Listen: What's next for Husker football in the post-Frost era

Sept. 12, 2022, 5 a.m. ·

Inside Memorial Stadium, Scott Frost and Trev Alberts speak with the media. Frost has his arms crossed on the left, while Alberts explains the situation to a reporter and is standing on the right.
Former Nebraska head coach Scott Frost and athletic director Trev Alberts speaking with the media. (Photo by Aaron Bonderson, Nebraska Public Media News)

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Nebraska’s head football coach is out. On Sunday, University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic director Trev Alberts fired Scott Frost in his fifth season with the Huskers. Nebraska Public Media reporters Will Bauer and Aaron Bonderson speak with Jackie Ourada about what led up to Frost’s departure and what’s next for the program. This conversation has been edited for clarity.

Jackie Ourada: Aaron, let's start with the announcement at Memorial Stadium on Sunday. How was athletic director Trev Alberts' demeanor on this decision?

Aaron Bonderson: He was very direct. He said that Frost's record at Nebraska simply wasn't up to par.

Trev Alberts: At the end of the day, there has to be accountability. When you run a professional organization that has high standards, accountability has to matter. And Scott and I talked about this very clearly: 16-31, obviously, was not at a level that was acceptable to us.

Bonderson: Alberts wouldn't answer your questions that reflected on Frost's time other than the coach's record, saying it wouldn't be fair to the former coach. Frost didn't speak at the news conference and neither did interim head coach Mickey Joseph, who's now the first Black head coach in the athletic department's more than 130 years of existence. Overall, it seemed Alberts wanted to look forward as much as possible. He said the Husker players deserve a chance to produce under a different perspective, leading the program and emphasized that Mickey Joseph will have full rein on all the decisions. Alberts said there's going to be a national search and that Joseph will have a chance to get the job as well.

Ourada: Will, many people celebrated Frost coming to Nebraska just five years ago. They held on hope, and it just never seemed to stick. What can we take away from Frost's legacy here at his alma mater?

Bauer: It definitely didn't turn out to be what anyone thought it was going to be. And at that time, the hype was real back in late 2017. He was the perfect fit on paper. He was hired from the University of Central Florida, where he took a winless team to a lossless team in less than two years. Some argued that they should have played for a college football playoff in his final year. And before then, Frost was the offensive coordinator at Oregon University. In 3 years running the offense there, the Ducks set records. They played for a national championship in 2014. And being a Nebraska quarterback – the quarterback on the 1997 national championship team – Frost was about as good of a candidate as there could be for this head coaching position. Then athletic director Bill Moos described the former coach this way at Frost's introductory press conference.

Bill Moos: He is, in my opinion, not only the premier young coach in America, I believe he was everybody's first choice. And I got the pick of the litter. We got the pick of the litter.

Bauer: As you know, the hype and execution didn't come together. There were moments that gave some people hope. Last year, Nebraska was 3-9. Not a good record, but many of those games were close. They came down to one play or one mistake. Over time, those mistakes and Frost shooting himself in the foot got to be too much. And that's where we are today. Like Aaron said, enough was enough for Trev Alberts. Overall, Frost lost more than any coach in Nebraska's recent history. And he had time too. Many coaches don't get more than four years to establish themselves. To put this in perspective: Bo Pelini had 7 years, and he was fired for winning nine games a season. Frank Solich was in a really similar situation. Nebraska, of course, they have quite this legacy. For this fan base, to see Scott frost and the team struggled, it was painful.

Ourada: Aaron, back to you. Alberts said Mickey Joseph will be taking the reins as interim head coach. What can we expect going forward?

Bonderson: The former associate head coach does not get an easy start. The No. 6 ranked Oklahoma Sooners are coming to town Saturday.

Mickey Joseph. headshot
Mickey Joseph (Courtesy Husker Athletics)

However, what Alberts did say is that Joseph has an energetic and infectious attitude. The athletic director said he didn't know what Joseph's plans exactly were to change the program, but that he was going to be fully supportive of those decisions. The former Husker quarterback – in Joseph that is – played in the late 80s and early 90s. As an assistant coach at LSU, had success recruiting and was coach on a team that won a national championship in 2019 at that school. Joseph's brother, Vance, coached the Denver Broncos for two years, so coaching is definitely in his blood. And of course, it's crazy to say that after 130 years of Nebraska athletics that Mickey Joseph is indeed the first Black head coach for any of its 22 varsity sports.