I had this planned for the bye week, but i’m hearing we should probably get a statement in the next 72 hours. If we get one, all is well in Husker land. If it’s radio silent… not good.
So I want to start this post out by again stating that I think one of the biggest issues that have led to where we are today is our continuous turnover. I understand that Solich was coming off a 7-7 season and you made the decision before his 2003 campaign, the team had quit on Callahan and I get that, I agree that you can’t keep Bo around if he continually calls his boss a pussy to other employees and his team, I get that Riley went 4-8 in his third season… All of those can be warranted based on how you look at them. But at some point it’s not because we are a coaching carousel, that is looking at the back half of the situation. The actual reason is because we haven’t made the right hire.
Bo was the closest thing to the right hire that we have made this century, and when Perlman decides it’s time to kick Osborne to the curb and insert Eichorst, well just add that to the carousel and reasons we are in this putrid state of Husker football. I’m not sure Bo, Riley, or even Frost were the wrong hires, but we gotta give it all we have.
I have stated many times that if I were AD, I would want to be giving everything that I knew was possible with my resources to the head coach of the football team before I pulled the plug on him and moved on. If not, it’s really a me issue and not coaching issue, right? If I was capable of giving more but I wasn’t, that was an AD problem. Conversely, if I was giving every resource our budget and constraints offered and the coach wasn’t getting it done, it is definitely time to move on. That has been my whole frustration with a couple of the “failures” that led to Frost’s hiring.
The first example is with Bo Pelini and his staff. Terry Joseph had come to Nebraska as defensive backs coach from Tennessee, and was completely shocked that to go on the road recruiting he had to drive an hour to Omaha, get to the airport an hour early to go through TSA, and fly commercial to get somewhere hopefully close to where his recruit he was visiting was, and then rent a car to drive to the final destination. “If I were still at Tennessee i’d probably be in front of the recruit before we are even taking off from the Omaha airport.” That was a huge issue at a school like Nebraska that has to recruit at a greater radius than schools like Tennessee. Around the 2012-2013 seasons, Bo and Jeff Jamrog made a presentation to high level boosters stating that if we wanted to get over the hump we needed booster dollars for some additions to help recruiting behind the scenes and private jets to fly direct from Lincoln to the destination on high recruiting weeks/weekends. The idea was shut down, and that’s where this idea first started getting in my head of doing everything possible as an AD. What if all of a sudden Bo starts getting some top 15 classes strung together because they are able to get in front of recruits more frequently?
We then fire Bo and bring in Riley. And to my surprise, what Bo was told no to just a couple years prior, was given to Riley and his staff. They hired guys like Todd McShane and Ryan Gunderson to take care of all the things Bo wanted. And it really dawned on me… the “hump” we were wanting Bo to get over when he made this presentation was winning a conference title. After all, he had played for 3 conference titles in 5 seasons when he asked for it. What if instead of starting all over we just gave him what he wanted to see if it worked?
So Riley is given things that Bo didn’t get, but I still have to bring up to people that think Riley sucked some of the things that he was told when he was here. First, and i’ve made mention of this, his strength staff tried doing the Husker Power circuit right when they showed up:
The strength staff then were told what they could or couldn’t do by administration in fear of issues coming down. While that was just one of many things that happened, the culmination of all of it was what happened before the 2017 season that I detailed on the other site to give me some credibility that I knew what was going on behind the scenes. Essentially, administration saw that Bob Diaco was available, and Billy Devaney who was our NFL guy we hired said we were better suited for a 3-4. Diaco ran a 3-4, but moreover he had been a head coach before, so if we were looking to move on from Riley we could bring someone from our own family up. Mike Riley was forced to then call Mark Banker while he was on the road to let him know he was fired, and hire a guy he really had no familiarity with. To let you know how far off that was, Nebraska’s scoring offense was 74th in 2016, while our scoring defense was 30th. Defense was not the problem, but that’s what our administration forced. I bring that up just to let people know if administratively you aren’t giving all you can, or even worse forcing things on coaches they don’t want, well it can lead to this.
So in 2017 we are looking at Frost, and we fire Eichorst in an effort to make whoever would take the job feel better about the situation. It would be their AD so you aren’t being hired by someone who wouldn’t be there. Make no mistake about it, Moos was hired because Frost was on board. By the time we pulled the trigger on the hiring, UCF was 5-0 and we had our “3rd party helpers” head down to Orlando after our Friday game with Illinois to watch UCF take down Memphis in an OT thriller. The magical run for Frost and UCF continued, and the decision got easier each Saturday.
