I want to start out this post with the fact that i’m not at the “fire Frost” table yet. My decision hasn’t been made yet as you need to let the rest of the season play out. If I had to pick my side now, i’m leaning on letting him go, but I just haven’t firmly landed there. I completely understand the people that have and the ones that say “if he hasn’t shown it by now, he won’t ever.” I get that. I certainly get it more than the people that say “we are close” because we have close losses.
I was doing some reading while waiting on something for work and came across the article from when Tom Osborne had his meeting with Bill Callahan. Callahan was coming off a 2006 season where he went 9-5 and played in the Big12 championship game. But his 2007 season was sitting at 4-4, and in walks the new AD. Osborne had a pointed conversation with Callahan and clearly defined what needed to happen. “Go 4-0 you are 8-4 and things are fine. Play well, win 3 of your next 4 to get to 7-5 and although I can’t guarantee anything, maybe it can still work. If it’s 2-2, it’s going to be pretty tough to keep you because you’ll end up 6-6 and we don’t have many break-even seasons around here. And if you have a losing season, there’s no way this can work out.”
That was said to a coach that was 26-19 at Nebraska, coming off a conference championship game appearance, and was sitting 4-4. Scott Frost currently sits at 15-25 at Nebraska, no bowl game appearances and 5th in the west is the best finish while currently sitting dead last, and this season is 3-5. Will Alberts take the same approach as Osborne, and if he does will he have the same standards? If so, Frost has to go 4-0 to get the “maybe it will still work” if this is the same bar that TO gave Callahan.
There’s no doubt in my mind we are in a different spot. TO came in and basically gave Callahan a goal that wasn’t attainable. Things had changed too much and TO was trying to get it back to the way things were. Frost will definitely get more leniency than what Callahan was given. But at what cost? Someone brought up a great point to me on twitter when I referenced that the reason I thought Frost should still have a chance to keep his job is because I feel the constant turnover has been what has put Nebraska in this mess. But the response was “I feel like retaining mediocrity to avoid a lack of continuity can be worse.” That’s a really good point.
Alberts has no crystal ball, but i’ve said many times that if you are going to make a move, you make a move now. You lose most of your defense, and before the season I was told this is Martinez’s last year. You also lose Toure and possibly Allen before we talk about anyone else transferring out. Now I have no idea if this season is changing that for Martinez, NIL money for another year is pretty appealing if you can’t make it to the NFL, but let’s say you lose Martinez and possibly Allen, you then lose Domann, Stille, CTB, Williams, Dismuke, and possible Daniels on defense. There’s no better time to bring in a new coach than when he is needing to find a QB and replace veteran leaders. Matt Rhule who I really like as a head coach basically got rid of Cam Newton because you need your guy relaying your message as a new coach. After this year is the year if you make a move, but how can he know 2022 won’t go well?
Further, our recruiting class is awful right now. We lost our best recruit who just decommitted on Monday. We only have 8 commits and are behind teams like Texas Tech, Southern Methodist, Cal, Wake Forest, UCF, Virginia, Duke, Illinois, Colorado, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt in not only overall ranking but average star ranking. We have 3 guys committed from Nebraska who will stay on board no matter what, 2 of the guys committed are out for the year with injuries, so that leaves 3 recruits that could defect (one of which is a TE who has 3 catches and from Minnesota who the Gophers didn’t even offer). We don’t have a recruiting class to save like when we let go of Mike Riley and we lost guys like Micah Parsons (who was silently committed to Bray) and multiple other four stars. In fact, we don’t have a single four star committed.
The problem is, Alberts doesn’t have a crystal ball. He doesn’t want to pull the plug too early, so probably needs 1-3 or worse to feel good about letting Frost go. But not having a crystal ball can put him in a way worse situation if we keep Frost and have another clunker for the 2022 season. Because we are already struggling on the recruiting trail this year, what do you think will happen next year? That would make two bad recruiting classes in a row, and that can make a rebuild extremely difficult. One bad class you can deal with. Two…. that gets bad in a hurry. Remember, most recruiting classes are completed before the season begins nowadays, so we will be recruiting with 4 losing seasons and won’t have much of a chance to have a winning season pull things together for us.
But Alberts needs to show he’s giving everything he can to Frost. People probably didn’t understand the firing of Pelini, which is why you had to end up with Mike Riley. They didn’t understand the firing of Solich, which is why it took 45 days and begging to get Bill Callahan here. Both those coaches got fired after 9 win seasons. But people understood why you fired Callahan, and even though I love the guy, they understand why Frost would be fired. He’s been on hot seat lists for 2 years now, hasn’t made a bowl and hasn’t gone over .500 any year here. We could get someone good.
You also add to the difficulty when you see we are selling buy one get one free tickets for the Purdue game. Even the “red carpet experience” for donations is starting to dry up.
Here’s the long and short of it… firing Frost is basically what Alberts will be known for if he pulls the trigger. A decision like that will dwarf getting rid of wrestling and football at UNO. So he has to be right, and he has to replace him with the correct person. Because you can look like Steve Pedersen in a hurry if we screw this up. I remember reading how Alberts went around to all of the assistants and Frost saying how proud he was of the effort and what they were doing after the Michigan game. I’m sure he felt we were close. But I also have a pretty good suspicion that he was saying those things assuming a win against the Gophers was coming. That may have backfired.
If i’m Alberts, i’m probably not laying out an ultimatum like Osborne did. But after the season i’m asking Frost what his plan is and praying to whoever it is he prays to that he says “we are making a change here and here” in regards to a couple coaches. If Frost says “we are keeping our head down and going to get to work right now on getting better” and doesn’t think there should be changes… Alberts needs to be ready to pull the trigger.
Let’s see how the remaining games play out. We go 2-2 and I think Frost is safe, over that more than safe, under that, tough decision for Alberts. 4-8 is not progress in any way possible. There are big money boosters ready to move on, there are big money boosters wanting Frost to stay. I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision.