Nebraska football mailbag: How long until Scott Frost replicates UCF success with Huskers?
Have Nebraska football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Nebraska mailbag to talk all things Huskers. This week, we discuss whether Scott Frost can replicate his UCF success as quickly with Nebraska, Nick Gates declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft and more.
Do you think Frost can have as quick of success here? Or does UCF just have a very talented group of players and Frost just got lucky to coach them?
— Edub (@ewoocky) January 2, 2018
I touched a bit on this after the Peach Bowl, but I believe Frost and his UCF team gave Nebraska fans a glimpse of what could be in Lincoln. Will it be immediate? Of course not, but as Land of 10’s Sean Keeler put it — fans should expect championships.
However, I believe some improvements will be seen very quickly. As you noted, UCF has a very talented team but Nebraska has talent, too. In many cases this season, it just seemed as if key talent wasn’t being developed properly. I hope to see that change quickly under Frost.
And another key for Frost at Nebraska will be making football fun again. That was a major focus when he arrived at UCF, where he found a bunch of talented players not enjoying playing the game. That had to change, and he made it happen. He’ll put a similar focus into Nebraska football.
There’s something to be said when players enjoy what they’re doing. It’s about creating a winning culture in a program, even if the team is not winning every game. That’s what Frost and his staff did at UCF, and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander spoke about it in Atlanta. The UCF culture felt like an 0-12 team when the staff arrived, but the talent did not.
I feel the same way about Nebraska. The 2017 Huskers were more talented than their 4-8 record. If Frost and his staff can make football fun again, you’ll see the success follow. It may be hard to duplicate exactly what UCF did and in the same time frame, but no doubt they’re going to try.
We know the team will look/act a lot different next year; but which position group do you think we’ll see the most dramatic improvement from?
— Sal Vasta (@Sal_Vasta3) January 2, 2018
I hope we see a big improvement from the offensive line. I sort of sound like a broken record because the offensive line has been my talking point for probably a year now, but it’s an important position group.
Against Auburn, UCF’s offensive line was impressive. So much so, I couldn’t help but make a quick note about the group when discussing the success of the quarterback for the Knights. The offensive line created opportunities and pockets for UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton to throw and also scramble out of some trouble against the Tigers, and it was fun to watch.
With players such as Brenden Jaimes and Matt Farniok on the line, I hope Frost’s staff can make them shine. Looking at what they did against Auburn with UCF, though? I feel good about them making that happen.
I support Nebraska win or lose! I support our players 100%. I will never begrudge a player for going pro. Pro Football careers are so short. Best of luck Nick Gates, don’t you think he could of used another year with better coaching?
— Rob & Lori Files (@rflf092303) January 2, 2018
I would have liked to have seen offensive tackle Nick Gates stick around for a year to develop with Frost and his staff. However, Gates was facing his third head coach during his Nebraska career. He started with Bo Pelini, spent a good majority of his career with Mike Riley, and then would have ended with Frost. That’s a lot for any one player, especially when you’re looking at how offenses change from coach to coach.
I hesitate to be too critical of Gates’ decision, because who am I to tell a player what is or is not right for him? He has a dream, and he wants to chase it. I wish nothing but the best for him.
Who do you think will start at QB in 2018?
— Sal Vasta (@Sal_Vasta3) January 2, 2018
I’m not ready to make a final prediction, but I’ll narrow it down to two. I think the competition will be between redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and freshman Adrian Martinez.
What would that mean for sophomore Patrick O’Brien? I’m not sure, but he could surprise me this spring. I think Gebbia has a little more potential to become the dual-threat quarterback Frost’s offense needs, but O’Brien has shown a willingness and ability to run, too.
Regardless of what happens, it will be an interesting offseason.
If you could be a mascot for a day, which mascot would you be?
— Christine Carter (@91ChrisCarter) January 2, 2018
The Oregon Duck or the Kansas Jayhawk. I love both of those mascots.
Now, if the question is what mascot I’d spend a day with, it would be any program with a live dog. Georgia, Texas A&M, Yale, you name it. If you have a dog, I’m there.
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