Where we go from here

I want to start off this post for saying if any of you reading this get information from someone who was saying “he is definitely getting fired” or “he is definitely being retained” you probably should stop listening to those people. If you remember in my post “Trev’s Big Decision 2.0”, I told you that we would hear something in 72 hours. When I wrote that, there was definitely still some questions needing answers. But how did we get to “he will be back in 2022” after hearing this just a couple short weeks ago?

Remember, those comments were made during the first bye week. While our staff was mostly solidifying current recruits, they were also out trying to find new 2022 offers to finish this class as well as getting more 2023 and even 2024 recruit film. The greetings were nearly all the same… “coach, we need to know if you are going to be there if we are going to commit to you.”

I’ve always brought up that if i’m AD, I would need to make sure I did everything in my power to help the coach succeed. But even more important, things I did (or in this case didn’t do) couldn’t hinder success. If we were going to retain Frost, a statement needed to be made before they got out on the road again. If we weren’t, I expected that decision to come after Iowa. Thus my 72 hours we will know for the better for Frost, or silent will be no good for Frost.

Make no mistake, the last two games weren’t going to matter in the process. But what I was talking about in the first paragraph that no one knew yet, is that Alberts still needed questions answered from Frost, and for his decision to be a bit easier after the Ohio State game. If Frost had at all lost this team, Alberts could have certainly went the other way with this. So he wanted to make sure that wasn’t on the table. We showed that against the Buckeyes.

But Alberts also knew things just weren’t working, and changes needed to be made. Our AD isn’t the type of guy that will force those changes, but as i’ve alluded to multiple times this past month, he was going to ask questions of Frost and let him talk. “Well, how do we feel and are there any offseason things you need from me?” And down the road Frost went with Alberts on those things. While I expected at least two assistants to be fired, I didn’t expect 4. But in all reality, we’ve been that bad. Let’s dive into those:

Mario Verduzco – I won’t belabor this point because everyone knew I wasn’t a fan. But Martinez has gone from preseason Heisman candidate in 2019 to a guy people are saying is losing us games. This makes things easy.

Greg Austin – He and Frost have been butting heads for awhile, and let’s be honest, our year 4 offensive line may be the worst since this staff got here. We gave him “run game coordinator” when he and Frost got into it about what our personnel was best at to try and keep him happy, but at the end of the day it was time.

Matt Lubick – Here is one I was wrong about. I said on the other site this would end up better than Walters at OC, and I was wrong. With that said, red flags were going up immediately after I made that statement. He verbatim said one time “I mean I wasn’t dying to get back into coaching, it’s not like the opportunity at Nebraska made me jump out of my shoes. But the opportunity to go work with my friend again in an offense I knew was something I couldn’t pass up.” That’s verbatim.

Ryan Held – Here’s one I was wrong about and still wrong about. I defended Held so much, and was pretty wrong about all of it. Our RB stable just never seemed to get figured out. With that said, Held saved our ass in recruiting in 2020 when he brought 7 official visitors in the weekend before NSD. He brought us guys like Pheldarius Payne, Jordon Riley, Omar Manning, Greg Bell, and on down the list. JUCO recruiting is so important. But on the field production is paramount, and we just weren’t getting it done.

So where do we go now?

It will be interesting to me what route Frost goes. Is he going to get a bunch of coaches that he is familiar with and still run his stuff? Or did we clean house so that we can tell a new OC he can hire 3 or 4 guys he really wants to install his offense in a hurry? The reality is, this is a one year make or break year in 2022. So we have no time to screw around. Here’s how I would do it if I were Frost:

Frost HC/QB – Most important position on your team so you handle these guys. Also gives you room for my last suggestion.

OC/OL or WR – You have to find out what your coordinator wants to coach and go from there

OL/WR – Whatever you didn’t hire with your OC

RB – Obviously need someone handling duties here

Special Teams Coordinator – Quit screwing around and get someone in here that knows what they are doing. Dawson doesn’t want to do it so get it off his plate. Sean Snyder is an absolutely real possibility. Keep an eye on that name.

