In an appearance on ESPN's "Golic and Wingo" radio show Friday morning, new Nebraska coach Scott Frost said he and his staff are not yet locked into coaching Central Florida in the Peach Bowl but expects details to be sorted out "today, tomorrow, this weekend."
Frost said coaches will travel back to Orlando next week for three practices, which would have been their plan had they remained with UCF following a 12-0 season and American Athletic Conference title. The team would have taken this week off anyway, Frost added, considering it played 12 straight weeks when Hurricane Irma forced it to restructure its schedule in September.
"We wanna do it," Frost said of coaching UCF against Auburn in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Day. "We just gotta make sure both sides are OK with it and we can work it out. It's touchy and there's no good way to break up. A lot of our staff is up here in Nebraska recruiting already and our kids are down there and they're hiring new staff and there's new people in my office. We just gotta make sure all those things will work out."
Frost also agreed with co-host Mike Golic that UCF reached a "glass ceiling" with regards to the College Football Playoff rankings. It was not lost on him, for example, that the Knights were passed over by two-loss squads like Washington and Washington State and a three-loss Stanford, even as his Group of Five program continued to win convincingly.
UCF is 12th in the final CFP rankings and is the only unbeaten FBS school remaining this season.
"I think, to be honest with you, I think the glass ceiling was put there intentionally," Frost said. "It was apparent to me that every single week the committee made a decision, 'We have to keep them at a certain place in the rankings so that we don't run into the trouble of having to move them up if people ahead of them lose.' And every week, a new two-loss team or a new three-loss team was moved ahead of us.
" ... I think a lot of assumptions were made. And to answer your question, I really think if it was an eight-team playoff, we might be No. 6 or 7, UCF might be No. 6 or 7. Because at that point, the committee might say, 'OK, now that there's eight teams, it's OK to have a Group of Five team in.'"
Frost touched on a variety of other topics during his 11-minute interview. A few highlights:
>> Frost was asked to choose what excited him most between winning a national title at Nebraska in 1997, going 12-0 this season with UCF or the Cubs winning the World Series last year. He said it was the birth of his son last month, calling it "the most special thing that could ever happen to a guy."
>> Over the last month, the priority for Frost has been to his UCF players first and his coaching staff second. When he chose to come to Nebraska, he said he wanted to give each of his fellow coaches the chance to follow him.
"I watch a lot of other coaches take the next step and get jobs and they leave people behind," Frost said. "And they say, 'You were good enough to help me win there but you're not good enough help me win at my next one.' Like I said, my priority was the (UCF) players first and then making sure that my staff that helped us be 12-0 was taken care of."
>> Frost said there are "a lot of messages" he wants to send to current Nebraska players. Chief among them are that the team will have fun, but will work harder than anyone on the field and in the weight room.
"I don't want to make it about me, I don't want to make it about the past," Frost said. "It's about these kids, it's about the here and now. But I want our players to know there are standards at Nebraska that we're going to expect and the people here expect. And we're going to have a tough team, we're going to have a physical team.
>> Golic inadvertently called Frost the "new coach at Alabama," between questions. Frost quickly responded, "Alabama?" before Golic corrected himself with a laugh and moved on.
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Chris Kelsay, DE, 1999-02
"He knows how special this place is. Previous coaches were not aware of how special and important Nebraska football is to the state. Having grown up here and played here and seeing what he's done down in Florida in just a couple years, it's pretty exciting the opportunity that awaits him here. Anybody that grew up in Nebraska and played in Nebraska, it means a little bit more to those guys."
Dan Alexander, IB, 1997-2000
"I think it's awesome. He's probably the smartest quarterback I've ever worked with. He definitely knows how to run a team. From a leadership standpoint, from somebody who got in a huddle and made a team around him better, I think he's the best quarterback I worked with. I just know what kind of guy he is, what he can do with a team, what he could bring in as a coach."
Danny Noonan, MG, 1984-86
"I don't see how you couldn't hire Scott to come back. After all the things that have happened the last 20 years ... I don't see how you can't hire Scott. And Nebraska is going to give Scott more rope than anybody else, OK? Obviously we're going to pay him, what he wants for however long he wants. He's a hot commodity now, a huge commodity now, and I think he'll be an outstanding hire."
"Hiring Scott Frost is actually what this program needs. We have lost our identity, toughness, and more importantly our culture. Scott will understand what this place is all about and how hard you have to work to be successful on Saturdays. We were all so fortunate to play for Coach Osborne and his staff. Scott will be a reflection of that and bring his leadership and direction to the program. This is much-needed. Good luck Scott Frost and welcome home!!"
Erik Wiegert, OT, 1989-91
"Scott is six years younger than me so I don't know him personally, but he obviously has a great understanding of the Cornhusker traditions and culture that were so successful for so many years. He seems to have a rare natural ability to motivate and teach young men. I think he'll be very successful. The ex-players I know were all thrilled that he might be coming to Nebraska."
