Tag Archives: Scott Frost

The University of Central Florida Is The Self-Proclaimed College Football National Champion

Going undefeated is an impressive accomplishment. It doesn’t matter if it’s achieved in a Power-5 conference or if that gauntlet is run to perfection in a mid-major conference. That’s what Scott Frost accomplished in his final season as head coach of the University of Central Florida football team.

The Golden Knights perfect record was capped off with a 34-27 win over Auburn. While this was a truly great achievement, it by no means makes Frost and UCF national champions. But don’t tell that to UCF.

Their passionate fan-base believes that going undefeated makes you the rightful owner of the national championship. This drum was beaten to death before the bowls even kicked off. Alabama getting into the playoff over UCF was seen as the heist of the century. Who’d Alabama play they asked? Who’d Alabama beat they asked?

As far as who Alabama played in comparison to UCF, well, Alabama’s strength of schedule was superior to UCF’s. Frost may not believe that it was right, but it was true. Sure, Alabama’s SOS gets an immediate pump from playing in a Power-5 conference. You know what I have to say about that? Too bad. Life isn’t fair.

And who did Alabama and UCF beat? UCF beat one committee ranked team in Memphis and played just one Power-5 team in Maryland. Alabama had the already stated luxury of playing in a Power-5 conference with a Power-5 schedule. And I’ve heard the argument that Power-5 teams don’t want to play UCF in Orlando. That being the case, one of the big boys doesn’t have to play UCF on its home turf, however, that doesn’t mean that UCF should use that as an excuse to not play those teams at all. Perhaps if UCF had scheduled someone other than a lousy Maryland team from the Big Ten, the committee would have treated a potential one-loss UCF team the same as a one-loss Alabama team. There’s really only one way to find that out. Schedule a potential loss and run the table in the AAC. Do that and get back to me.

Let’s also keep something else in mind when elevating UCF to its mythical national championship. The Golden Knights and the supporters of UCF are making their argument based in part on beating a team from the SEC in its bowl game. But just a minute. Let’s press pause on yet one more argument in defense of UCF’s national championship hardware. We’ve been told throughout bowl season that the dominance of the SEC is mere perception and the SEC isn’t that strong from top to bottom. If we assume that to be fact then UCF’s win over Auburn doesn’t mean nearly as much as we’re being told.

UCF, Frost, and outraged fans across America can’t have it both ways yet here they are attempting to do so.

The Golden Knights can have a parade and can raise a national championship banner. AD Danny White can even give the entire coaching staff national championship bonuses. But it doesn’t change the fact that UCF didn’t win the national championship. UCF won the Peach Bowl and Alabama will play Georgia in the REAL national championship.

I applaud UCF and Frost for the great season that the Golden Knight’s fans were treated to. UCF has numerous players who will play on Sundays and nobody can ever take away the 12-0 record. But concocting national championship banners and having a parade in honor of a self-appointed championship cheapens what Frost and his team accomplished.

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E-mail Seth at seth.merenbloom@campuspressbox.com 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Scott Frost Is In Over His Head At Nebraska

I have respect for the success that now-retired coaches once had. That success can be looked back upon with a feeling of nostalgia. Having respect and nostalgic reverence for that success should not mean trying to recreate what Tom Osborne built at Nebraska. In chasing Scott Frost, that is precisely what the state of Nebraska is attempting to do.

When Shawn Eichorst and Mike Riley were each fired, the attitude that oozed out of Nebraska was that this was the state’s opportunity to go back to its nostalgic past. The self-proclaimed opportunity being presented was a chance for the program to go back to its rightful place of 1990s success.  Bill Moos was hired to replace Eichorst and his top priority was to replace Mike Riley with someone who “gets” Husker football. Whatever that means.

But let’s be honest. Anyone remotely close to the Nebraska program knows why Nebraska hired a relative no-name athletic director who had made a name for himself at Washington St. He is in place to be athletic director in title only. The person calling the shots for this football hire is Tom Osborne.

Frost’s name had been a hot commodity early on in the coaching market and Florida seemed like a reasonable destination for the young coach. But then Osborne called and told his protege that it was “time to come home.” And Frost reportedly “understood the message.” 

If this call to come home did in fact happen, it’s a troubling sign for Nebraska football. It’s troubling because it’s indicative of a search that wasn’t an actual search. In addition to that, it’s troubling because Frost and Moos will be seen as Osborne’s puppets. Hell, maybe that’s exactly what the state of Nebraska wants. If its 70 year old legend won’t put the headset on again – Bill Snyder is somewhere asking “why not”- then the next best coach is a person who was a contributor to that now nostalgic glory.

Frost is a solid coach. Many programs would be lucky to have him. Just ask the University of Central Florida. Frost engineered a magical turnaround, but Orlando isn’t Lincoln. The Knights are not the Huskers. The AAC isn’t the Big Ten. You get the point.

