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Nugent: Huskers find middle ground as Scott Frost potentially passes on $8.5 million

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 8:56 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Remember when 9-3 led to the firing of head coaches at Nebraska. Flip those numbers, there’s a realistic chance 3-9 in 2021 is actually good enough to stick around. That is if the head coach is from Nebraska, one who has a good relationship with the athletic director, and one who won a national championship as a quarterback.

In many cases, 3-9 yes at Nebraska is a deal-breaker, but this is different. In addition to Scott’s background, the fanbase is tired of the turnover and part of the attraction of Frost was the patience he would be offered if things didn’t go well. That has been tested and with a restructured contract he is coming back, potentially passing up on $8.5 million next year if it ends up being his final year.

Even though there are enough positives from the team this season for those who made this decision, there are also enough negatives that changes have to happen. Despite losing six games by one possession, it doesn’t feel like they are truly that close. The Huskers did score the last in four of those six games. Those were two-possession games turned into one-possession games, they weren’t toss-up situations.

That leads to the second big piece of the day, Frost parting ways with four men who he’s coached with for several years, at other places beyond Nebraska. There’s a relationship there, also a track record with Offensive coordinator/wide receivers Coach Matt Lubick, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Greg Austin, Running Backs Coach Ryan Held and Quarterbacks Coach Mario Verduzco. For the first time, he has had to cut professional ties with these men.

“I appreciate the work and sacrifices these men have made for the University of Nebraska and this football program and wish all of them well,” Frost said. “They are all men of outstanding character and good coaches, but as we strive for better consistency and execution, we needed fresh ideas and voices on our offensive staff.”

The decision to make staff changes and restructure the head coach’s contract feels like middle ground. Acknowledging what we all saw for the fourth year is not good enough, yet not dismissing the team’s growth and challenging schedule in 2021.

In many ways we’re onto next season right now, the coaches who remain will recruit this week and there are openings to fill for a team that needs to improve far faster than it did last offseason.

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