There was a moment during breakouts Sunday, after Scott Frost, the native son returned home, had been introduced as the next head coach for Nebraska. Frost was asked about any reservations he might have had about leaving a place in Orlando where he had some anonymity for a place where everyone knows his name. He began with “I know what I’m getting into” but then without any change in tone or level, he shifted to something much different.
“I’m going to lose it on every one of you if you approach my family,” the new head coach said. “It’s already happened. I’m telling you right now, my parents, my wife, my child are off limits. I won’t answer another question if that happens.”
Then right back to business as usual.
This is Scott Frost. Deeply devoted, completely genuine and unafraid to say what needs to be said. Frost put his foot down. This is how things will be done, follow along or get left behind. It’s the way he attacked Sunday, it’s the way he has attacked each day since with careful and meticulous recruiting strategies and it’s the way he plans to attack each day from here on out as he tries to resurrect a Nebraska program he cares so much about.
Over at the other end of the third floor at West Stadium, there was a much different vibe. Jerald Foster, the Huskers soon-to-be senior starter at left guard, was bubbling over with excitement.
“We’re all excited,” Foster said. “There’s nobody that’s not excited with what’s going on right now. We’ve all been smiling, we’ve all been happy. It feels like we’re taking a big step forward and I’m excited.”
Foster’s brother, Trey, recently graduated and when asked if he was a little jealous of missing out on the Frost hype, Foster’s answer said something bigger about the way he and probably most of his teammates feel about their new coach.
“Trey can be a little jealous, I don’t care about it, I’m the one that got lucky enough to have Scott Frost as my head coach,” Foster said with the biggest smile.
Frost said players were anxious to meet him Sunday morning before he was officially announced. He said several even came by his office after a team meeting. He told them to go home and enjoy the winter break, enjoy their time off, but he told them that when they returned, it would be time to go to work.
Frost said things will be changing at Nebraska.
“We've got a lot of work to do, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover,” he said. “There’s going to have to be a lot of shared experience before we can earn trust with one another, but we’re going to work harder than everybody else, that’s what Nebraska’s about. We’re going to be a more united team than anybody else, that’s what Nebraska’s about. We’re going to work our tails off in the weight room and be stronger and more physical, and tougher, than other teams, because that’s what Nebraska’s about.
“A lot of these guys will jump on board and do those things, maybe some won’t, but the ones that will, are going to enjoy the ride. We’re going to have a lot of fun and get this place back to where it needs to be.”
The key word in all of that: fun. For all of what was probably 200 or more people filling up the third-floor foyer, it was evident that Frost has and will inject some excitement into the program. Foster said he’s excited to pull again in Frost’s new offense, excited to build a personal relationship with his new coach, excited to get handed the playbook and excited to start building a culture similar to what Frost experienced during his playing days.
Eric Crouch, a Heisman trophy winner at Nebraska and Frost’s heir apparent at quarterback back in 1998, was just as excited.
“My heart rate is elevated because it feels so good,” he said. “It just feels like you have someone you not only played the game with who understands the game, but understands Nebraska football and understands what it takes to win at this level. This is a very special place and the football is unique here because this is it.”
Crouch said he probably wouldn’t be as excited if someone else had been named. The familiarity of what it takes to do it at Nebraska, the familiarity Frost has, sets this apart from anything else the Huskers could have done. He understands the walk-on program and its significance. He understands the family aspect of the program. Crouch said both have been missing in recent years.
“When you first step on campus to the day you leave to the day you die, really, you feel like you’re a part of this always,” Crouch said. “I think that’s what we’ve kind of been missing a little bit is that when you leave, you don’t feel the same as what we once had.”
During his press conference, Frost was asked about the walk-on program. He said when he played at Nebraska, practices weren’t easy. No one was on a knee and everyone was working. Crouch remembered the same from his time. That hasn’t been the case recently, but it will be again.
“College football is a business now and there’s a lot of different coaches and a lot of different ways to succeed, but the way we’re going to choose to do it is by genuinely caring about our players and pouring everything we can into their lives,” Frost said.
“We need to get to work in the weight room and on the field. We’re going to practice hard and fast. I told the players today that everything we’re going to do is going to be difficult, but they’re going to have more fun than they’ve ever had.”
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.