Nebraska football: Scott Frost's comments following Iowa loss should've been kept in-house
Sometimes, it’s just better to keep stuff in-house.
Following Nebraska’s close 26-20 loss to Iowa on Friday, Huskers coach Scott Frost held his mandatory presser. He said things like he was proud to coach the team, which fought its butt off against a solid foe.
That was true. Nebraska came to play on Black Friday. The defense stood tall against the Hawkeyes offensive line and held the rushing attack in check. Quarterback Adrian Martinez looked rejuvenated and completed passes downfield. Backup quarterback Luke McCaffrey probably solidified his role as a Wildcat quarterback who will come in here and there for some designed runs, which he’s really good at.
Frost said the team needs to get better at the little things if it wants to win games. That’s true, too. Cam Taylor-Britt, a junior and a team leader who has seen a lot of action in a Husker uniform, couldn’t catch a punt after the Huskers forced a 3-and-out in the 4th quarter. Iowa fell on the muff and turned it into a field goal. There was a holding penalty that brought back a long Martinez run in the 4th. There were punts that didn’t go where they should have, giving Iowa’s better special teams units opportunities for returns, which meant better field position all day.
Those are a couple of things that you want to hear your head coach say into a mic. But excuses and back-in-my-day talk? Keep that in-house.
Excuses about what, you ask? The inaccurate snaps from sophomore center Cam Jurgens, of course. Frost said, “There was clapping going on on (Iowa’s) sideline. Cam heard that clap and thought it was the quarterback clapping. We discussed it with officials, and it didn’t happen in the 2nd half.”
Everyone has seen the video that made the rounds on Twitter on Friday. Yeah, there’s a coach on Iowa’s sideline who may or may not have been intentionally trying to mess with Jurgens.
The physical execution was bad. But the early snap into 2AM that no one was ready for could be explained by the Iowa coach simulating a snap (clap) before the play. Check the coach out by graphic. @damonbenning pic.twitter.com/2dKdwAKoKy
— Steve Selk (@stevenselk) November 27, 2020
Whether or not you think Iowa’s sideline had anything to do with Jurgens’ snapping issues, Frost shouldn’t have said what he said for all to hear. Keep that stuff internal. Go off on Iowa’s coaches behind closed doors if you like. But don’t tell the media/fans what you really think. It sounded like an excuse, and it was easy ammo for Kirk Ferentz to defend his guys with.
This is as animated as you'll see Kirk Ferentz get. He was having no part of Scott Frost's accusations that the #Hawkeyes sideline was clapping to throw off #Huskers center Cam Jurgens. Still not a rivalry huh?? pic.twitter.com/RgmfsNV6Ht
— Adam Krueger (@AdamKruegerTV) November 28, 2020
Let’s keep in mind that this wasn’t the 1st time Jurgens has had snap issues. Last year, when he started as a redshirt freshman, his snaps went to the feet, to the sides and above his quarterbacks’ heads. Maybe it impacted timing, but it’s hard to believe false clapping affected where the ball was located on Friday.
From the outside, it’s easy to pile on Jurgens. But it’d be good to remember this kid is in a difficult situation. He wasn’t recruited to be a center. Frost turned him into one. He never played the position in high school — he was a 4-star tight end — and all of a sudden he was starting against Big Ten defensive linemen to start his career. That’s a tough spot to be in for an in-state guy many across the state respect.
Frost wasn’t done speaking his mind after clap-gate, though. When asked how he’ll go about fixing the little issues that keep happening in games, Frost talked discipline and how things were in the mid 1990s, when he played.
“When somebody was late to a workout when I was in school, it never got to Coach (Tom) Osborne because JP (Jason Peter) and Grant (Wistrom) would take care of it,” Frost said.
Yes, the Huskers teams of the mid ’90s were some of the best in the history of college football. Osborne is a legend. Those teams put Nebraska on the map and should always be remembered for how great they were and what they accomplished.
Frost bringing up the ’90s in a presser is one thing — it’s probably music to the ears of traditional Huskers fans who lived through that era and want so desperately to return to that level of relevancy. But it’s another if Frost is using that as a motivational tactic with his current players, some of whom weren’t alive when Frost was playing and don’t care about how good the program was in 1994, 1995 and 1997.
We’ve all been teenagers and 20-somethings. Each of us can remember rolling our eyes when those in leadership positions — parents, teachers, whoever — talked about how things were “back in my day.”
College football has changed since the ’90s. It’s not a stretch to say that so, too, have ways of creating discipline in a football program. The challenge is finding them and adapting. Frost has a vision of what he wants this program to be, and he’s going to do it his way and not change to appease anyone, especially fans with Twitter accounts.
But most of the college football world probably got a good laugh out of Nebraska on Friday because of the clap situation and Ferentz’s ensuing rant. Frost obviously doesn’t care about that, but he also played into the national narrative that Huskers fans continue to live in the past and boast about championships that were won in the ’90s.
It’s Frost’s show, and he’s going to run the program how he wants to run the program. But it might be worth his while to keep some of the stuff on his mind in-house, and away from the mic.