I also like what Mitch Sherman shared here as well, this could work to make room for Snyder:

What now?

You get that OC in here to watch the last 2 games and judge what you are doing. You allow him to get his staff together and you hit that transfer portal hard. And this new staff probably saves a bit of your recruiting class.

I have been hearing a former HC as a possibility at at least one of our openings, which would be great news to have some ideas on how he did things back in the day.

This is a massive gamble

If this falls on its face, this will set us back even more than we already are this year. If this doesn’t work, we will have 2 straight recruiting classes that are flat out awful (this year where we are currently sitting 77th overall and second to last in the big ten for average star ranking and then next year if we fire Frost). What you have to remember is most recruiting classes fill up before the season starts. So we are going to be recruiting kids with four straight losing seasons and be mostly full before we even have a chance to show we are better. A new offensive staff will help, but it’s still a hefty load to make right. We are lucky we have two four stars in state for 2023 that want to come to Nebraska no matter what.

How will this land with the team?

It’s not easy to tell kids they committed to that you fired their guy.

How will our RBs, OL, and WRs respond? That is going to be what is fascinating with all of this. Does this give us added pep in our step? Or do we crumble because the foundation has a crack in it? That’s one of the last reasons I wanted to bring up on why the timing is now. You don’t want to have us lay a stinker in one of our last games and then come out and retain him. Do it while people are excited with the “close” mantra and let the cards fall where they may. The bye week also gives Frost a chance to get in front of his new candidates and figure out what he wants.

Interesting week everyone. Excited to see the changes.

61 thoughts on “Where we go from here

  1. Do you think Frost is a “CEO” type? To me, this decision allows TA to say he did everything possible to help Frost while lowering the buyout if next year is a bust. I just don’t see him all of a sudden transforming into something he failed to be the first 4 years. Great stuff as always.

    Also, do you have a sense when names will start dropping for potential OC candidates?

    1. I am really curious if Frost will go the CEO route and just hand it off to someone else or if he will still be hands on. The name I heard as a real possibility would seem to be hands on still helping the offense.

      1. We adapted a little bit this offseason which was nice to see, but our core foundation is still the same which is why you see our top recruits like Prochazka, Kpai, etc,. injured almost every year first year in. I wouldn’t even care if we didn’t change things in the weight room, just customize the workouts to help some of these guys out.

  2. Great content and insight as usual. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and info! If Frost is truly going to be more of a CEO type coach, I would think he would first hire an OC and then let them hire their people for the line and RB coach. Certainly need a dedicated ST coach for sure. Of course he played under Osborne who was his own OC, but that is a rarity I think…Osborne also had a PhD in educational psychology and was a truly gifted play caller – I dont think Frost should try and be like TO…Frost needs to be Frost and hopefully with Trev’s guidance can get this thing turned around. Seems like the transfer portal is going to be an extremely high priority…QB first comes to mind, as well as an edge rusher if possible?

    1. I believe that’s what will happen. Find an OC he jives with and let them grab who they want/need. If that person is ok with Frost helping a position group even better.

  3. I respect your reasons for not sharing the name of our possible OC who was a HC. Can you share if we are actually going to spend top dollar to fill out our new staff?
    Also, are the analysts promoted to coaches going out and recruiting? Seems like we are short on coaches getting out to schools and games this week.

    1. Ya, we can actually send some guys like Ron Brown out if we want. Davison will head out too if we want him to. But quite honestly, this bye week is more about getting in front of the candidates and finding the right fit.

  4. Hey, SSO, thanks for the write up.
    Just curious…
    You mention a former HC as a potential OC. Does his name start with H and and with H?
    If so, that’s the same name I’ve heard.

    1. lol….You think in the middle of all this turmoil, we’re going to fire our offensive staff, and bring in a dude who not only was forced to quit, but caused UoM 3 years of probation for multiple recruiting violations, was paying players, stripped of 27 wins, while also having an escort service on speed dial with his company phone?

      Sounds like a bunch of crap Frost doesn’t need to deal with while trying to get his own house in order.

