Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst announced this morning that he has fired head coach Bo Pelini after a 9-3 regular season, indicating that the Cornhuskers intend to move in a new direction.
Pelini was 67-27 as Husker coach, going 9-4 3 times and 10-4 3 times over six full seasons prior to this one, a fixture in the upper half of the Big Twelve South and then the Big Ten West, the Gator and Capital One Bowls. His teams regularly rolled Iowa and Purdue but faltered in big games, blown out 59-24 a couple of weeks ago by Wisconsin, a game that saw the once-vaunted Black Shirt defense give up 408 yards rushing to Melvin Gordon.
Pelini caused the program numerous embarrassments during his stint, outbursts at press conferences, sideline tirades, and delivered no conference championships.
Speculation immediately centers around Oregon assistant coach Scott Frost, a Wood River, Nebraska native who started two seasons as a dual-threat quarterback for the Cornhuskers, winning the 1997 National Championship. Frost played six seasons in the NFL as a safety.
At Oregon, Frost coached receivers for four seasons, moving to offensive coordinator when Mark Helfrich was promoted to head coach. This season his offense cranks out 45.9 points per game, good for fourth in the country, 540 yards a game with great balance running and passing.
During his playing and coaching career he’s worked under Tom Osborne, Bill Walsh, Mike Holmgren, Bill Parcells and Chip Kelly. Though he’s had no head coaching experience, he’s been an integral part of a program that has gone 68-10 over the last six years, with five straight seasons of 11 wins or better.
Frost is poised, telegenic and a good recruiter. He’d bring a new energy and popularity as Nebraska head coach, but some opinion makers at the school want a former NFL assistant or someone with a longer resume. Florida and Michigan have fired Will Muschamp and Brady Hoke, so the carousel will be spinning rapidly.