Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, until flattery starts kicking your tailpipe. It wasn’t so much that Cornhuskers football slipped as the fact everybody else started to get wise, started catching up on the things that made Nebraska Nebraska. Weight rooms the size of outlet malls. Year-round strength training. Waves of eager walk-ons. Academic supports.
Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and Boyd Epley kept the Big Red ahead of the curve and three steps ahead of the posse for what felt like forever, until forever hit a wall. The explosion of television dollars and television windows, combined with the reduction of scholarships, meant the lords of college football had to work smarter to keep their distance from serfs newly flush with FOX or ESPN cash. When Nebraska stopped pushing the envelope, it stopped pushing people around.
Which underscores, as much as anything, why the Big Red’s Class of 2019 so closely resembles the first three rows at the Indianapolis 500:
- Luke McCaffrey’s 40-yard dash: 4.5.
- Ronald Thompkins: 4.5.
- Rahmir Johnson: 4.5.
- Thomas Grayson: 4.45.
Danny White on Scott Frost: “Scott is a winner and innovator.” https://t.co/G0DONGJLSP
— CoachingSearch.com (@coachingsearch) December 1, 2015
Innovator. You see where this is going, don’t you?
Rabbits and greyhounds everywhere, bounding and sprinting to daylight. Fifty-three yards and a cloud of cork.
The only limits are Scott Frost’s imagination and Tyjon Lindsey’s gearbox.
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) April 21, 2018
“I feel the offense could come along very well,” noted Lindsey, the Big Red’s sophomore slot receiver/scatback, after the spring game. “When they were running this offense in Oregon, you saw the types of numbers they put up.”
- Frost as Ducks offensive coordinator in 2013: 45.5 points per game.
- Frost as Ducks offensive coordinator in 2014: 45.4 points per game.
- Frost as Ducks offensive coordinator in 2015: 43.0 points per game.
It’s more than a foundation. It’s a vision. Oregon East. UCF North. Weaponized speed gives you enough space to be creative, enough courage to innovate, enough rope to take risks. It’s also an easy sell on the recruiting trail to a generation of kids who’ve become used to getting what they want right now, including points.
Agree but Scott Frost is in the discussion. I want this type of RPO based offense at OSU for Haskins. Would love to see more 12/21 personnel with Ruckert and the other TEs too. So hard to matchup/defend.
— Brian Weaver (@BuckeyeBWeav) January 2, 2018
Weaponized speed means anything’s possible. At any position. At any damn time.
“You’ve got to know everything,” tight end Austin Allen said recently. “And they’ve got us going pretty well, I guess, at knowing our stuff. Because at any moment, [Frost] can say, ‘Get in there at R,’ and ‘Allen, get in there at Y.’ And you’ve got to know both.
“I guess that’s what this offense is based on: People coming and [making] plays. It takes all 11 of us. But ultimately, you’ve got to go out there and make plays.”
You’ve got to put the fear of God into the guy across the line of scrimmage. You’ve got to put your defender on the back foot. You’ve got to crush the man’s soul, one stride at a time.
Although, we’ve got to admit, No. 2 below looks quicker than that up close.
A hell of a lot quicker.
I’ve seen this a few times during his days at CW and I’m getting around to watching the Nebraska football spring scrimmage, here’s Adrian Martinez’s first drive and TD run. First of many to be sure. @MatLoggins @CW__football pic.twitter.com/sTqDmsJQos
— Paul Meadors (@paulmeadors) April 21, 2018
“The quarterbacks were fast,” defensive lineman DaiShon Neal said with a grin after the spring game, “but Adrian is fast.”
You can’t beat what you can’t catch. And Frost knows that better than anybody.