Pernell: Frost the complete package for Nebraska

Categories: 2018 Football
Scott Frost

During the last 20 years, Nebraska has explored just about every avenue when hiring a football coach. Legendary coach Tom Osborne won his third National Championship in a four-year span, following the Huskers’ 42-17 dismantling of Peyton Manning-led Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl. Osborne rode off into the sunset and Nebraska football for all intents and purposes has never recovered.

With the goal of stability and continuity, Nebraska turned to Frank Solich (1998-2003) to replace Osborne. Solich played for the Huskers under Bob Devaney and coached 19-years under Osborne, and was his assistant head coach and running backs coach. Solich went 42-9 in his first four seasons. He was named Big 12 coach of the year in 1999 and 2001, won the 1999 conference title and led Nebraska to the national championship after the 2001 season. Critics downplayed his early success by claiming he won with players recruited by Osborne. Nebraska went 7-7 in 2002 – the team’s worst season since 1961 – and struggled against quality opponents in his final season, 2003. His firing is still controversial with Husker fans today, but the bottom line is he failed to keep the Huskers as the national powerhouse they were under Osborne. I don’t think he was capable of building a new dynasty, either. Respectfully, his 13-year tenure at Ohio (.577 win percentage, no conference titles) has pointed to that. Elite coaches tend to stand out regardless of their job. He has not.

The Huskers then decided to take a dramatic shift in culture and philosophy by hiring longtime NFL coach and recruiting maven Bill Callahan (2004-07). The former Oakland Raiders head coach led his team to Super Bowl XXXVII. Under Callahan’s guidance, the Raiders had led the NFL in rushing in 2000 and led the league in passing in 2002. In 2002, the Raiders became the first team in NFL history to win games in the same season while passing at least 60 times (Sept. 15, defeating Pittsburgh 30-17) and rushing at least 60 times (Dec. 28, defeating Kansas City 24-0). Callahan was expected to “modernize” the Husker offense with a balanced pro-style attack that would attract blue-chip recruits from across the country.

Yeah, so much for that. Several factors doomed Callahan. Let’s start with his NFL sized playbook that overwhelmed players. It contained thousands of plays and he was never able – or willing – to trim it down to something that college players could digest and master. How about his unbalanced playcalling? It burned the Huskers several times: Iowa State and Southern Miss in 2004, Kansas in 2005 and 2007 and USC in 2006 are just a few examples. There were reports of a lack of cohesion amongst his staff. There were signs of dissension as early as the 2004 Iowa State game when people outside the Husker locker room could hear coaches arguing over how to gameplan against the Cyclones. Several players went public with negative comments about Callahan after his firing.

Next, the Huskers decided to go the ‘hot coordinator’ route. Bo Pelini (2008-14) was considered, perhaps, the brightest defensive mind in college football and had spent the 2003 season as Nebraska’s defensive coordinator – following strong recommendations from Pete Carroll and Monte Kiffin. In his lone season in Lincoln, he engineered a defensive turnaround that saw Nebraska go from 55th nationally in total defense, to a unit that finished 11th and led the country in turnover margin. Pelini’s reputation only grew afterwards. In 2004, as co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, he helped the Sooners finish 6th in rushing defense and 11th nationally in scoring defense as Oklahoma played in the 2005 BCS National Championship Game. His success continued. He was hired away by Les Miles and LSU in 2005 and for the three years he was in Baton Rouge, the Tigers ranked 3rd nationally in overall defense. He was on staff when LSU beat Ohio State in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game.

Pelini won at least 9 games a year during his seven years as head coach. He produced notable consistency but little evidence that Nebraska was set to take the next step as a program. After peaking in 2010, the word “fragile” began being used a lot by the national media when describing ensuing Husker teams. Pelini’s teams played not to lose. They made repetitive mistakes, they played stiff, they played hesitant and they seemingly played scared. It seemed there was one overriding trend in most of the losses. There would tend to be one backbreaking play that derailed Nebraska’s momentum, and when that happened, the Huskers wilted. When Pelini’s teams faced adversity, they had a deer in headlights persona. They were unable to persevere or find a way to stem the tide. Under Pelini, Nebraska was 3-9 on the road against ranked opponents and lost by an average of 20 pts. His tenure was marred by poor roster management, lackluster recruiting, embarrassing sideline tantrums and a gruff attitude towards the media. He left a toxic and apprehensive locker room in the wake of his dismissal. “I took a chance on Bo Pelini,” Tom Osborne would later say. “Bo won a lot of games, but I didn’t really know probably enough about his character, and some of those things jumped up and bit him and bit the program.”

