The retirement of Bill Moos doesn't change the pressure or expectations Scott Frost faces in 2021
Not long after the sudden news that Bill Moos was stepping down as the athletic director at Nebraska, the focus began shifting to Scott Frost. Entering his fourth season leading the Huskers, the perception is that the 2021 season has become a do-or-die situation in terms of job security.
Quite honestly, Friday’s news about Moos didn’t change much regarding Frost’s situation.
Yes, Moos was the guy who brought Frost back home. After leading UCF to an AAC title, an undefeated season and a berth in the Peach Bowl in 2017, Moos was able to make the splash hire that was expected to put Nebraska back in the national spotlight. It was thought to be the nudge the program needed to elbow its way back to the big-boy dinner table.
It’s not news in Lincoln that, so far, that hasn’t been the case. In his first three seasons, Frost’s teams have posted a 12-20 record, haven’t received a bowl bid and have failed to notch any signature wins. The patience in Lincoln has been admirable, but even the most even-keeled Nebraska supporter would understand the upcoming season is a pivotal one in determining the future of the program.
Moos’ retirement didn’t put additional pressure on the head football coach to win this year. In reality, Frost was already entering the 2021 campaign as Lincoln’s version of Atlas, carrying the weight of the entire state on his shoulders.
Sure, it helps for the athletic director and head coach to have that chemistry. Depending on how the season went for the Huskers, Moos might’ve provided Frost with a little more leeway at the end of the 2021 campaign.
But Moos also set a fairly high expectation for the Huskers in Frost’s fourth season. Even with a loaded schedule that included nonconference games against Buffalo and Oklahoma and league contests against Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern and Iowa, the AD thought hitting the eight- or nine-win mark was attainable.
From Omaha World-Herald’s Sam McKewon:
Asked how many wins would be a success in 2021, Nebraska AD Bill Moos cites tough schedule. “It would be great to get into that 8-9 win” range. Calls that a “realistic” expectation.
There was not going to be a “free pass” for Frost this season. It has seemed pretty clear this offseason that it’s bowl or bust for the Huskers. Four straight years without a postseason appearance is usually the demise for a head coach at any program.
It would’ve been the case even if Moos agreed to stick around for the next 10 seasons.
If you look at the past five years in the B1G, the belief that there’s an increased level of pressure on Frost this season is understandable. New athletic directors have had a way with parting with head football coaches in the recent past:
- 2016: Josh Whitman fired Bill Cubit, hired Lovie Smith (Illinois)
- 2016: Mike Bobinski fired Darrell Hazell, hired Jeff Brohm (Purdue)
- 2017: Mark Coyle fired Tracy Claeys, hired P.J. Fleck (Minnesota)
- 2017: Bill Moos fired Mike Riley, hired Scott Frost (Nebraska)
Athletic directors tend to want “their guy” in place to run the football program, especially if the inherited coaching situation has been unstable. For that reason, the extra eyeballs on Frost this season is comprehensible.
The point? Frost was under the microscope this year anyway. A change in leadership in the athletic department doesn’t alter the expectation in Lincoln this fall.
Yes, there’s a lot of pressure facing Frost and the Huskers right now. That’s been the case since the 2020 season came to an end.