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Chatelain: How could everyone be so wrong about the 2019 Huskers? Ask the coach


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#1 Boxcar

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 03:55 PM

Year two is when its gonna take off around here. And taking off doesnt mean were gonna go undefeated, but well be a really good team in two years. Scott Frost, April 2018

Well be competing for our side in year two. I dont know if well win it. Then it just goes up from there. Frost, July 2018

"We aren't that far away and I know how much better we can get. Frost, November 2018

Were miles ahead of where we were a year ago. I think well surprise people with how much better we get and how quickly it happens. Frost, February 2019

Maybe Scott Frost talked a big game because hed just come off a miraculous turnaround at UCF 0-12 to 13-0 in two years. Youd be a little cocky, too.

Maybe he felt the immense pressure to restore Nebraska pride ASAP. He wanted to make his family and friends and former teammates and Tom Osborne feel the joys of winning again. Youd crave that feeling, too.

But as youre trying to figure out how almost everyone could be SO wrong about Nebraska football in 2019, stop blaming the national media who picked NU for the top 25. Stop blaming the Big Ten media who picked NU to win the West. Stop blaming the local media who give you 19 stories to read every day in the offseason, almost all of them optimistic. Stop blaming Husker Kool-Aid drinkers who fall into the same trap every offseason, thinking that only their team lifted weights and recruited playmakers.

You know why everyone thought Nebraska had turned the corner in 2019? Because Frost said so!

Im not rubbing his nose in it. Im merely pointing out that outsiders got Nebraska wrong because the insiders got Nebraska wrong.

Frost, as it turned out, dramatically overstated his teams prospects. Hes the home builder who promised hed be painting your walls in six months and it turns out hes still framing.

Husker fans can still be happy with the house someday. Perhaps even by the time they pack for Dublin. But man, stop telling your friends that we shouldve seen these struggles coming and start recognizing that Frost himself set a high bar for Year 2. And we listened to him because of his past success. He carried immense credibility into this job. He knew what good football looked like and he knew how to rebuild a program.

Now the 2018 Peach Bowl feels like a decade ago.

Does it mean Frost is the wrong man for the job? Of course not. He can still fulfill all the Husker hopes he inspired.

But based on whats happened this season, its fair to question his (and his staffs) evaluation of the program. This was harder than he thought.

Back in February, Frost relayed a story at a luncheon that his trusted strength coach, Zach Duval, had made this statement about Huskers in the weight room: Old Nebraska is almost back.

Back in July, Frost stated that he wouldnt trade Adrian Martinez for any quarterback in the country.

Some of this stuff is just what coaches say, obviously. Nobody wants a leader who walks around with his head down, muttering Gee, I just hope were competent, but I dont know. Well have to wait and see.

This is football, not world diplomacy. Its OK to puff up your players. Its OK to beat your chest.

But when youre wondering why we had such outsized expectations for the Huskers this fall I predicted 8-4 remember the source of optimism.

Then ask yourself this question: If the November 2018 Huskers were playing the October 2019 Huskers, who would win? Its last year's team by double figures, right?

That wasnt supposed to happen. Departing senior Jerald Foster said this after last years Iowa game: This is an offense that's going to be top 10, easily, next season.

Instead, the Huskers rank 76th in total yards and 90th in scoring.

Wheres the player development? Wheres the growth up front? Over and over since joining the Big Ten, Husker coaching staffs have believed they A) could fight to a draw in the trenches and B) expose opponents on the edge. Over and over, weve realized that Nebraska wasnt close in the trenches. And any advantage on the perimeter means nothing without big boys in the middle.

I had no expectations that Nebraskas O-line would be good in 2019. But there was genuine hope that the defensive front seven would be better equipped to handle the weekly Big Ten grind. Based on Ohio State and Minnesota, the Blackshirts arent ready, either.

Frost has time to fix all of this. And even if he goes 0-5 the rest of the way, his fans will find reasons to get fired up for 2020. But this season does raise concerns.

For two years, Frosts word carried a ton of weight. He knew the path back to national prominence and he knew the timeline. Now theres a little bit of doubt.

You can tell when a coach in Year 1, especially knows his team isnt any good. You feel for him. But sympathy turns to skepticism when a coach thinks his team is better than it really is. When his results dont look much different than the coach he replaced and the culture he criticized.

Husker fans can stomach a few setbacks on the road to recovery. They can even endure a wasted season. As long as they can trust that Frosts words are true
"We ran into a buzzsaw tonight." Mike Riley following the Arkansas State game

#2 johnnyhusker82

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 12:11 PM

Everyone not only drank the kool-aid, they bathed in it.

 

Maybe even the head coach.


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