Frost reached out to Osborne and asked if he would get the help he needed, to which TO responded “now you will” in reference to Eichorst being gone and Harvey Perlman retired. Fast-forward to Frost being hired, and one of the first workouts they do is the circuit that Mark Philipp and Riley’s staff were told not to do. They complete it and send two kids to the hospital, and the response isn’t “don’t do that anymore” like what our previous staff received, it was “this is how out of shape we are!” In no other world can you send kids to the hospital and have it be their fault unless administration is on board. Go deeper and when you realize Frost wanted to have morning practices so he had the entire administration switch classes into the afternoon for the football squad to have practices in the morning so their testosterone was higher, and you see where i’m going with the support. It’s there. At the very least it’s more than any other coach has ever received.
Trev is going to make sure he’s given everything
I bring those situations up to just let everyone know that this staff is getting the most from the administration that any coaching staff has received this century. But Trev is going to let Frost stay here if he thinks there are things that he isn’t giving that could help the situation.
However, with that said, Alberts has had to have some tough conversations with people when he came here. If you remember, many people were upset when Frost brought his entire staff with him. I wasn’t one of those people, I thought being comfortable with who you are going to run a multi-million dollar team with is paramount. And let’s be real, most people were mad he was bringing his defensive staff not offense. Just like with Riley, defense isn’t the problem, turns out offensive coaching is the issue.
But what I did personally take issue with is the fact that he brought everyone here and just basically doubled their salary. Our strength coach doesn’t need to go from $175,000 to $375,000 and on down the list. What bugged me was he hired this staff with a Power 5 budget with the constraints of a Power 5 stigma. Now that he was going to Nebraska, guys that didn’t want to head to UCF such as P5 head coaches that were fired and would be looking for coordinator jobs are now available to you. But we didn’t do that, and just increased everyone’s pay. There’s no way at UCF he hired a P5 staff on every single hire. There were people available that weren’t available before.
So those are the things Trev is taking a look at, and you’ve already seen some movement with those things and guys like Gerrod Lambrecht. Whether Alberts comes to the realization they are giving everything they can to Frost or not, the reality is Frost is getting much more than any other coach has received this century, and doing so at a lesser success rate on the football field. I think Alberts can help Frost see the light to restructure some things and maybe make things for the better. It reminds me a bit of one of the high school teams I helped coach. One of the positions I coached had a kid that signed with Nebraska, another went D1 in baseball, and the backup ended up going to Nebraska as well he was just younger at the time. I remember coming in and telling the head coach that our starters and backup get it, but the others just don’t seem to be getting it at all. He responded with “maybe you’re a shitty communicator? Not really that uncommon for the D1 guys to make you right all the time as a coach, it’s more important for the ones with lesser talent.” That has resonated with me to this day. If you aren’t getting the right direction or communication from your leader, that leader needs to step up and give you the direction you need to be successful.
Elephant in the room, is he better if Martinez is gone?
This has been wildly circulating. And after that Purdue performance, rightfully so. And Alberts basically has to decide if this is the case. As I posted on twitter the other day, don’t be so quick to jump to the conclusion that we are better without Martinez:
Not only do we lose, but we lose to bad teams. I have been at a practice or two, and Smothers is McCaffrey 2.0 as of now. I remember on the other site when people were clamoring for LM to start, I had to tell them he isn’t a QB and he isn’t ready. Smothers isn’t either, and there’s a reason we march an unhealthy Martinez out there every Saturday.
So what does Alberts do? Does he say “ya I think we are close everywhere but QB”? Our OL has been pretty bad, and you lose 4 super covid seniors on defense in Dismuke, Domann, Williams, and Stille. On top of that, you could lose Damion Daniels and Cam Taylor-Britt. So even if we are better without Martinez at QB, what happens if our team as a whole takes a step back?
Alberts doesn’t have a crystal ball to know those answers
He has no clue the answers to if we will be better without Martinez. But he does know our schedule is easier next year. The question becomes what keeps him around. My problem is if you keep him and we go 6-6 in year 5 as our best record, is that progress and you keep him?
Most will say yes, so if that isn’t progress in Alberts’ eyes, it is probably time to move on because we are having the worst recruiting class in history happen before our eyes. Most recruiting classes are finished before the season even starts, so the 2023 class will be mostly solidified before we even play a game next year. With that said, we will be trying to recruit 2023 players with 4 straight losing seasons with this staff (if we lose one of our last 3 and 5th losing season overall). What can kill you more than anything is back to back poor recruiting classes, and we could head that way. Further, you basically have to extend him.