The Cornhuskers then shocked most of the college football world – and their fans – by hiring Mike Riley (2015-17). Riley was the polar opposite of Pelini in terms of demeanor and attitude. He embraced the traditions, challenges and benefits of coaching at Nebraska. Riley did a lot of winning at a place where it is difficult to do so. Oregon State had 28 consecutive losing seasons from 1971-1998. His efforts at OSU got him an opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL and also garnered him overtures and offers from powerhouse college programs like Alabama, USC and UCLA. It was hoped that Riley would thrive with the increased resources in Lincoln and access to better recruits. Riley went 19-19 in his three years, the shortest stint as a Husker coach since Pete Elliott coached the team for one season in 1956. Riley’s teams struggled with week-to-week consistency and execution. New associate athletic director for football, Matt Davison, has been around the Husker football program since he arrived as a player in 1997. He was the color analyst on radio for football games for over a decade. In a speech to the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in mid-February, Davison said he felt a lack of discipline and accountability marred the culture Riley created. Davison thought Riley recruited well, but felt that character and fit were not taken enough into consideration.

Initially, all four coaches brought varying degrees of optimism to the fan base. But none of them felt like the best choice. It always seemed Nebraska could have done better. Enter Scott Frost. On paper, hires don’t get much better than Frost to Nebraska. He topped several ‘Best coaching hires’ lists during the offseason. Ahead of his mentor Chip Kelly. Ahead of National Championship winning coach Jimbo Fisher. He has received countless endorsements from several media members and coaches like Tony Dungy, but I think ESPN’s Todd McShay said it best: “I like Scott Frost a lot as a person, and have gotten to know him over the years,” McShay told Hail Varsity Radio. “Even if he had no tie to Nebraska, there are only a handful of coaches in the entire country – I’m talking like Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, those type of elite names – that maybe you would consider over Frost at this point, I think, with his youth, his energy, his passion for the game, his intelligence. I can’t put a timeline on exactly how long and what, but I know this: That roster he got at UCF was really bad. It was a broken team. He turned it around in two years and went undefeated. I think the world of the guy. He made a big sacrifice to go back and do this. I know he’s thrilled to do it, but it would’ve been a lot of easier to stay at UCF. They would’ve won and won big for a lot of years. It’s going to take two or three years to get to where he feels like it’s finally turning around with recruiting and everything else, the challenges he faces, but I just can’t think of many other guys in the world that I would want in that position if I was a Nebraska fan.”

The 2017 recipient of six national coach of the year awards, Frost returns to Lincoln with a two-part mission: Overwhelm the Big Ten with his pace-and-space offense, and return Nebraska to national relevance. He knows the culture and mindset in the program – softened immensely under Riley – need to be overhauled and rebuilt. More than that, Frost has Nebraska DNA; he understands the type of culture you have to build to have success in Lincoln. Once again, discipline and accountability will permeate through the program, just like it did under Tom Osborne. “Nebraska football used to be built on being physical and being tough, and working harder than the other team,” Frost said during his introductory press conference. “There are some pieces that have been missing here that we’re going to try to get back.” His pedigree, demeanor and support system point towards him being tremendously successful. Cornhusker fans feel an energy that’s palpable across the college football landscape for the first time in a long time. If there is a fan base that needs a positive shot of adrenaline, it’s Nebraska’s. This once-proud program has fallen on hard times. The team is coming off its second losing season in the last three years. Prior to that, the Huskers had just two losing seasons in the previous 53 years. Also, they failed to reach a bowl game for just the third time in the last 49 years. From 1970 to 2001, Nebraska won 34 more games than any team nationally and lost 18 fewer. Since 2002, its winning percentage ranks 29th in the FBS. Scott Frost is here to change that. He’s back in Lincoln to ‘Restore the Order.’

Husker fans have been watching Frost’s career unfold from afar for years – pining for the days he would bring his talents home. There were at least a couple of instances where Frost was actually close to becoming an assistant at Nebraska. In December of 2008, Frost interviewed with Bo Pelini for a position on the defensive side of the ball when Pelini was in the midst of putting together his first staff in Lincoln. At the time, Frost was coaching linebackers at Northern Iowa. Pelini didn’t hire him. The next month, Frost was hired by Chip Kelly to be the wide receivers coach at Oregon. Frost’s reputation as an elite recruiter and a bright, up and coming coach soon took hold. Then in February of 2011, Frost considered joining Pelini’s staff before deciding to remain at Oregon. He wanted to call plays, but Pelini was intent on handing over those duties to Tim Beck. Frost was eventually named the offensive coordinator at Oregon following the 2012 season.

