The University of Central Florida announced this morning that Scott Frost will be their new head football coach.
“Scott is a winner and innovator who has directed one of college football’s most exciting offenses at the University of Oregon,” UCF athletic director Danny White said in a statement.
The Knights just finished a a winless season at 0-12. Just like that, they go from doormat to interesting in the American Athletic Conference. Frost’s pedigree and experience could be a lethal combination with Florida recruits.
As of this morning, there are thirteen head coaching jobs open in college football. Stay tuned. This list is sure to expand and contract like the shrill tones from the steam organ that accompanies the carousel. Many anxious athletic directors are boxed in by unrealistic expectations from crazy fan bases and limited resources from stingy universities. Some openings are not quite as attractive as they were ten or twenty years ago. States around the country are hemorrhaging big-time cash. Some public universities will always justify making their head football coaches their state’s highest paid public employees; and some athletic directors have more juice than others. Danny White just put the UCF athletic department in the black with Scott Frost, the hottest coaching candidate in football.
Frost was recruited and coached by Bill Walsh at Stanford before he transferred to Nebraska after Walsh announced his retirement. He went on to win a national championship in 1997 beating Tennessee and Peyton Manning with Tom Osborne. He played safety and special teams in the NFL for six years after being drafted in the third round by the Jets in 1998. His head coach was Bill Parcells, and his defensive backs coach was Bill Belichick. He also played for Jon Gruden in Tampa. Chip Kelly hired Frost as his wide receivers coach in 2009. Frost became the Ducks’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Mark Helfrich in 2013.
The résumé is ridiculous. Frost is a championship player rubbing shoulders with what some might consider the Mount Rushmore of football. Frost makes an impression:
In November 1994, freshman Scott Frost played mostly at safety (at Stanford). But in a game against Oregon, coach Bill Walsh gave him the shot he wanted at quarterback. He started in place of the injured Steve Stenstrom. Frost threw the first touchdown pass of his college career. It was also the last touchdown catch in the college career of one David Shaw, now Stanford’s head coach.
So, what’s the problem? Can he recruit?
“I think that trajectory started early on,” David Shaw said. “I love him. Smart. Tough. Understands the game. Understands the players. He can recruit any place because he’s one of those pure spirits. He’ll look you in the eye, tell you the truth. That comes across to the kids.”
That’s coming from a coach who has kept Stanford in the College Football Playoff conversation at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. That’s recruiting.
Frost’s experience on both sides of the ball bodes well for a long and successful career. If we examine the best football coaches of the 21st century, college and pro, we have to consider Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, and Urban Meyer. Jimmy Johnson belongs in the conversation for his vision. This particular group of coaches had, and has, a comprehensive understanding of both offense and defense. They game plan and practice offense, defense, and special teams to complement each other.
Sometimes great coaches have that touch of crazy that puts them over the top. When the moment is bigger than life they are unafraid to make a call. Maybe running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain qualifies as that touch of crazy.
— Scott Frost (@coach_frost) July 16, 2012
Right damn now, Oregon is one of the deadliest offenses in college football. Vernon Adams’ broken finger is not an obstacle. The Ducks O is sixth in the nation with 548.2 yards of offense, and sixth in scoring with 43.2 points per game. They put up 38 and 48 against Stanford and USC respectively. The Oregon skills players, many underclassmen, are over the top. All of this is a credit to Frost as their offensive coordinator.
Everyone knows that offense has been, and is, the future of football. But to know an offense a great coach has to know a defense. Scott Frost has lived a playing and coaching career exposed to all three aspects of winning teams: offense, defense, and special teams.
Scott Frost, regardless of the movement in college and NFL circles, just might be the best coaching prospect in football. Period. Frost is 40 years old. Maybe, just maybe, he’s looking for the right fit instead of the cash.
Sure, you can dismiss Oregon as a gimmick. Chip Kelly has proven that it takes more than innovation to win at the highest level. But it would be foolish to dismiss Scott Frost as a football rainmaker. When you see a head coach with a headset you want to believe that there’s more than his favorite music piping through the speakers. In the galaxy of football it’s going to take new voices to maintain the game’s attraction and significance. Look for the University of Central Florida and Scott Frost to make a move in the college football landscape – until he makes his next move.