Ohio State vs. Nebraska, 11.6

Nebraska coach Scott Frost (left) and Huskers athletic director Trev Alberts briefly embrace before the game against Ohio State on Nov. 6 at Memorial Stadium.

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Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts says he's unsure exactly why we're so interested in his Sunday conversations with Scott Frost.

After hearing from Alberts on Monday, I'm actually more intrigued than ever. 

Let's be clear: Alberts and Frost, the fourth-year Nebraska football coach, didn't have a relationship before Alberts took over in July.

They certainly have one now, a good one, or so it seems. 

"Little by little, those Sunday conversations, which started out being 20 minutes, sort of evolved into two- and three-hour sessions of very good, healthy dialogue, although never in the granular details of XYZ coach or play-calling or anything like that, but more just philosophical, high-level stuff," Alberts said in a lengthy interview with the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald.

Alberts compiled notes during their sessions. He asked Frost questions. He compiled more notes. He asked more questions. All the while, Alberts gained a better feel for how Frost operated. They agreed on some critical points, including this one: Being a head coach at Nebraska is an enormous task. It's more complicated than people think, Alberts said.

It involves the head coach having a pulse on a variety of areas — anything that touches the program. We're talking about dealing with media, social media, recruiting, scheduling, parents, playoff expansion and, yes, the whole name, image and likeness phenomenon. 

The list goes on and on. 

"It takes a certain amount of time, energy and resources that perhaps Scott didn't have," Alberts said. 

So, based on Alberts and Frost's new vision, Frost will be more of a CEO-type of head coach going forward, and probably won't be calling plays anymore. 

He'll likely hire an offensive coordinator who takes over that side of the ball, with Frost adding his expertise as needed.

Alberts can help him grow as chief executive of the program. It makes sense since Alberts himself operates smoothly as a CEO-type, and learned plenty in that regard as Nebraska Omaha's former AD. 

"Maybe that ability — and I don't know this for sure — for Scott to dive into those critical areas, could that possibly be that missing link of detail that we need in those one-score games you guys keep writing about?" Alberts asked.

Alberts clearly likes the idea of Frost not having his head buried in a play sheet during a game. 

"When a player comes off the field, if you are so fixated on what you're going to call next, it's very hard to even have some accountability or create some comfort if there's a mistake," said Alberts, an All-American linebacker at Nebraska during the early 1990s. "I've had it both ways. I've come off the field before and (former NU defensive coordinator) Charlie McBride took my facemask and basically said, 'You ever do that again, you'll never ever play here another down.

"I've also had a coach love on me. That's the ability of a coach to assess the environment at that time and deliver the right message. That's leadership." 

He thinks Frost can be excellent in a role in which he pays a bit closer attention to a bigger picture. But the current staff structure, the AD said, "perhaps is robbing him of the ability to do some of that." 

There's another factor in the discussion: The treacherous Big Ten. Alberts finds the parity to be, well, somewhat daunting. It's not 1992 at Nebraska anymore, he said, meaning there are hardly any breezy Saturdays of surefire wins these days.

A head coach's attention to detail had better be sharp. 

A head coach had better be fully confident in his entire operation.

Along those lines, Frost brought a plan for the future to Alberts on Sunday "that I think really contemplated a lot of the things that we talked about over the last several weeks," said Alberts, emphasizing that he did not mandate that Frost fire any of his assistants. 

The four staff firings announced Monday were part of Frost's vision, Alberts said. 

"I believe that's the role of the head coach and CEO of the football program, is to have the overall vision and strategy of what we look like going forward," Alberts said. 

How much did Alberts consider changing head coaches? 

"I don't think it's any secret I've always wanted this to work (with Frost)," Alberts said.

There obviously are no guarantees that Frost's new vision for the program is going to work. His record at Nebraska is 15-27 overall and 10-23 in the Big Ten. The Huskers this season are 3-7 and 1-6 in the conference, and are riding a four-game skid. Now, Frost must almost completely revamp his offensive staff, and get it ready for a critical fifth season. No pressure. 

This is fascinating stuff. I've said it before: The Alberts-Frost pairing intrigues me, now more than ever.

"You know, I asked Scott this morning — and we've had lots of conversations — but I said, 'Are you a little uncomfortable?'" said Alberts, a reference to Frost's restructured contract and perhaps just the general magnitude of the moment.

Frost said he does feel uncomfortable. In a good way.

"'So am I,'" Alberts replied. "That's how I know we have a great deal, because both of us. …" 

His voice trailed off. I think I get what he's saying, though. The duo now pushes forward together, an AD and CEO on the same page. 

It hasn't always been that way at Nebraska during the last couple of decades.

Let's see what it looks like now. No pressure. None at all. 

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.


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