In the history of college football, there has never been a team that has gone from 0-12 to 13-0 in two seasons. That’s what Frost accomplished as a first-time head coach at UCF. He could have taken the Florida or Tennessee jobs. He probably could have ended up at Florida State if he so desired. He was the hottest coaching commodity in the country this year. He could have chose to stay at UCF and continue to build them into a consistent Group of Five power. Those would have been easier career moves. Instead he answered the call to come home. Now he brings a proven model and all of the coaches who helped him orchestrate that turnaround to Lincoln. In every way, Scott Frost checks all the boxes as a Husker coach:

Pedigree. His experience coaching under an offensive innovator like Chip Kelly has proven invaluable. Frost has an offensive foundation that is second-to-none. He has experience with the West Coast Offense (Bill Walsh), the Spread (Kelly) and the Option (Tom Osborne). Three schemes with tutelage from absolute geniuses in each field. The offense he installed in Orlando ran roughshod over the AAC this past season. The Knights led the nation in scoring (48.2 ppg), were 5th in total offense (530.5 ypg), and 2nd in yards per play (7.46). In 2015, the year before Frost arrived, UCF was 126th in scoring offense and 128th (dead last) in total offense. The Knights scored a total of 167 points that season. They scored 190 points in their first four games this year.

Frost has a unique coaching background. He has experience as both an offensive and defensive coordinator. Not many head coaches can say that. As a player, he was tutored by some of the greatest football coaches of all-time. Bill Walsh and Tom Osborne I mentioned, but also Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells. He has also been around coaches like Jon Gruden, Mike Tomlin, Monte Kiffin, Bruce Arians, Butch Davis, Chuck Pagano and Todd Bowles. He has been exposed to Hall of Fame, all-time great coaches on both sides of the ball. Frost has taken what he’s learned from these mentors and has honed and tweaked parts from all of them and developed his own way of running a program. And thus far – albeit a small sample size – he is looking more and more like a coaching prodigy. He seems to have the ‘it’ factor. He reminds me of coaches like Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney. He has a confidence about him and a passion for the game that inspires his players.

Résumé. When Frost was first hired at UCF, in his first meeting with the team, he talked about coaches caring about players and players caring about coaches. He talked about everybody pulling in the same direction and being part of something bigger than themselves. A created a mantra: “One team, one family.” His approach worked. He built a program in Orlando that loved each other and their coaches. They played their hearts out for each other. The results speak for themselves.

When Frost was hired at Nebraska and said he was planning to also coach UCF in the Peach Bowl, his decision immediately had its critics. How could he possibly give his full attention to both Nebraska and UCF and make it work? How could he finish off the Huskers early signing day class and still manage a bowl game against a team in Auburn that was one game away from the College Football Playoff? The magnitude of the game and the dedication to his players made the decision easy. That month of pulling double-duty between the two programs: recruiting for Nebraska while prepping UCF for the Peach Bowl showed why Frost and his staff are so special.

Nobody gave UCF much of a chance against Auburn. They were one of the biggest underdogs (12 points) of all the bowl games. One thing was certain: Frost and his staff were truly going to give the Peach Bowl all of the attention it deserved. UCF defender Shaquem Griffin noted that before the first practice, thick scouting reports were handed out. Some thought Frost would just be a figurehead coach, showing up at UCF practices periodically while offensive coordinator Troy Walters ran the team on a day-to-day basis. Frost quickly dispelled that notion. He didn’t miss a practice, either. That also included practices that coincided with the early signing period. Instead of running a “skeleton staff” to run bowl practices from December 12-14 that featured just coordinators and graduate assistants, Frost and all his full-time assistants came back to Orlando for all three practices that took place over the biggest recruiting period of the year. Nearly every school in the country, especially one that’s trying to finish off a recruiting class at a new school would have operated with a skeleton staff that week. Not Scott Frost.

