Central Florida head coach Scott Frost tosses a football to one of the players warming up before the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game. Nebraska announced Saturday that it will hire Frost as its next head coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Nebraska legend Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers is thrilled his alma mater announced Saturday that it will make Scott Frost its next head coach.
Rodgers was a star when the Nebraska program first gained national prominence. The receiver and kick returner won national titles in 1970 and 1971 and the Heisman Trophy in 1972.
Frost won a national championship as Nebraska’s quarterback in 1997, a rallying point for the Big Red faithful who have grown weary as the program has failed to win a title since. Husker fans have closely watched Frost lead Central Florida to an unbeaten record this season, and now, they finally have their man. Rodgers said he feels the same way most of the state does about Frost.
“He left here with a national championship, and now, he’s coming back here with an opportunity to pull us up and possibly get one not just as a player, but as a coach and have a legacy,” Rodgers said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “And I think everybody is pretty much in support of it.”
Rodgers is an Omaha, Nebraska native who still lives there, so he hears what the fans think of the program all the time. He said it has been tough personally and for the fans to see Nebraska stumble since Dr. Tom Osborne retired. Osborne won national titles in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and consistently kept the Huskers in the national title picture. Frank Solich, Bill Callahan, Bo Pelini and Mike Riley followed and couldn’t get the program to its past level of glory.
“It’s been difficult to see us going backward instead of seeing steps to hold our ground or going forward,” Rodgers said. “So now we just want to have something to at least know that we’re going in the right direction and that we can eventually get back to being where we’re accustomed to being, because football in Nebraska is a pretty big deal.”
Rodgers said Frost is walking into a daunting situation with high expectations. He hopes the fans are patient.
“I would think that within two to three years that we will be seeing progress, that we will be winning eight, nine games during that time,” Rodgers said. “We should be back on track in a short time. I think we need to give him at least five years to figure it out, but I think that in five years we might be able to be back up competing for the conference championship and possibly being back up in national prominence.”
Nebraska Heisman trophy winner Johnny Rodgers (20) gets set to cross the goal line for this team's first score in the Orange Bowl against Notre Dame on Jan.1, 1973 in Miami. (AP Photo)
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