Scott Frost had seen enough.
Nebraska had two games left in the 2021 campaign, but that didn’t matter. Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick, quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco, running backs coach Ryan Held and offensive line coach Greg Austin had to leave.
Should. It was them or Frost – and Frost still took a pay cut on top of that.
Nebraska, 1-6 at the time in Big Ten play, had lost all of those six matchups by single digits and a total of 35 points.
“We’ve come so close in so many games and it’s hard to think we can keep doing the exact same things and go over the top,” Frost said at the time. “It’s not anyone’s fault, nor the fault of these coaches. Sometimes there has to be a little different voice and small changes that can make a difference.
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“…I really need to trust someone. I will always be involved. It will relieve me a lot and I think it will help me to be better in other areas.”
Eight months later, the offensive coaching staff was reorganized and the workload shifted.
Frost poached Mark Whipple from Pittsburgh after the Panthers’ dominant 11-3 season to lead the Huskers as offensive coordinator. Whipple will also coach quarterbacks and call plays on game days, taking the latter from Frost.
In addition to the Whipple acquisition, Frost hired Mickey Joseph away from LSU to coach wide receivers and act as his No. 2 as the program’s associate head coach. The other two moves: Hiring running backs coach Bryan Applewhite from the TCU and offensive line coach Donovan Raiola from the Chicago Bears.
“There’s been a big hit in our arm in the program with some of the new faces, both as players and as coaches,” Frost said in July. “They bring energy to the team.”
Whipple noted that he didn’t meet any of the other new coaches before they all landed in Lincoln, but that didn’t hinder their progress.
“It’s been a really good fit,” Whipple said in August. “I like guys who have their own style and bring it to the attack.”
Joseph agreed, “We gelled right away. … We’re on the same page when it comes to what we need to do.
The key to that, Joseph said, is having someone like Whipple at the helm of the ship.
Whipple has been in the game for decades, having coached in various capacities at all levels of football over the past 42 years. He has a Super Bowl ring from his coaching tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers and a national championship at the FCS level from his coaching days at UMass.
“The respect factor is already there,” Joseph said. “When you challenge him on something, you have to make sure you have your ducks in line and you know what you’re talking about because he’s seen it all.
“Everyone in this room respects Whip’s resume because he’s been there. But everyone in this room is professional, and we’re here to work. We’re here to work together.
This united front with the offense starts with Frost and Whipple in tandem.
Frost admitted in November that he “wore [himself] kinda thin trying to lead the offense and call the offense,” so he hands the play-calling duties to Whipple. However, Frost doesn’t stray from the game plan; it will be a collaborative effort.
“If I didn’t touch it, I don’t know what I would be doing there,” Frost said in July, noting later that he “didn’t want to be just a figurehead.” I love the game too much and I love the players too much. I will have my hands in everything we do.
It’s been eight months since Frost effectively cleaned out Nebraska’s offensive closet and he hopes the changes will lead to positive change.
Not just for him and his sanity, but also for the program.
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On Twitter @Amie_Just.