Auburn entered the Peach Bowl with a defense ranked 14th nationally in ypg (312) and 10th in ppg (17.3). Central Florida racked up 34 pts (season high for Auburn) and 411 total yards (3rd most). And they did it in impressive fashion. Frost and his staff had their team ready for that game – more ready than Auburn, and make no mistake, Auburn didn’t take that game lightly and weren’t disinterested. They came to play. UCF was just the more prepared team to start the game, and they were the more poised team throughout. Simply put, they out-executed the Tigers. It was a true testament to Frost and his staff. There’s no doubt that players at UCF had some hurt feelings when their coaching staff decided to leave, but it was clear they regrouped and bought into what this staff was telling them during bowl prep and delivered on a national stage. The country saw that Frost’s UCF squad wasn’t a fluke and could not only go toe-to-toe with an elite program, it could beat one.

Even with all of the outside distractions, the performance showed just how dialed in UCF was for the most important game in program history. Frost showed why so many people see such a bright future for him. On by far the biggest stage of his young head coaching career, Frost put his creativity and confidence as a play caller on display against a stout Auburn defense. He won the chess match against respected Tigers defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Not only that, UCF held up in the trenches and showed they could match speed and strength with an SEC power. If Nebraska’s fans or national pundits had questions about whether or not Frost’s offense could work in the Big Ten, the Peach Bowl provided overwhelming proof that it can, and will. When Frost was asked at his opening press conference how he would modify his offensive system to fit in the Big Ten, he answered “I’m hoping the Big Ten has to modify their system for us.” Predictably, that response drew a loud ovation from the people in attendance. I guarantee coaches in the Big Ten aren’t happy to see him in the conference. Scott Frost is coming, and defensive coordinators better be ready. I don’t think a lot of people in the Big Ten are ready for what Nebraska’s going to do.

Staff/Scheme. When Frost was hired, there were some pundits – me included – who thought he should consider keeping a guy or two from Riley’s staff. Donté Williams, Keith Williams and John Parrella were names being floated by most. In hindsight, Frost’s decision to bring his entire staff along from Orlando was the right move. Those guys have been through a rebuild already. They know what Frost wants to accomplish and cultivate and they know how to quickly, and effectively, go about doing it. There won’t be a need to get a fellow coach up to speed with schemes or how Frost wants to operate. These guys have hit the ground running. The loyalty Frost showed by keeping his UCF staff fully in tact was unanimously lauded by national media and fellow coaches alike.

This staff will feature an offensive coordinator (Troy Walters) who was one of five finalists for the 2017 Broyles Award, which honors college football’s top assistant coach. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander was nominated for the award in 2016. On top of that, Zach Duval was named the 2017 strength and conditioning coach of the year by FootballScoop, a website devoted to covering football coaching changes. The award is voted on by previous winners. Acknowledgment from your peers trumps any other accolades, and those three have gotten it.

Walters teams up with Frost to implement the most dangerous offense in college football. When it’s clicking, Frost’s system is nearly impossible to defend for sixty minutes – and under Frost’s direction at Oregon and UCF, it’s been clicking. The foundation of his system and much of his practice philosophy is a mirror image of Chip Kelly and what he learned at Oregon. But he has carved out his own niche, evolving and tweaking concepts to suit his own vision. “I was at Oregon a long time, and one thing I thought was, what if you took that speed and tempo and the way we moved and put it with Husker power? It would be really dangerous,” Frost has said. “That’s what we did at UCF. We took the scheme I knew with the training I knew at Nebraska. We can do the same thing here.”

One particular adjustment Frost has adopted that varies from what Kelly does involves gap-scheme runs. Frost has taken a page from Gus Malzahn’s philosophy when it comes to gap-scheme designs, with linemen pulling and moving. Like Malzahn, Frost likes to add in a fake rollout or rolling pocket rather than running the same end-read option multiple times. He prefers to pull his guards as opposed to his center on perimeter concepts, although you’ll see Frost pull each and every lineman in every way imaginable.

His offense mixes tempos and features a bevy of pre-snap shifts and motions, and key-breaking concepts that don’t allow the defense to get mentally settled.  It is designed to reveal the defense’s intentions. The run game is the foundation of the offense: Inside-zone, outside-zone, wide-zone, split-zones, stretch “G”, pin and pull sweeps, various option elements as well as zone-read concepts. A lot of the passing game is an extension of the run game. Frost features a lot of bubble screens, under screens, tunnel screens and flat screens. He does a good job of balancing deep shots with those well-timed screens. Frost has more run-pass options and features more empty formations than Kelly did at Oregon. Lining up empty with a running back out wide does a couple of things for the offense. First, it serves as a coverage indicator for the quarterback. If a corner lines up over the running back, he knows the defense is playing zone. If a linebacker or safety lines up over the running back, he knows they’re in man. It also doesn’t allow the defense to set its strength properly. Defenses tend to set their strength depending on what side the running back lines up on. That’s hard to do when the running back lines up right before the snap, which is common in Frost’s offense. Defensive coordinators also have specialized RPO defenses that usually involve rotating a safety away from the running back. Frost uses a multitude of formations out of his no-huddle and the defense is forced to quickly adjust to shifts and motions. It’s not easy to do and often times they don’t get lined up properly in time. For an offense that puts you in a lot of one-on-ones, that’s dangerous.