Omaha attorney Mike Fitzpatrick is front and center in the Scott Frost fan club. He’s gone as far as to print up coasters imprinted with “Hire Scott Frost Now!”  Fitzpatrick summed up the feelings of Nebraska fans everywhere with these prophetic words.

“Mr. Moos, not being from the state of Nebraska and only being here a short period of time, hasn’t had a chance to see the culture and how we do things in Nebraska. I’m convinced the only way Nebraska is going to gain prominence again is by having one of the guys who was there at the time we were (prominent).”

This would be a tough environment for any coach to win in. Short of undefeated seasons and national championships, nothing will pacify these fans. It’s simply too much for a talented, but young coach to handle.

Is Frost going to be seen as the same kind of true son home run hire as Jim Harbaugh was at Michigan? The question has been asked. Now that the comparison is in your mind, ask yourself this: Will the state of Nebraska accept 3rd and 4th-place finishes while never beating its rival? That’s what Harbaugh has accomplished at Michigan and he’s an experienced Power 5 coach.

It’s time for Nebraska to move on from the Osborne-era. Sure, look back on his won-loss record with the respect it deserves, but these are different times. Expecting Frost to recruit to Lincoln like it’s the 1990s isn’t realistic given the changing landscape of college football. The biggest difference between college football in the 21st-century and the 1990s is social media. When Lawrence Phillips broke into Frost’s apartment, fetched his former girlfriend and dragged her down three flights of stairs, he was allowed to stay on the team. Remember what Osborne said – He just needs football in his life. That attitude won’t stand up to the scrutiny of a 24/7 news cycle.

Frost will have to run a tighter ship than what Osborne ran. If he doesn’t, he may win a championship at Nebraska, but will wind up sacrificing his career in exchange for recreating that nostalgic glory. The state of Nebraska may consider that to be a fair trade-off but I doubt Frost will.

Comment on this story in our free forum.

E-mail Seth at seth.merenbloom@campuspressbox.com 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mark Helfrich Is the Larry Coker to Chip Kelly’s Butch Davis

These days, the only thing more aflame than Oregon’s uniforms is coach Mark Helfrich’s hot seat.

Just two seasons after finishing runners-up in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the Ducks stare down the barrel of extending a three-game losing streak to four in this week’s matchup against the #5 Washington Huskies. They’re allowing 210 rushing yards per game, they’re the sixth-most penalized team in college football, and they’re endangering their shot at earning a bowl invitation.

How have Oregon fans responded? By launching a GoFundMe page to bankroll Helfrich’s massive buyout.

Have faith Oregon fans. At the time of this writing, there’s only $10,999,790 left to go.

To his credit, Helfrich isn’t making any excuses. “Anything that’s bad in this program is my responsibility,” he insisted after a disappointing loss to Nebraska. “Anything you think of that’s bad is my fault.” Don’t get me wrong- that degree of integrity and accountability in a head coach is truly admirable. I like Mark Helfrich. Maybe he doesn’t know a lick about how to play defense (or how to choose a defensive coordinator), but Mark Helfrich is still a quality individual.

Except, quality individuals make awful head coaches. As far as I can tell, that’s the college football reality we live in. Show me a coach with 409 career wins, and I’ll show you someone who reprehensibly covered the tracks of a child rapist. Oh, is it too soon for those questionable Joe Paterno references? Apparently, it isn’t too soon for Penn State to roll out the red carpet in questionably honoring him.

Also, I’m almost certain one of the top five coaches in college football spends his Sundays posterizing middle schoolers at the local YMCA. Is that coach Jim Harbaugh? The world may never know.

Enabling sexual assault. Committing blatant recruiting violations. Hiring coaches recovering from alcoholism. That’s the kind of college-football-isn’t-supposed-to-be-fun mentality you need to coach in college football. Mark Helfrich lacks that mentality. Mark Helfrich looks more like Kermit the Frog than somebody willing to drown a litter of puppies to secure a five-star recruit. When I see Jimbo Fisher, I see a man who would trample a sea of helpless baby orangutans just to re-polish the encased ACC Championship trophies perched so prominently atop his mantle.

Helfrich is clearly more understated than his mentor and predecessor, and while that can have its benefits, it doesn’t help him in either recruiting or developing players and assistant coaches. Helfrich earned his reputation under Chip Kelly by tutoring a number of high-skill quarterbacks, including, most notably, Marcus Mariota. Truth be told, Chip Kelly and Scott Frost (currently at UCF) deserve an enormous amount of the credit assigned to Helfrich. As luck would have it, both men have surfaced in coaching carousel discussions surrounding a potential Helfrich departure.

Helfrich is the Larry Coker to Chip Kelly’s Butch Davis. The latter halves of the comparison each continued onto questionable coaching careers in the NFL. The former half failed to fill the shoes of their coaching mentors. The University of Miami has finally left a downward spiral triggered by inept coaching. If the Ducks don’t act fast, now may be only the beginning of that spiral.

