AAC Football

The Flight of Coach Frost from UCF to Nebraska

He’s coming “home.”

It was officially announced during the American Athletic Conference Championship that UCF Head Coach Scott Frost was leaving for the University of Nebraska to coach in 2018.  While speculation is still abound, the word as of this posting is that Frost will be on the sidelines during the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1 in Atlanta as the No.10 (AP) Knights battle the No. 7 (AP) Auburn Tigers.

Whether that comes to pass and what happens next is filled with questions.

Why did Scott Frost leave?

This is a legitimate query to pose. The state of Florida is a hotbed of college recruiting talent and as the 2017 AAC Coach of the Year, Frost has brought in a solid crop of players that are contributing starters as underclassmen. While he is obviously losing some talent to graduation such as 2017 All-Conference linebacker Shaquem Griffin, there is a corps there that one may optimistically argue could crack the College Football Playoff ceiling with continued success.

But why would one leave this situation?

While money is usually the answer in the ranks of NCAA Division 1 coaching,  in Frost’s case, it’s the culmination of a dream job.

He won a national championship as a Cornhusker quarterback under his coaching idol Tom Osborne. He and Osborne remain close to this day as Frost got Tom as a keynote speaker at UCF’s kickoff luncheon. On top of that, Scott Frost’s parents reside in the state and will surely provide more support for his wife and infant son.

Sure,  there’s some more cash and he’ll be coaching in a conference where the College Football Playoff committee will be less likely to ignore success, but the main reasons are sentimental.

What does UCF do to move on?

While the Knights’ Athletic Director Danny White was recalcitrant to exude the celebration of winning the AAC championship over lamenting the departure of his sideline general during his press conference a few hours after the announcement, the clock is ticking for White to hire the program’s future. Whether it’s former Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin, UCF’s 2017 Offensive Coordinator and interim Head Coach Troy Walters, or someone else, it’s time to begin the hunt for recruits.

With rising stars at running back in the likes of Adrian  Killins, Jawon Hamilton, and Otis Anderson as well as Mckenzie Milton at quarterback, this could allow them to narrow their focus on particular needs in a reduced recruiting time frame. The big question is how much Frost’s departure may have diverted potential recruits to Nebraska and away from UCF.

What are the chances of success in Husker Nation?

Congratulations on the new job, Coach.  Your reward? You are now facing Urban Meyer of Ohio State, Jim Harbaugh of Michigan and a wealth of schools with prominent coaches and abundant resources.  Not to cheapen victories in the AAC, but it’s a different world with a different brand of football.

Frost may have found plenty of success with a philosophy featuring speed that finds players in space and allows them to produce big plays, but the Big Ten is more about smashmouth football, despite a handful of teams choosing to operate from the spread.

Programs like the PAC 12’s Oregon – where Frost was an offensive coordinator under newly-named UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly – are often smashed into submission by more power-based programs like Stanford  or in Frost’s case with the Big Ten, Wisconsin, Iowa and both programs that reside in the state of Michigan.

Despite this, Frost is undaunted as he sees the opportunity for his mantra to change the landscape of his new conference. Tough as that sounds, one may argue it is less ambitious then leading his previous conference to change the landscape of the Power 5 playoff structure by making the “Power 6” concept more than a marketing campaign for the American Athletic Conference.


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