Frost also utilizes more passing concepts, and puts an emphasis on switch routes, which has an inside receiver running a wheel route while an outside man angles in. He loves speed on the field and versatility is also a prerequisite. He’ll motion a receiver into the backfield and use him as a runner. Conversely, he’ll motion tailbacks out wide and have them take advantage of mismatches against linebackers and safeties in the passing game. Frost doesn’t look at offensive positions in traditional ways. It sounds cliché, but Frost wants five ‘weapons’ on the field, not traditional offensive positions. “In terms of attacking defenses,” Troy Walters said. “Our No. 1 priority is to put the stress on the defense. We do that a number of different ways with our tempo, formations, our personnel. We’re trying to get athletes to create mismatches against the defense and we do that a number of different ways.”

They key to the whole thing is finding a quarterback who has the versatility with his arm and legs to unlock the full-potential of this system. We’ve seen how it looks when Frost has a true dual-threat running the show. History shows that Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco can and will identify and then develop a quarterback who can do just that. Verduzco spent 14 seasons at Northern Iowa. In that time, seven Panther quarterbacks combined for 13 all-conference awards, including Eric Sanders, the 2007 Missouri Valley Offensive Player of the Year who finished his career with the best completion percentage in FCS history, including an FCS-record 75.2 completion percentage in 2007. The three quarterbacks Frost has worked with as an offensive coordinator or head coach (Marcus Mariota, Vernon Adams, McKenzie Milton) have excelled in his offense. Mariota led the nation in pass efficiency in 2014 at Oregon with Frost coaching the position and calling plays. The next season, Adams led the nation in pass efficiency under Frost’s guidance. This past season, UCF’s Milton was second behind only Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.

Husker fans were initially apprehensive when they found out that Erik Chinander was going to preside over their beloved Blackshirts. Most of the trepidation was based on UCF’s shootouts with South Florida (49-42) and Memphis (62-55) in back-to-back games to end the regular season. The fact UCF held Memphis to 13 points during their first contest didn’t get much consideration. Neither did the fact that Memphis (45.5) and South Florida (38.3) finished the season ranked 2nd and 10th, respectively, in scoring. They were also 4th (Memphis, 532.1) and 6th (USF, 513) nationally in yards per game. I think watching the Knights defense stand up to an Auburn team that thoroughly outplayed Alabama and Georgia in November changed a lot of minds. And rightfully so. Any defense that compliments an up-tempo, no-huddle spread offense is going to be involved in some shootouts. It comes with the territory. Four-play, 80-yard touchdown drives that only take 1:10 are great, of course, but they do nothing to help the defense. There will  be games where Nebraska wins a shootout, and conversely, there will be times the defense runs out of gas and Nebraska loses them. The trick is adjusting your tempo when you want to give your defense an extra breather, but not to the detriment of stalling your offense.

Chinander looks for versatility in his unit. He values athletic players who can play multiple spots and give the offense different looks. He preaches the importance of forcing turnovers and giving the offense more possessions to do damage. In his two years at UCF, his defenses forced 58 turnovers in 26 games, ranking second nationally in takeaways in 2017 and 18th in 2016. The 58 takeaways over the 2016 and 2017 seasons combined ranked third nationally, and UCF was one of only six teams to force 25 turnovers both seasons and one of just eight teams to rank in the top 20 nationally in takeaways in both 2016 and 2017. Chinander inherited a Knight defense that had allowed 37.7 points per game in 2015 and two years later, UCF lowered that average to 25.3 points per game, improving its national ranking in scoring defense by 65 spots.