    2. lol I won’t go there but we have some options which is good. For everyone that says “who would want to coach here” it’s funny they are ok with firing all assistants on a one season tryout.

  5. Is Held stuck on being a coach? As you mention, he has some pretty serious value in the recruiting department. Frost needs help in the roster management area. Covid has made things a mess but roster is a disaster in year 4.
    6 seniors listed on depth chart
    OL starters F, F, So, So, J – will never cut
    it in B1G and makes whoever your QB
    is irrelevant

    1. I actually think it would be great to have him as an analyst then you could pull a coach off the road and have him go out every year. For example, once you get your QB on board in the spring, let Held head out for the QB coach the rest of the time. There’s things you can do.

  6. Would LOVE to hear your thoughts on potential candidates for these positions…even if its just hypothetical or (reasonable) wish list kind of stuff.

    1. I think Snyder is on top of the list as special teams coach unless Busch will slide down and do it for you. We need to find an OC that does things similar to what we do, Helfrich would be intriguing but I have heard when Frost left Oregon HH really threw him under the bus a bit. John Garrison is another one we need to take a look at again, when we played for our last conference title we had 3 walk-ons starting on our OL. He got the most out of kids.

  7. Good write up and foresight on what just happened. I guess we could have pieced these things together with Trev’s hiring and all the discussion about clearing Frost’s plate. He was always staying on but the collapse means he can’t just hand the offense to Lubick and team. I just wish he’d moved on Verduzco and Austin after 2020.

    I feel bad for guys like Austin and Held who I believe were in their dream jobs and it just didn’t work out for them. Lack of interest wasn’t an interest there.

    I know the Helfrich name is obviously out there for OC/QB but I’ll throw Harry Hiestand’s name out there for OL. Worked with Helfrich in Chicago and was an elite college OL coach with some pro success. We absolutely have to figure something out up front and I strongly suspect the disorganization plus Austin’s lack of experience led to disaster. A more experienced coach could and better organization can get things rolling. I’m not sure either is a long term fix but we need to have something positive and outside ST our OL is the weakest link on the team. In fact this is probably a low point of OL play for Nebraska. Total disaster out there.

    Snyder would be a tremendous hire for ST but we also have Bill Busch we can hire and assign to DB’s if need be. Lets see what happens.

  8. If next year really is a “make or break” year, what are those standards going to entail? More of a rhetorical question for thought, know one probably truly knows that specific answer… If guess I felt like this year was supposed be that year, so not sure how to view that statement. Not saying that as your fault, just more a comment on the situation.

    I mentioned it before, but feel like if we show a pulse related to our talent, and beat everyone except Iowa and Wisconsin in the West, like I sort of thought we would usually do, 7-8 wins is very feasible.

    But I mean, is Alberts going to fire him if we go 6-6 and to a bowl? B\c I mean that’s technically progress even though not really in my book for year t.

    Would just be very curious to know if he has a minimum standard for next year or just feeling it out again

  9. I really want this to work but I have to admit I’m skeptical. I really haven’t seen the ability or the willingness to make adjustments on the offensive side of the ball over the past 4 years. I hope this is the start of something good.

    With that being said, a little execution would go a long way. There have been many plays called that had a lot of potential but the play just wasn’t made for whatever reason. Attention to detail is critical to perform at the high level that is desired. There is definitely talent on the team to win now.

    1. We’ve got some things that are going to be challenges next year. If Martinez comes back, you have people thinking he’s the issue. If he leaves you are starting a first year QB. Our defense had 5 covid super seniors and you also have guys like CTB, Payne, and Daniels that could leave. Our defense will be starting over a bit. Our OL is going to need to be better, we will lose our top WR for the 4th time in 4 years with this staff.

      1. Yeah, I could see defense regressing next year, unless some underclassmen step up, which is feasible. If Martinez leaves that’s gonna be a whole lot of interesting.

        I’ve been in the camp of not putting all the blame on him, and think he was the best we have, it just wasn’t very good – at least not consistent. He could look great then awful.

