4 reasons not to panic over Nebraska’s slow start under Scott Frost


Nebraska football has been pretty underwhelming in the first few weeks of the Scott Frost era. But it’s also not that shocking.

The Cornhuskers fell to 0-2 on the season after a 24-19 loss to Troy. With the big hire this offseason, and the nature of college football fandom, there’s going to be some panic among Husker fans.

If you’re a Nebraska fan reading this, I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath, and give your shiny new coach time. You shouldn’t be too worried about your team for a few reasons.

1. Nebraska was missing starting quarterback Adrian Martinez.

The true freshman went down with a right leg injury in the fourth quarter of their game against Colorado. Up until that point, he had completed 15 of his 20 passes for 187 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. On the ground, Martinez racked up 117 yards for two touchdowns. He did a little bit of everything, and did those things well.

Against Troy, his backup, walk-on sophomore Andrew Bunch, wasn’t nearly as effective. He had a solid game through the air, completing 19-27 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. However, he threw two interceptions, and had just five yards rushing.

How much one player’s difference could make is hard to determine with certainty. But you have to imagine in a five-point game, Martinez would have had a chance to be the difference.

2. Troy’s actually a good football team.

In fact, they’ve been one of the Sun Belt’s best teams the past two seasons. In 2016, the Trojans went 10-3 with a near upset of No. 2 Clemson, and in 2017, went 11-2 with a win over No. 25 LSU in Baton Rouge. They’ve done this before.

Head coach Neal Brown is in his fourth season with Troy, and it’s kind of surprising he’s there again this year, considering the team’s success. He’s also kept offensive coordinator Matt Moore around all four years, as the offensive S&P has improved every season — going from 106th in 2014 to 58th last season. They’re no fluke as far as G5 teams go.

Also, the talent gap between the two teams coming into this season wasn’t as wide as you’d think. Troy’s projected S&P+ ranking was 78th, whereas Nebraska’s was 60th.

3. Nebraska’s record wouldn’t look quite so bad, if not for a weather cancellation.

The Huskers didn’t get to play in Week 1 because of a three-hour delay, which turned into an entire cancellation of their game against Akron. The Huskers appeared to want to reschedule for the next day, but the Zips weren’t willing to make that happen.

I know, 1-2 with a win over Akron isn’t a whole lot better than 0-2, but a win is not nothing. At least, not if you’re a Huskers fan looking for something to take comfort in.

Nebraska starts Big Ten play next week in Ann Arbor against Michigan, and then hosts Purdue at home. At the earliest, it looks like they’ll have to wait until that first conference home game that the Huskers get a win.

4. Expectations were low coming into this year, as they should have been.

Frost started 6-7 at UCF before going undefeated in 2017, after all.

In Bill Connelly’s Nebraska preview, he set the bar relatively low for the Huskers:

Frost’s ceiling is incredibly high, but any major expectations should begin in 2019 at the earliest. Simply making a bowl would be an accomplishment in 2018.

Bill’s a smart guy, so you should believe him.

If we get into Year 2 and Nebraska is still losing to the Troys of the world, then it’s time to worry. For now, take a single tip from Philadelphia 76ers fans and just trust the process.

Source : https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2018/9/16/17864614/nebraska-scott-frost-troy