plan in the future for Memorial Stadium, and would like to get fan feedback.
“I’m really excited about that and really taking a fresh look at what the fan experience looks like in every single area,” Alberts said. “I’m not sure when the date is that we roll it out, but I think it’s really important that the administration is good listeners.”
>> Alberts talked about how impressed he was with the character of the football team, which he said continued to fight for Frost, play hard and not quit, even when the possibility of a bowl-less season became a reality.
“I just have such a tremendous amount of respect for our players,” Alberts said. “I’m just so proud of them as players, because the reality is, there aren’t a lot of examples where you have a team that has the record that we had this year, and not just this year, the previous years, who played as hard and as well and together as our team did down the stretch.”
>> Alberts is a big fan of Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook, who has his team in the NCAA Tournament yet again.
“We’re a really young team. They played Wisconsin, a really great team, and didn’t play as well as they hoped to,” Alberts said. “But the way they rebounded the next night against Purdue, they played so well, and I think that speaks to the type of talent and character.”
>> Amy Williams and the Nebraska women’s basketball team got a shoutout from the AD.
“If you haven’t gotten the chance to get out and watch the Husker women’s basketball team, I’d encourage you to do it,” Alberts said. “By the way, they’ve gotten some really strong crowds in the preseason. I’ve been really, really proud of them. She’s (Williams) built a really, really strong culture.”
>> Alberts wanted to address some things on “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is commonly referred to as the Black National Anthem. It’s been playing after the American National Anthem before basketball games at UNL. Alberts said that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is the result of a desire from UNL’s student-athletes, and is an effort to promote unity and support for all students.
“I understand it’s controversial for some folks,” Alberts said, “but I want you to know that this is my personal position: I signed up 13 years ago to serve student-athletes, first at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and now here. And I made a conscience decision that I’m going to serve and love every single one of them, no matter where they’re from, what they look like or anything else.”