        I don’t think we’ve got anyone better currently on the roster. But maybe if we play solid defense again and actually develop a running game, a game manager who doesn’t make mistakes could actually work better? Or it could implode.

        If I were Frost and worried about my job, that’s one spot I would be praying for a home run in the transfer portal.

  10. First thing Frost need to decide on is what kind of offense does he want to run? What is the identity going be? Does he go the direction if what Oregon was? Does he go more pro style? Or does he go triple option like Coastal Carolina? I really like CC offense. I think he can take those elements add a power run game with it and use more TEs. I think more TE is a big key. The best players in Nebraska have been 6’6 220 pound athletes.

    1. We worked with Coastal Carolina and Nebraska-Kearney this offseason. We can’t go a complete change again IMO, we’ve been recruiting a specific way for 4 years we can’t just reset that. But to your point, we do need to know what we are.

      1. Ok fine, but what are we? It is sometimes hard to tell. I hear we are going more option but then, we just let AM stand back and try to pass.Can you explain what direction we are going and how we recruited? And then maybe that would point to who he would be looking at for ass.coaches.

      2. My apologies, we would be fine going complete Coastal. I was more referencing not changing again to say the Army offense or something like that. We basically recruited tall and athletic offensive linemen, so for example that Army offense would be awful because they are constantly cutting and we aren’t athletic enough for that.

      3. So here is a question. If we go more what coastal is doing, does Frost go after one of there position coaches? Not the the OC but one of CC coaches like a WR, QB, RB, or Oline coach to help with the concepts?

      4. What i’m hoping happens is we get an OC that he trusts and hands the keys over to. From there that OC will choose guys he knows and is familiar with. I really don’t like the idea of Frost doing something, bringing in a position coach to help insert things, and then finalizign the rest of the staff because then you have a bunch of people that aren’t experts in what we are doing.

        What i’d like to see is an expert in what they run come in, and he has 2 more spots he can fill with his guys, one of which being an OL coach.

      5. Makes sense to me. All the names out there I like Jeff Nixon the best and Tom Herman could be a good hire.

      6. Ya I’ll be curous which way he goes. I really like Frost saying he wants to get something that does his own things that coincide with what Frost likes to do so he can give input. Let the guy do it and give your input, don’t spread yourself so thin.

  11. Great stuff as always. Do you try and implement an offense similar to the other west div teams? Does our ability to out-recruit our peers (when playing well) get us over the hump if we run something similar to them? I think a curveball offense featuring more of the CC stuff would be fun and a hit, don’t know if it will work though. His Oregon tempo offense was supposed to be a curveball and didn’t work out. Also, currently all the talk is about the offensive assistants… what if one or more defensive assistants gets poached? Several could get attractive offers and might want to jump a sinking ship. Any intel on that side of the ball SSO?

    1. That’s the rub… we let go of 4 assistants we didn’t want, what happens when we lose a guy or two that we do not want to such as Fisher? That’s on top of losing a ton on defense.

  12. Re Coastal Carolina…
    My favorite team to watch as they run a sort of Neb 1990’s-updated-for-2021 offense.
    However, they didn’t really take off until they found that freshman QB last year.
    So unless we hire their OC and he brings Grayson McCall with him…

  13. I’m highly skeptical this will work. With that being said I think Trev leveraged some pretty substantial changes from Frost in their “conversations” and if this was going to be the path they are going about it the right way. I didn’t have a problem with any of the firings. Held was a damn good recruiter but not having a legit RB at Nebraska in 4 years is pretty astounding. The firing of Lubick was by far the most intriguing piece because in essence Frost fired himself as OC. I’m sure he is looking for someone to tweak what they are doing not blow it up. The offense gains enormous yardage. The critical areas to me are the OL/run game and scoring and imo one alleviates the problem of the other. That OC hire is the most critical piece. He needs to hire someone he trusts and hand him the keys and that dude needs to fire on all cylinders the second he hits the door to pull this off.
    Saw in Frost’s presser today he’s still considering whether or not to hire a full time ST coach. That will be a screaming red flag in my book if he does not. I can see improvement around the edges on ST but that should not be good enough. Just get Snyder and be done with it.
    Yeah it’s going to be one hell of an interesting off season. Let’s hope it works because if not we’ll be blowing the whole thing up again in 2022 to start completely over.

