When Riley was let go and we hired Frost from UCF, there was a ton of talk about how there was a losing culture in the program. In fact, fans and media took is so far to say that it was going to take a few years to get rid of the “losing Riley culture” and Frost should be allowed time to do it. While there definitely was a culture shift that needed to change, it wasn’t as bad as needing past 2019 to fix it. If you were one of the people that said that about Riley, you now have it actually verified for what Frost has left us with. While it was used as an excuse for Frost and his staff, it’s very real at this point with the 2022 team. Again, while people were stating that as fact back in 2018, 2019, and 2020, it was never verbalized as an actual issue.
I just had never seen things like this verbalized by our team before. And even before that after the Northwestern loss, you could see players like Garrett Nelson who is as great of a leader as we have on this team just look absolutely deflated. You had first year players like Casey Thompson talking about how “this is just one game” and “we will bounce back”. The first year guys were the ones trying to direct the narrative and change the mindset.
The new coach is going to have to purge the roster in my opinion, and do a complete overhaul getting new guys in looking for a fresh chance and eradicate the culture that has been created in the lockerroom. And the new coach will have the power of a “flip quick” tool called The Transfer Portal. But what does that look like?
We will start with Greg Schiano at Rutgers, who in 2020 added 10 transfers to his program and got the Scarlet Knights to their first bowl game since 2016 in his second year of 2021. It happened year 2 for him.
Mel Tucker is another recent example we have used to talk about just how quickly it can change. In his first season at Michigan State, the Spartans went 2-5 and Tucker saw a ton of gaps with his roster. Before the 2021 season, they hit the portal hard and brought in 20 new transfer players to the football program. The results were almost immediate, while Sparty hosted a college gameday game, was in the top 10, and went 11-2.
The last thing i’ll go over that really bothers me is when people would tell me “you have to keep Coach X to preserve the recruiting class.” Head coaching hires are bigger than one recruiting class. Further, with the transfer portal it’s even less important. I still remember the other site where someone told me we had to keep Riley because Keyshawn Johnson said the entire class would leave if we fired him. It doesn’t matter, especially with the transfer portal.
Gary Sharp’s Question
To go along with the new coach thoughts, a topic was on the radio today that sparked some good discussion. He asked who is the most important to keep that could come back next year between Casey Thompson, Trey Palmer, and Garrett Nelson. Most people said one of the first two. I understand, and I also think those guys are the most talented of the 3. But with the transfer portal, QBs and WRs are easy to replace. Hang with me here…
DL/LBs are very tough to go just grab in the portal. Remember when I got in a Twitter argument with someone that said Ochaun Mathis is a sure fire first round draft pick and you take him every day of the week? For the most part he’s been pretty quiet on the field this week. So if you can keep a guy like Nelson, you set him as priority #1 with your NIL.
Further, Nebraska has a very good track record with WRs, finding a difference maker there is easy, so while I believe Palmer may be the most talented, he’s probably the easiest to replace.
Lastly, with Thompson, who knows if that guy even fits the offense the new coach will be using. I also think it’s very important for a head coach to have “his guy”. With us almost assuredly going new OC, that guy surely has QBs he can bring in. While I think our QB room is a complete dumpster fire, you can fix it pretty fast between the portal, JUCO, and your recruiting. It’s not difficult to find a QB that can come in and play year 1 for you.
For me, the answer is simple and you keep Nelson who has led your team in sacks the last two years. I’m not worried about replacing Palmer, and I want the new coach to have his QB that can be done easily in the portal, JUCO, or even recruiting class.
Join us Wednesday when we go over what the coach needs to do on the field first thing