This was an important moment for Scott Frost.
Wednesday marked the first public opportunity for the fourth-year Nebraska coach to explain why he parted ways Monday with four members of his offensive staff. He took questions from media for 15 minutes at Memorial Stadium.
1. Frost handled the moment well. And, yes, these moments are critical.
Wednesday was reminiscent of the late-fall day in 2002 when former Nebraska coach Frank Solich announced major changes on his staff. Frank always understood the magnitude of his important role as program leader.
Nebraska has an enormous fan base. It's a passionate fan base. At the moment, it's a fan base that wants answers. It wants the leader of the program to be strong and accountable.
Husker fans surely didn't want to see Frost step in front of the cameras and give half-hearted answers. They didn't want to see the coach in a defensive posture. They wanted him to explain his vision for his program in a clear, concise and confident manner.
Frost hasn't always been strong in these types of settings. But he's improving. You saw more of that improvement Wednesday.
There's little doubt in my mind that new Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts, hired in July, has had a positive influence on the way Frost presents himself in media sessions. Frost showed up in slacks and a polo, as opposed to his practice gear.
He showed up ready for the moment.
He explained in clear terms why he made changes to his staff.
"We've come so close in so many games," he said. "It's hard to think we can keep doing exactly the same things and get over the top. It's not any person's fault, any one of those coaches' fault. Sometimes there just needs to be a little different voice and maybe little changes that can make a difference."
He also said, "It would break my heart to think we've made the improvements we've made and gotten it so close in so many games, and not get an opportunity to see it through. It's an easy decision for me to make any sacrifices I have to (in order) to have the privilege to continue to be here."
That quote makes you wonder how much influence Alberts had on Frost's decision. It sounds like the AD had ample influence. Along those lines, it's important to note that Alberts said Monday that Frost made the call on his own.
“Ultimately, Scott brought a plan to me that contemplated a lot of the things we had talked about over the last several weeks,” Alberts said. “I want to be very clear. I did not mandate that Scott fire any coaches at all. No coaches. That was not part of it. This is Scott Frost’s vision, and I believe that’s the role of the head coach and CEO of the football program.”
Frost played the part of CEO well on this day, an important one for the program.
2. The first question of the session addressed something that's definitely on the minds of fans.
What's the mood been like in the football facility during the last 72 hours?
"It's been tough on coaches and players and everyone," Frost said.
The coach showed proper respect for the assistants with whom he parted ways. That was important, obviously. He also gave voice to the challenges this sort of situation puts on the most important people of all — the players.
"They're hurting, I'm hurting," Frost said. "The kids are resilient. They'll be OK."
Of course, it's not that simple. It perhaps goes without saying, but I hope a healthy part of Frost's grand plan that he presented to Alberts includes how the head coach plans to get his team fully prepared for remaining regular-season games against Wisconsin and Iowa.
Paul Chryst and Kirk Ferentz will show absolutely no mercy on Nebraska.
This is an unforgiving sport, amigos.
3. Make no mistake, coaching at this level is a brutal profession.
Frost had strong words of praise for former Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco, who made coaching his position a way of life.
"He's done an unbelievable job of getting our quarterbacks right mechanically," Frost said. "Those guys go into the game knowing every read, every possible thing that can happen, every protection.
"He was in the office every morning at 3:45. Every day. That was his level of commitment and his passion for what he did. And sometimes when you come up a play short, that's the business."
I've told my wife for years that I wouldn't have the stomach for the volatile nature of it.
4. The Frost-as-program-CEO discussion is fascinating, and one we'll continue to explore.
Remember, one of the major reasons Nebraska hired Frost in late 2017 was because he was a whip-smart play-caller with a "cutting-edge" offense.
Many Husker fans envisioned Frost calling plays on autumn Saturdays with the strategic wisdom they once saw in Tom Osborne.
That vision is no longer in play, and it's a remarkable development in so many ways.
Frost, though, made it clear he wants to broaden his horizons in his role.
"I'd love to be out talking to the fans more," he said. "I'd love to do more booster functions. I'd love to go hunting more in western Nebraska. Those things are important, I think, for my sanity."
"I love this state, and I love representing this state," he added.
He might not have a lot of time for hunting in the next few weeks.
'Nebraska showing some old-school patience': What people are saying about Scott Frost returning, 4 assistants out
Parker with the particularsUpdated
Obviously we'll see what Scott Frost's contract restructure looks like, but the buyout, of course, is the key.— Parker Gabriel (@HuskerExtraPG) November 8, 2021
Under the two-year extension he signed in 11/19 (through 2026), he still would have been due $15 million if fired following 2022 season.