    1. I always kind of wondered how well you could judge some of the position coaches, at least from an outsiders perspective. I feel like HC, OC, & DC I can make a reasonable judgement call.

      But RB coach…? I honestly don’t have a bone to pick either way if Held was a good RB coach or not. I guess what I’ve pondered, is if we had a so-called great RB coach, how different would our RBs look this year? They weren’t great, but I think you at least attribute some of that to poor OL and play calling.

      If you’re looked at to bring a great RB in recruiting, then I can look at that a little easier. I don’t really care either way too much, was just curious of things people might look to for position coaches if you strip away the external factors (talent, other positions, etc)

      1. Good point. I think one thing you can look at without having to know positional X’s O’s/technique is how assistants manage their room. From my uneducated viewpoint, it seemed like guys on the OL were playing out off position, or the wrong guys were in there. I think Frost forced Austin to change up his starting lineup, and they looked good when Teddy was in there and Turner was at right tackle. Then Teddy got hurt and that’s all she wrote. When you look at who-plays-when at WR and RB, it doesn’t make any sense. Why do some guys get pulled, and more talented players disappear for a few games? I wonder if Frost left too much of that up to the assistants when he should have been telling them who they need to keep out there. Maybe a full fledge OC will help with that.

      2. That’s what I always said about judging Martinez or the OL. Does the OL look bad because of bad decisions by the QB or play calls? Or does Martinez look bad because he has no time whatsoever?

    2. Will be interesting to see what happens with OC duties. I’m of the opinion that Frost has shown the ability to call good DRIVES, but doesn’t seem to put together a whole game very well. I think some people can have a good mind about scheming something, but I think it’s a whole different skill set to call plays a whole game and adjust on the fly.

      My amateur opinion is Frost maybe draws some good drives or general plays up for a game, but then doesn’t adjust or set things up based on how the game is going.

      Steve Sarkisian is someone I think is great at calling an offensive game from start to finish.

      Would be interesting to see someone else call the plays if he let up control. I’m not saying that it would be any better, but would be interested to see someone else give it a go.

      1. I don’t know that I agree here. I think Frost is probably a solid play caller in terms of the progression. I think the biggest issue we have faced is the install. The Kelly system he built off of was fully dependent on getting a ton of practice reps and keeping the number of plays minimal. That meant the team just knew how to execute those plays because they practiced them to death. Frost uses the same install approach but he expanded the base and each week adds a lot of new layers customized to the specific opponent they face. We see the results. I don’t think any play caller would look decent with the mistakes we see, especially with our OL frequently letting 3-4 man rushes get home. On top of that we see issues like SSO points out with our OL lifting to run the TO power run game while Frost is calling a speed spread game. That’s more a program management issue.

      2. That’s my whole thing. I said from Day 1 it literally defies physics to go HuskerPower bigger and stronger and trying to mesh with Oregon Speed. No sprinter in the world tries to put on mass to get their fastest. They try to lean out to float while running. Goes back to that plan not working at all, and if that’s what Duval knows then I would welcome a change at the S/C position. I just don’t think that would ever happen, too much money being made from husker power to have the University that founded it get rid of it even though it’s outdated.

      3. SSO, I totally agree here. What gets me is that we don’t just have Duvall to point at. A lot of performance athletes will tell you the workouts only get you so far. It the diet that gets you to the top. We have invested so much in our nutritional staff and hyped up the training table yet nobody ever talks about what’s going on there. When you mention our OL getting told to slim down for the NFL, that’s really more on Ellis than Duval to get there. Yant didn’t get over 260 lbs because Duval pushed him in the weight room. That was all poor dietary habits. Just as we went back to what we did in the 90’s lifting wise, we literally hired our nutritional staff of that era too and nobody talks about it. I think this is the first spot to change in S&C.

