It must have been an interesting conversation Nebraska A.D. Trev Alberts and Husker head coach Scott Frost had on the plane ride back home Saturday night after Nebraska's 30-22 loss at Illinois.
I'm guessing there weren't many words exchanged.
Over the years, I've been criticized by some readers (and you know who you are) for drinking too much of the preseason Kool-Aid. And for the most part, I've pled guilty as charged.
And conversely this summer I've been accused of being a Debbie Downer for my warnings about this season's football team.
Why the change this year? The difference is I've been relying on facts instead of wishes. Earlier this summer, I identified the areas I believe the Husker football program needs to dramatically improve if it's going to have a chance for a successful season this fall. And based on Saturday's loss, the Huskers haven't changed anything.
I was disappointed but not surprised by the outcome. It seems the issues haven't really been addressed. All they've had is a fresh coat of lip service.
The past three seasons under Scott Frost, we've been told that each upcoming season ('19, '20 and '21) is going to be better. And each year, we've been told that practices have been more intense, team unity and talent is the best it's ever been blah, blah, blah, but as we all know, nothing seems to change.
And what's worse, Frost and the players when asked to explain their poor play just shrug their shoulders and say they have no clue. I'm sorry, but in year four of the Frost era, having no clue is not going to cut it.
As we all saw Saturday, Nebraska still can't (or won't) get out of its own way. Special teams continue to be a disaster. Outside of Adrian Martinez's 75-yard scramble for a TD, the Huskers had no running game. And remember whenever NU's QBs lead the team in rushing, the Huskers usually lose.
The only positive element to the Huskers in Week Zero was the emergence of kickoff specialist Brendan Franke, a walk-on from Gretna, NE.
In 2018 as the Husker head coach, Frost said the cupboard was bare. All they (SF & Company) needed to do was get their own players who fit the mold of their offensive and defensive schemes and all would be well. And this year, only 11 players remain from the Mike Riley era. That means that over 90% of the Husker players on this year's roster have been recruited by Frost and his staff.
And with mostly his own players, Frost's team still managed to lose Saturday to an Illini team that had won only two games the previous year. Illinois also had a first-year head coach (Bret Bielema), a new staff, all new players (to Bielema and his staff) and was down to its second-string quarterback. How does losing to a team like that even happen?
Time is running out
It's true there are 11 games to go this fall and a lot can change in that time. And as we know in college football, a team improves the most between its first and second games.
This summer I opined that based on Nebraska's schedule, there were five winnable games, three probable losses and four tossups. But with Saturday's debacle at Illinois, the Huskers might have only two wins on their schedule, and those are coming up the next two weeks. Unless Nebraska picks up a couple of COVID forfeitures, the Huskers' chances of having a winning season are going to be very slim. And that is a sad state of affairs.
But not to worry. I hear Bo Pelini is looking for a job...