Encouragement from the chancellorUpdated
I’ve had great confidence in Scott Frost from the beginning and still do. No one in Nebraska wants to win more than he does. Scott will continue to take the steps necessary to bring the football program to where it needs to be and I very much look forward to watching him do that. https://t.co/idw2tJwwTF— Ronnie D. Green (@RonnieDGreen) November 8, 2021
What could Frost's restructured contract look like?Updated
Over the past year-plus, Jim Harbaugh and Scott Frost both agreed to restructured contracts to remain head coach. If Frost's is anything like Harbaugh's, I think it's great. All CFB coaching contracts should be lower bases/guaranteed money + incentives based on actual success.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) November 8, 2021
What's that they say about patience again?Updated
In a year when schools have been tripping over each other to fire coaches ASAP, Nebraska showing some old-school patience/faith that the record doesn't tell the whole story.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 8, 2021
Refreshing for some Huskers fans, depressing for others?
Too close to start over, says this FOX broadcasterUpdated
Ready to put speculation in rearviewUpdated
Frost will be back next year with a restructured contract.— Meg (@hotmesshusker) November 8, 2021
While I'm really going to miss reading everyone and their mom's opinion about what they think should happen, I'm glad the speculation is over and we can get back to tweeting at Trev to bring back blonde Herbie.#gbr
'Close' to getting over the hump with FrostUpdated
I’m all for this! As frustrating as this season’s been, this team’s stronger than last season, and Scott Frost is close to getting over the hump with this squad.— Josh Idachaba (@JoshIdachaba) November 8, 2021
These last two games (both winnable) are a great opportunity to get a statement win and build momentum for 2022. https://t.co/e3Mx8LHddf
Bringing out the GIFs for the occasionUpdated
All it takes is a little timeUpdated
Giving the alum the benefit of the doubtUpdated
Keeping Scott Frost has a lot of parallels to the decisions Georgetown hoops had as Ewing struggled early - there’s nowhere else to go, as an alum he has a lot of goodwill that will never extinguish. In GU’s case the faith worked but we stayed true to self and BE. Not NU case— Lorenzo Cortes (@Hoyatexas) November 8, 2021
The price tag on removing Frost is too high, some sayUpdated
Where have we heard this sentiment before?Updated
Props to #Nebraska for making the right decision:— Embrik Eyles (@EmbrikEyles) November 8, 2021
23-16 loss at #3 OU
23-29 loss at #23 MSU in OT
32-29 loss vs #9 Michigan
30-23 loss at Minnesota
28-23 loss vs Purdue
26-17 loss vs OSU
Scott Frost and the Corn Huskers are so close, no reason to get rid of him! https://t.co/rdDLzZR0kE
Husker O-lineman on coaching shakeupUpdated
Damn— Teddy Prochazka (@TeddyProchazka) November 8, 2021
6 not 3Updated
Nebraska football finally figured it out — you’re not the coaching destination you think. Keep a guy that loves the Huskers and has shown he can win as a coach. Just not easy to win quickly at Nebraska anymore. It’s a 6 year rebuild. Not a 3.— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) November 8, 2021
A not-so-official statement from ex-HuskerUpdated
Happy to move on past the rumorsUpdated
I'm just happy the "Scott Frost is on the chopping block" narrative can go away now. Very happy to have him back for another year. He's the guy for this program— Jake Brown (@BandanaBrown) November 9, 2021
Money moves by Trev AlbertsUpdated
So, Trev Alberts is basically giving Scott Frost one more season to end the misery, and to show any sign of noteworthy progress, and he took a million from Frost's salary and cut the $15 million buyout in half. That's doing your job as AD under difficult circumstances.— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) November 9, 2021
Less cash for Frost, more to attract new assistants?Updated
It seems to me that Frost restructured contract in part to create more money for the pending staff hires that he will now be making...ADs think of coaching money in a large pool...They created close to $3M in room for the new hires with the exact same total pool— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) November 9, 2021
Loyalty prevails on this dayUpdated
Bob Devaney told me “Once a Husker, always a Husker”Never been prouder of being a Husker than I am today. @TrevAlberts did the right thing. Loyalty, not blind loyalty, should carry the day. “Scott Frost is one of Us” Well said Trev. @coach_frost PS: let’s get back to option.— McGraw Milhaven (@McGrawMilhaven) November 9, 2021