      4. Good points, and I blame Duval more than Ellis but you bring up a good talking point. For example, when this staff got here they were shocked how many of our players didn’t eat at the training table so they even called it out.

  14. So if my math is correct….Frost would have been paid $20 million if fired at the end of this season. If fired next year he will get $4 million plus the $7.5 million buyout? We just saved 8.5 million dollars. If Heinfilch (sp?) is hired Trev is playing chess while SF is playing checkers. SF called plays when they were together. MH was fired calling plats the following season after MH left

    1. I’ve read some things that once Frost left Oregon, Helfrich kind of gave the “this will allow us to be more who we want to be” once he was gone. I’ve always wondered about the relationship. We will see.

  15. @DJ yeah a lot of good points there, our OL certainly hasn’t helped matters. My personal perception is I feel like he struggles with adjustments. You’re always going to look better with great talent and not as good with poor talent for sure. It just seemed to me that we had good things going on in certain games, but then we would fall apart.

    We never have really beaten a team at or above our level. I see a guy like Brohm call some games and find a way to beat some good teams. I don’t doubt that he game plans or customizes what he does to for opponents, and I agree great play caller wouldn’t totally solve our issues, and think there’s a myriad of issues that fall on Frost. I do think a better game manager/play caller/etc. could’ve won us some games the last 4 years that we haven’t though.

    Appreciate your insight and comments

    1. @Hrock, its not that other coaches don’t customize. Its how you customize. Let me give an example.

      Wisconsin has had the same core offensive concept for years and they recruit and develop to it. 1 thing they at least used to do which I really liked (may still do but need to verify that) was how they installed the run and pass game together to leverage their strengths. They used a combination of inside and outsize zone run plays. They had talent to run those and they practiced it to death. Off those run plays they worked in a lot of play action concepts. Conceptually, the OL was operating really close to how they would with one of those zone runs and to the D it looked the same. The playaction made the defense less likely to fly off the edge because it looked the same as those run plays. The offense would then blend in some max protect concepts to protect the outside, knowing they had good interior protection. If not in max protect they usually had a RB chipping to give some extra support. That kept their QB upright and allowed the OL to play well and to their strengths.

      Compare that to Frost whose OL doesn’t exactly block his core plays that well then adds in new layers. Its not just about WR’s or RB’s getting confused. Our OL is slow and tentative because they don’t have the muscle memory described above.

      1. Yeah I hear ya don’t really disagree with most you said there. But if that’s the case with his OLyou have had 4 years to get the OL to do what you want, and you haven’t done that, so at the end of the day that falls in the coach to figure out how to get them to place or change your play calling to be successful.

        I mean I think there’s a myriad of things that can be to blame, just gave my opinion on something i didn’t think was a strength if his. Bottom line is we’ve had 4 straight losing years so a lot of things aren’t working.

  16. Do you think we are not hiring Helfrich? It just seems that it would be announced soon since he is coaching anywhere or are we trying to make it look like a complete search. Would talking to Chadwell from Coastal Carolina ever be a real possibility? We could double his salary though he has a ton of incentives already built into his contract.

    1. Nah, we could never get a successful FBS head coach to come here and be a coordinator IMO. But Helfrich is a possibility. I did hear there was a bit of a riff when he left Oregon and Helfrich blamed some things on Frost, came with the “more who we want to be now”.

  17. If Frost wants to be CEO, maybe the guy he needs to consult with is Joe Moglia. He was probably the ultimate CEO coach. Trev might have crossed paths with him in Omaha at some time, so maybe there would be a connection?

  18. Ready for something completely different? Hire Mike Thiessen as OC, let him choose his own assistants, and next year, we win with the wingbone! (Scott handles PR, shuts up and takes the credit.)

  19. SSO–did you read A really good break down of the blocked punt and an indictment on the clear lack of attention paid to ST? I found it devastating about coaching and player development? What are your thoughts and where are you on new assistant coaches? thanks, Full Husker ________________________________

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