His impact was immediate, in 2016, his first season in Orlando, the Knights ranked in the top 10 nationally in four defensive categories and in the top 25 in nine categories. UCF was second nationally in red zone defense, third in defensive touchdowns, sixth in third-down defense, ninth in tackles for loss, 12th in pass efficiency defense, 17th in sacks, 18th in turnovers forced, 22nd in interceptions and 24th in fumbles recovered. This past season, six of his defenders earned all-conference accolades, including a league-high four first-team honorees. When taking things such as the number of offensive drives that result in a touchdown, total yards surrendered divided by yards available to be earned and various other metrics, the Knights actually trotted out the equivalent of a top 20 defense. Football Outsiders ranked UCF 15th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency (

Under Zach Duval’s guidance, UCF was one of the healthiest teams in the country. The Knights were also one of the best conditioned teams nationally as well. Despite having far less depth, it was UCF that was the fresher team in the 4th quarter of the Peach Bowl. It’s impressive to note that UCF was able to go undefeated during a season without a bye week to recover. Duval is a Boyd Epley disciple and he is reimplementing Husker Power to the football team. He will be brining back a lot of things that Nebraska was doing under Epley when he was revolutionizing the science of strength and conditioning. That includes the way players are lifting and returning to a lot of the workouts and training techniques that were used during Nebraska’s heyday. They are even reintroducing specific equipment that has been shelved for the past few decades. Duval has earned the reputation as a guy who is very adept at creating customized workout plans to specifically fit each individual player. That attention to individual players paid quick dividends at UCF. That same approach will be used in Lincoln with the expectation being that this roster experiences similar results.

Recruiting. This is the one tangible area where we’ve already seen Frost excel for the Huskers. Regime changes typically turn first signing classes into a mad scramble. But Frost hit the ground running and the energy and focus he and his staff displayed out of the gate was nothing short of extraordinary. What was so impressive and encouraging with Frost is how organized and set up they were with high caliber contingency plan B and C options. Despite only having two months to fill their 2018 class, Frost proved to have a deeper board heading to the finish line than any of his predecessors dating back to Tom Osborne. And we’re talking four-star kids.

When Scott Frost was hired on December 2, he inherited a recruiting class that would eventually dwindle to six players and had Husker fans wondering what could realistically be accomplished in a short amount of time. Nebraska was ranked 89th in the 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings. Despite only being on the job for roughly 9 weeks – over 3 of those falling during a recruiting dead period – Frost signed a class that finished 22nd according to the 247 Composite, tied for the highest rated class Nebraska has signed since 2011 – a class signed after the Huskers had been to back-to-back conference title games. Frost added 19 players to accompany the five holdovers from the previous staff. Twelve of them were rated as a four-star recruit by at least one recruiting service. Rivals rated Nebraska’s previous three coaches’ regime-change classes 27th (2004, Callahan), 30th (2008, Pelini) and 31st (2015, Riley). They rated Frost’s 2018 class 21st.

It’s clear that the state of Florida will be a huge focus moving forward. I think people expected this staff would recruit the state hard given their ties, but it’s impressive how effective they have been so far. They finished with 8 Florida natives in the 2018 class. It’s the most prospects they’ve signed from the Sunshine State in the Rivals era dating back to the Class of 2002. There is no reason to think Frost can’t continue to pull several kids out of Florida moving forward. Once Nebraska starts getting a few of them – and this year was a huge start – it will just build off of itself because a lot of those kids know each other. Having a friend at Nebraska will help it grow. In general, Frost looks to be prioritizing length and range on defense and speed and quickness on offense. Florida produces literally 150+ of those types of players every year.

Barton Simmons is the director of scouting for 247Sports. He raved about how Nebraska got faster and more athletic with this class. “I think this class screams athleticism,” Simmons said. “I see guys that are dynamic, verified athletes. A lot of guys look fast on film, but these are guys that put up legit times. They’ve out athleted elite competition. It’s clear they really did accomplish the task of getting faster. There’s a different dynamic, a different dynamic then we’re used to seeing headed to Nebraska.” I don’t think we’ve seen an offseason at Nebraska before with such a dramatic shift of key personnel as we’re in the middle of witnessing at the skill positions on offense.

Recruiting may be the lifeblood of a college football program, but developing the incoming talent and maxing out the potential of a roster is a big reason why some coaches thrive and others fail. Frost, albeit a small sample size, has done that. “I’m not here to win February,” Frost said. “I’m here to win football games in the fall.” Music to Husker fans’ ears.


Prior to contributing to HuskerMax, Jeremy Pernell co-founded the all-football website From 2002-2014, he served as the editor in chief of the college football portion of the website which focused heavily on talent evaluation, which included NCAA recruiting and the NFL Draft. He has analyzed and covered the NCAA and NFL for 25-years. You can email him at