Most people sit and quote that it is this bad because of what Frost inherited. But my answer is always the same, if there was poor culture or bad players, please just quit playing them. And that excuse goes out the window when your own players transfer out. But what really irks me is the “we finally look like a B1G team” while we are on the verge of our worst conference finish and worst record in 50 years.
So our line was the problem, even tough our only draft picks were inherited Riley guys that played on the line in the first few years? And let’s be real, we beat Fleck in year 1 and have lost 3 in a row to them, was everything ok for us year 1 but worse in years 2-4? Was year 4 with Frost still worse than what Bielema inherited year 1 at Illinois to beat us? Why did Mel Tucker take over in a Covid year and finish dead last in the conference, only to use the transfer portal to his advantage in year 2 and now he’s sitting on top of the east with a Heisman candidate? It’s not worse at Nebraska than anywhere else. People just say that to try and figure out what’s going on. But every metric is we are worse in year 4 of this staff than we have been with any other staff this century.
Many people mention the buyout, and this tweet sucks…
Keep in mind we are not paying any past football coaches, we paid out a lump sum. But the reality is when you pay coaches what we do and have a carousel, this will happen. Which is why I like continuity. But as one person said it best to me, “is retaining mediocrity worse for us than failing to move on to avoid lack of continuity?” It’s a happy medium.
Trust me, for the people that write the checks, the 20 million doesn’t matter. And Frosts extension made it so the buyout is actually 2.5 million per year the final two years instead of 5 million. But the extension is important, because if Alberts sticks with Frost after this year, he more than likely has to be extended. So there’s more money out of your pocket if you stick with him another year if you have to buy him out in 2023.
Basically it comes down to this, Alberts has to stick with him and extend him, and then pray to God that it works. Or he needs to move on since there is no better time than now to bring in a new coach.
Who would want this job?
Ummm…. everyone. People like to say “if we fire Frost who would want the job” as if that’s an issue. Quite honestly, firing Frost would be the most warranted firing we’ve had if you look at record and results. That won’t be a tough sell. Further, with a new facility coming, it would allow that coach to see the plans and tweak whatever he thought may be needed. Not get stuck with what was made for a staff that isn’t here anymore. Remember when we made the facility for Callahan, the first thing people said was “now it’s not big enough for Pelini and the walk-on program because Callahan wanted a smaller roster.” Don’t let us go down that path with a new coach. And we will if we wait until after the 2022 season.
Our fan base, NIL status, resources, and tradition make this a very attractive job. It’s not top 10, but it’s certainly top 25. Don’t be like the jilted girlfriend that thinks they aren’t good enough. We have a lot to offer.
Don’t fire a coach when LSU and USC have openings!
If you are one of these morons, please stop. Texas, Auburn, and Tennessee were all looking last year, and Kansas still got Leipold who everyone thought would be a great fit here. Florida State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Washington were looking before that, Baylor still got Aranda, Rutgers still got Schiano, Sparty still got Mel Tucker. You get my point but one last one, on November 29, 2015, Iowa State hired Matt Cambell. On December 1st, 2015, Georgia hired Kirby Smart. On the same day Campbell was hired, Virginia Tech hired Fuente. There are always going to be positions open that are looked at as better than Nebraska, if you go down the list you’ll see it every year. Failing to fire because of what other people have open is a losing battle. And there will always be good candidates out there.
What would I do if I were Alberts?
All my opinion, but i’m still not on fire him yet. He goes 3-9 absolutely he needs to go, but 4-8 gets dicey for what Alberts does. If i’m TA I walk in and say “well what do you think” and I let Frost talk. Hopefully he says he’s making a couple coaching moves, and while i’m not sure if Martinez is the problem, if he says we are moving on from him I at least know he sees issues and wants to remedy things.
I think our issues are bigger than Martinez or one or two coaches, but he would need to illustrate to me he’s identified them. For those of you wondering, we will 100% be getting a QB in the transfer portal this year, bet the mortgage on that one.
This will be a bit on both sides of the fence, but i’m not sure Frost can get it done here. And you can get tickets for #5 ranked Ohio State at home for 20 dollars on SeatGeek right now. Not exactly how the scalpers drew up the 2021 season. While my decision wouldn’t be based on the last 3 games, those last 3 games will make for a long offseason if you go 0-3. If we can win one Alberts has a leg to stand on for keeping him. If we lose all 3, that means we lost 6 in a row to end the season and our last win was October 2nd. Further, we will finish dead last in our division for the first time ever. That’s a hard sell.