"If he can approach his mentor's level of performance, we'll be great (laughs). It's hard for me to speak for the guys in the '90s who knew him, but I hope they're real excited. I was pretty much a Riley guy until probably the Minnesota game, and then I gave up, but I don't think they realize how bad of shape Bo left us in, both psychologically and otherwise. I'm also of the opinion it will take five, six, seven years if you really want to turn it around. But I'm like everyone else, I hope he's the right guy."
"Obviously it's important to get a former player in here that understands the program, understands what the culture needs to be and understands how special a place Lincoln is and Nebraska is. It's huge. I'm excited again about this football program with him coming in here. I think the energy and the boost of swagger or confidence that he brings is what this program needs. The program is kind of dry right now, not a lot of enthusiasm. It's dead right now and it needs a boost of energy, and I think that's what Scott will bring."
Mickey Joseph, QB, 1988-91
"I think that you're getting somebody who understands the culture, and you got to understand the culture there because it's different than around the nation. It's a great fan base that's really going to support you. The football hasn't been what it's needed to be the last few years, but the fans are still there, and Scott's gonna understand that culture. I can't speak for him, but I'm sure he's got a plan to get it done up there."
"I love seeing Scott Frost be our next head coach for the University of Nebraska. We can get back to our winning ways and tradition. It will be a great opportunity for him and his family."
"If Scott understands that Nebraska is arguably the toughest recruiting sell in college football, if he understands that he's not going to get many four- to five-star athletes — it gets cold here and those fancy-schmancy warm-weather kids struggle when they have to play in temperatures below 40 degrees — and if he understands that he needs to develop two- and three-star athletes into four- and five-star players, things will go well for him."
"Scott Frost represents the University of Nebraska's best hope toward returning its football program to its former greatness. For 40 years, Nebraska was the most consistently successful college football program in the country, and it didn't attain that status by accident. It did several things distinctively: It cultivated a deep walk-on program, it embraced a physical style of play, it maintained high ethical standards and it prized a culture of hard work ... everyday. While there may be others who qualify as top-notch college coaches, Scott Frost has shown that he not only qualifies as a coach, he has shown that he actually embodies the unique qualities that are requisite to success at Nebraska."
Willie Harper, DE, 1970-72
"From coaches that I know who have coached with him, they — and I myself — have nothing but great things to say about him. He's one of the smartest coaches that they've been around. I spoke with him some years ago and I was totally sold and confident with him. He knows both sides of the ball inside and out. He relates to the players, and they all love him as a person. He is a great teacher in the classroom and can demonstrate what he is coaching on the field. This is time for Nebraska to start raising up its own, who know, understand and can breathe Husker culture."
"Scott coming home is awesome. Finally someone that has Nebraska DNA, that obviously knows what we as alumni and Nebraskans need to succeed — work ethic and the right mix of young men. We have to have patience, though, because he has to change the culture back to what we all know and love."
Jerry Murtaugh, LB, 1968-70
"What I think it might mean, not that he can do it, but he's proven himself, he has the record, he knows Nebraska, he's been through all this. So when he does come back, you surround him with great people — meaning a coaching staff — you pay him, you give him a minimum of five years without firing him, and let him do his job. And then we'll go from there."
Jamel Williams, LB, 1994-96
"It's going to help bring back the roots of Nebraska. Even though you can be a great coach, people come in here and don't know the magnitude of how different it is — the hype, what it's all about, how crazy it is — until they leave. When you come in you just think you can handle it or think you may know, but you don't until you're out the door and on the outside looking in. I think somebody coming in here, who knows what's going on, is huge for the program and the state."
"Welcome home, Scott. Congratulations on a great season. All us ex-Huskers are extremely excited. Husker tradition needs a Husker to lead us back to the glory days. Walk-ons, Blackshirts and the greatest fan base in America will help you and your staff get us back to national prominence once again."
"Scott's an ex-ballplayer so people know who he is and maybe he can do something recent coaches haven't been able to do. We're Nebraska, we're used to winning, and right now we're not winning."
Johnny Rodgers, WB, 1970-72
"Scott Frost left Nebraska as a star and he has come back to be a legend. He has the backing now of all Husker Nation. With a new AD with an upbeat attitude, Scott with his score-big-or-go-home attitude, teamed up with die-hard Husker fans, we are positioned to take over the Big Ten and the national championship in as soon as three to four years. We can get this done now, but it's gonna take everything and everyone we've got."
Adam Carriker, DE, 2003-06
"Husker Nation, we got our guy. He’s a successful coach, who is also a Nebraska guy that understands what Nebraska is all about. He has what it takes to get the Huskers back on top. It will take time to build this back up the right way and we need to support Scott and his staff along the way. We all have the same goal: To win football games, championships and represent Nebraska as not only a great football program, but as the the great state that it truly is."
Dave Rimington, C, 1979-82
“Very happy about Scott coming home. The future is bright and I’m confident that given time he can take us to places our program hasn’t seen in a long time.”