Chip Kelly and Mike Bellotti built the Oregon program to stardom in the previous two decades, yet a decision to stand pat with an average coach in Helfrich threatens every last ounce of that stardom. The Ducks are currently trending away from a winning season and trending away from the offensive firepower that led them to a national championship. A handful of graduate transfers at quarterback have kept the program momentarily afloat, but in a matter of years, the full incompetence of the Helfrich regime will become fully exposed.

And by then, it’ll be too late.

Oregon tried and failed to maintain operations in-house. It’s time for the athletic department to expand the coaching search beyond the boundaries of Eugene- and whatever the hell they call that offense- to bring in an regularly-credentialed asshole with some know-how. If the Ducks waste the 2017 season with a proven lost cause at the helm, who knows whether the former glory of the Oregon program can ever be fully salvaged.

Then again, at least they’ll always have those jerseys.

Email Cole Hankins at cole.hankins@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @Cole_Hankins.

Photo courtesy – Wikipedia

Ducks' Marshall And Tyner Fly Together

 

Thomas Tyner looks to build on his record setting freshman season and run wild in 2014.
Thomas Tyner looks to build on his record setting freshman season and run wild in 2014.

 
Here in Eugene, college football can’t begin soon enough.
On my way home from a business trip in Seattle last night I swore I could hear the roar booming from the stands of Autzen Stadium as I drove by.
“OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”
That’s how close football season is people.
And with the BCS now safely tucked away in the annals of college football history this looks to be one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory. In preparation for perhaps the most highly anticipated season in years I’d like to preview another position of interest as we get set for kickoff on August 30th.
Last week I highlighted Devon Allen as a player to watch in Oregon’s young and unproven group of receivers. This week is a completely a different tale.
Once again, Oregon’s backfield looks to be a major strength. This is a group that could not only be the best in the conference but come December the best in the country. In addition to having the Pac-12’s leading returning rusher from 2013, Byron Marshall, this group is also led by home-state favorite and former 5-star recruit Thomas Tyner as well as California high-school phenom Royce Freeman.
With so much talent at the position it’s difficult to say who will literally carry the load this year.
Rushing for more than 100 yards a total of six times in 2013, Marshall became Oregon’s 20th 1,000 yard rusher and eighth in the past seven years earning honorable mention Pac-12 all conference. That success should merit him a hefty share of carries in 2014. However, I could also see Tyner being the premier back given he does boast the most explosiveness and big play ability of the three and uh, these are the Ducks. At the spring game Tyner seemed to enjoy the most playing time as he led all rushers with 58 yards as well as catching a pair of passes for 26 yards and a score. By the way, he also set a UO record last year with 711 rushing yards as a true freshman.
It really just depends what direction Mark Helfrich chooses for this team. I say share the love.
But, look for Freeman to also play an integral role in what should be per usual a very dynamic offense. As a senior at Imperial High School, Freeman rushed for 2,824 yards (11.0 avg.) and 41 touchdowns. Yeah, that wasn’t a typo, 41 trips to the end zone in one year. I don’t care if it’s high school or not. That’s just straight crazy. And when he lined up against the best of his peers at the U.S Army All-America Bowl in January he went off for three touchdowns in a 28-6 West win. I could easily see him contribute as Marshall did in his freshman year when he ran for 464 yards and 4 touchdowns. Oregon does have a history of giving highly touted true freshman ample opportunity to contribute, just as they did last year with Tyner. But, definitely expect for Marshall and Tyner to be the featured backs.
If you’re offensive coordinator Scott Frost, why just drive your Ferrari when you’ve got a Maserati and a shiny new Stingray parked right next to it? I expect he will. It’s easy to say this offense will go as far as these backs can take them. But, I will say regardless of the inexperience at wide receiver there will be plenty of openings down field for Marcus Mariota to capitalize on as teams will be forced to stack the box or pay the price against the Cerberus that is Marshall, Tyner and Freeman. With that, Mariota’s Heisman trophy chances likely ride on how balanced the rushing attack can be under Frost. He may get the numbers he needs because of the attention they draw or on the flip side they could be so productive that despite Mariota maybe being the best player in the country, he will fall short on the attempts he needs to post monster numbers. Either way, this offense looks to be explosive in his final year.
The question of whether Marshall or Tyner starts has in my opinion been the biggest storyline for the Ducks leading up to their opening game against South Dakota State. And really, I don’t think it will matter.
I’m saying now Marshall will “start” games and set the tone having more of a downhill style than Tyner. But definitely look for them to be used in tandem and to both put up big numbers in 2014. Could they possibly be better than Lamichael James and Kenjon Barner? Who knows for now. But as is the custom in Eugene, we once again see the Duck do about 1,000 pushups a game.
I wonder if he works out with the players?