When it comes to the potential success of the Nebraska soccer team, most fans agree that the offensive line will play a huge role.
It makes sense considering the offensive line has played more than one role in the struggles the Huskers have seen over the past four or five years. After all, that’s one of the reasons Greg Austin was fired and Donovan Raiola was hired last year.
If the Cornhuskers want to go from 3-9 to even 6-6, they need a much better performance in the trenches. They will need the likes of Teddy Prochazka to recover and show what they can do for their new coach.
They also happen to need Donovan Raiola to train. When he was hired, more than a few people were surprised that Frost would be willing to entrust such an important aspect of the staff to someone who hasn’t yet proven himself, even though he’s never really been a positional coach in his own right.
When it came to hiring a new wide receiver coach, Frost turned to Mickey Joseph, who is well-known to Nebraska football fans and a hotshot in college football. When it came to hiring an offensive coordinator, he turned to Mark Whipple, known for both his mentoring of Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett and his long and distinguished career.
In comparison, Raiola is a relative joker.
Perhaps that’s why Frost made some pretty head-scratching comments at his press conference on Saturday. It makes sense for the Husker head coach to praise one of his side’s most important units. It also makes sense that he would be defending the honor of this unit’s new head coach and one of his key associates. It’s the way he chose to do it that should raise some eyebrows.
“I have to tell you, they work harder than I’ve ever seen them work,” Frost told reporters, according to On3.com.
“The guys wear monitors that track overall performance and 100 other stats. In many cases they have more than doubled the effort they have put into practice in recent years. A lot of that has to do with the kind of kids we have and a lot has to do with Donny and Aaron working with them. You are doing an incredible job.”
The very first question that comes to mind is whether these new output tracking monitors are something new or not. Perhaps one of the reasons Raiola got the job against what seemed like plenty of competition is that he came up with ideas like these kinds of trackers.
Of course, the fact that Frost referred to “the last few years” seems to indicate that the tools have been in place since this new regime.
The second question is does he really think they work that much harder? And if the stats show it, what does it say about his leadership over the first four years that he was okay with the level of effort?
Yes, the refutation will be obvious that he had nothing quite like it, considering that according to Frost’s claims, Greg Austin’s group never worked nearly as hard. At the same time, the product on the field was clearly absent.
Still, the Nebraska football head coach’s comments can indeed be dismissed as he may not really have known how much his offensive lineman could work if he was pushed harder. So he gets a pass. But there’s one more question that comes to mind that he really shouldn’t pass on,
How much longer can Scott Frost blame a lack of effort, and therefore poor culture, for his program’s failures?
When he arrived with this shiny new team five years ago, there was a lot of talk about all the bad habits that Mike Riley’s Nebraska soccer team had developed. There was talk of how much more players lifted and how much faster they ran. The implication was that now that Frost and his people were in Lincoln, lack of effort would no longer be excused.
And then, it seems, a lack of effort was excused for four years.
This isn’t a particularly new occurrence for the Huskers under their current head coach. When things go wrong with the Cornhuskers, Frost has been known to fall back on the idea that he hasn’t quite fixed the culture and that there are some “bad actors” who still undermine his approach and that of his assistants .
This time around, the bad actor appears to be the guy he’s hired for the last four years to coach his offensive line. While it’s hard to argue that the results Austin achieved were acceptable, it’s heartbreaking to see how the man who got him here in the first place – and insisted he bring as many coaches from UCF as possible – talks about how much better things are now.
At some point, the head coach of the Nebraska soccer team will have to live up to his role in things like this. Perhaps another question arises from these comments. when does this happen