In Bruce Feldman’s excellent profile of Scott Frost, Nebraska’s new head football coach makes it clear who’s responsible for the decline of Husker football in his eyes:
Well, the leadership on campus and in the AD office ruined this place because it was either guys who thought, I wanna do it my way, let’s go get a West Coast offense guy, or they didn’t understand what made Nebraska so good for all of those years.
It’s clear who he ultimately blames for Nebraska’s struggles; he doesn’t name names, but it doesn’t take much effort to realize that it’s Steve Pederson, Shawn Eichorst and Harvey Perlman. None of this should be an eye-opening revelation to any Husker fans. Back in 2005, Kansas walloped Nebraska 40-15 and in a blog entry on the Lincoln Journal-Star’s web site, Frost spoke from the heart. The blog entry is long-gone from the Journal-Star’s website, but his words have been reposted in several spots, and provide the context for what Feldman calls “anger” and “disgust” to what has happened in Lincoln this century.
Personally, I don't want to hear anymore negativity about previous coaching staffs. I don't see the point in it now. Going forward, I think we need to focus solely on the future. #Huskers— Adam Carriker (@AdamCarriker94) April 19, 2018
But is it wrong for Frost to point fingers at the past? Right now, I’m not so sure it is entirely. Yes, we do need to close the book and turn the page from the Perlman/Pederson/Callahan/Eichorst/Riley eras. But not just yet.
Why? Simple. When you are trying to fix a problem, it’s important to understand what went wrong so that the root problem is truly corrected. Otherwise, we’re just going through the motions, flailing again and continuing the same pattern of failure. Outsiders can rightfully ask why they should believe that THIS change is going to be different?
If you’re read between the lines, there’s been a consistent point that former chancellor Harvey Perlman might be that “root cause” of Nebraska’s struggles. He picked Steve Pederson and Shawn Eichorst. But what about Tom Osborne? Osborne won’t say anything publicly about Perlman, but he did make it clear in private communications to Frost that “things are different” in Lincoln now. And that reassured Frost that it was time to come home.
So in the coming weeks and months, it’s not a problem to do the catharsis. Get it out of our system. Understand what went wrong and ensure that all of those issues are resolved.
But when the season begins Labor Day weekend, it’s time to put all that behind us. This fall, it will be time to move on. Granted, results need to use 2017 as a baseline, not 1997. It’s unlikely that Frost’s mere presence is going to immediately restore Nebraska to national prominence.
But when the season starts, it’ll be time to start looking forward once again. Until then, it’s not a problem to make sure all of the bad things are now in the rear view mirror.
And if that means that Steve Pederson, Shawn Eichorst or Harvey Perlman get criticized, so be it.