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Huskers searching for buy-in after disappointing start

Scott Frost left searching for buy-in after being routed by Michigan

In early 2016 Scott Frost left the safety of his offensive coordinator position at Oregon and took his first head coaching job at a winless UCF.  The Golden Knights went all of 2015 without a win on the football field, posting an abysmal 0-12 record the year before.

Shortly after taking over and beginning a remarkable two-year turnaround at UCF, coach Frost was interviewed by Daniel Uthman of USA Today and had a lot of interesting things to say about his football team and coaching philosophies.  One of those messages is similar to what Nebraska fans have been hearing around Lincoln after three consecutive losses to start the season.

“You’ve got to learn how to win,” he told Uthman. “Guys have got to believe that they can get it done. We still have a ways to go with that.”

One of the key differences between his squad at UCF and Nebraska is the idea of players completely buying in.  Going winless in 2015, UCF players didn’t have anything to lose by trusting Frost and his staff.

“These guys, I couldn’t believe it, they bought in immediately. They did everything we asked them to do. I was surprised at that, now our execution within that pace needs to get a lot better, but that will come.”

Sound familiar?

The messaging from Frost’s time at UCF has been similar to his messaging at Nebraska and after the cracks in the Huskers psyche started to show the last few weeks, the truth behind where the team was at mentally finally came out.

Everyone has been there in their personal lives. It’s the idea of something sounding really good but at the end of the day having to do the work and listening to someone else you figure that ultimately, you know what’s best.

After three disappointing losses in a row, Frost and leaders on the team have made it clear that it’s time for guys to either buy in and jump on the boat or move out of the way as the boat goes by.

Huskers senior offensive lineman Tanner Farmer

“The way I look at is that you’re always going to have some guys on the team that resist buying in. This coaching staff has set a precedent of what they want, what they expect and we have a good group of guys who are leading the way and setting the standards. But, you always have a few guys that just aren’t quite buying in and that can be the difference between winning and losing games by a few points.” Senior offensive lineman Tanner Farmer told reporters after the Colorado loss.

All is not lost for the Big Red and Frost was open and honest with his evaluation of his team in his postgame press conferences noting that change doesn’t happen overnight. Matching up against a program like Michigan versus a first-year staff that doesn’t have its players, schemes, and back-end processes completely in place was something that Frost knew could be a big disadvantage.

Frost is also smart enough to point to Harbaugh and his Michigan team as an example of what the end result can look like when you have the proper time to put it all together.

“I think our whole team needs to see what it looks like, right now, to play at that level today, because we weren’t ready to play at that level today.”

There is still a lot of seasons left for the Huskers to improve and for players to get on the boat as it works its way towards its ultimate destination.

And if players won’t get on board?

“The only ones we lose are the ones we never really had and that’s probably better in the long run. If there are guys that jump off the ship then we never really had them and the guys were actually going to win with and win championships with, would never do that. Inevitably that’s going to happen, the wrong type of people are going to jump off if they’re having the results they want and that’s healthy for a team.”

Outside of guys getting off the boat that don’t want to be on board, Frost knows that things still need to change and Saturday’s whooping and isn’t lost on him as the Huskers couldn’t even run their most basic plays.

“These are watershed moments, we got our butt whipped. Guys are either going to have to figure out how to work hard and get it fixed or we will move on to the next guy,” Frost said after this weekends 56-10 loss.

It will be interesting to see Frost will make good on his promise to move on from players who aren’t completely buying in or if he will continue to give his players a long leash as the season goes along.

Coach Frost may have said it best after the loss when he told reporters:

“We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting a different result than this. Now I think we have a good enough team to be in a lot of games this year and win a lot of games this year but we have to execute better and practice better. Guys are either going to have to figure it out or we are going to have to get some guys that want it.”

Only time will tell whether Frost will get that buy-in from his team this season or if the Huskers will be left searching for it.

At this point, buy-in may and commitment may not be the only things Frost needs to get out of his team. Cleaning things up on the field and walking away with a few wins could go a long way in re-shaping the outcome of his team’s season.


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