CHICAGO – First-year Nebraska football coach Scott Frost likes to go hunting and fishing with his former coach, Cornhuskers legend Tom Osborne.
Nebraska fans hope he’s the coach they’ve been hunting for ever since Osborne retired after his 1997 team won a national championship with Frost at quarterback.
Osborne’s teams also won national titles in 1994 and 1995 and Nebraska was national champion in 1970 and 1971. But the Cornhuskers haven’t been relevant on the national scene since playing in the BCS championship game in the 2001 season.
Frank Solich, Bill Callahan, Bo Pelini and Mike Riley all came up short of the expectations those five national championships created.
As a former Nebraska player after being a high school legend in Wood River, Neb., knows what he’s getting into.
“We’re carrying the whole state of Nebraska on our shoulders but you can’t think about that. We’ve just got to keep our head down and do the best we can. We know we’re carrying the hopes and mantels of a lot of Nebraskans and we’re going to do the best we can with it,” he said Monday at day one of the Big Ten football media days.
Frost is coming off an undefeated season last year at Central Florida. He was Marcus Mariota’s offensive coordinator at Oregon and has made a quick climb up the coaching ladder.
“Nebraska, historically, belongs in the upper echelon of college football. It hasn’t really been accomplishing things to that degree for a while, certainly not to the degree that the people in Nebraska and the people of the university want it to. I’m just excited to start the
process of getting Nebraska back where it belongs,” Frost said.
He acknowledged that Nebraska has to reintroduce itself to a very important audience – elite level recruits.
“When I sit in my office with recruits, in this first recruiting cycle, the parents all remember Nebraska as Nebraska. A lot of the kids don’t remember that. It’s our job to change that. It’s our job to make sure that the new generation remembers Nebraska for what it is
and what it should be, and we’re in the process of making sure that the kids that we’re going to recruit going forward see Nebraska as one of the top programs in the country,” he said.
It might be a stretch to say Frost was destined to be Nebraska’s coach but coaching somewhere was probably his destiny.
His father Larry was his high school football coach and his mother Carol, a former Olympic shot putter who once was Nebraska’s track coach, was the wide receivers coach for his high school team.
But the biggest influence on his career choice and his decision to bring that career to Nebraska might have been Osborne.
“Coach Osborne is my hero in this sport, in this business. When people ask me about
him, I always tell people that he was a Hall of Fame coach, but aside from that, he’s probably the best man that I know. Because of who he was and how he ran our program, every single one of us would have run through a wall for him,” Frost said.
“We keep in touch with him to this day. Coach is in the office probably about once a week, or else I’m out turkey hunting or fishing with him. Having that resource to be able to draw wisdom from is really invaluable to me. And I look forward to bouncing ideas off of him and getting advice from him wherever I can,” he said