Scott Frost is home, and home is different than other places life can take you.
Home is where you can joke that it looks like some former players have been eating too much, and that’s what Frost did during a news conference Sunday when he was introduced as Nebraska’s head football coach.
When you’re home you talk about a legendary former coach, like Frost did of Tom Osborne, but it sounds more genuine, because he’s also your mentor and friend.
Home is where you smile when the athletic director talks about the former players, because you’re one of them. And then you look to the back of the room, where those guys are all there to support you.
At home, there are some people who get a hug, instead of a handshake.
Home is where you reference Nebraska towns such as Minden, Gothenburg and Columbus. And you know where those towns are, and probably someone who lives there.
Frost is home.
“Can’t tell you how special this is for a kid that grew up in Nebraska, basically grew up on this campus when my mom was a track and field coach here and I was running around, getting into trouble and getting run over on the Devaney Center track,” Frost said. “From there, to playing here, to being other places coaching for as long as I have, to get an opportunity to come back here is special to me.
"Words can’t describe how much it means to me to be back here in a place that I love, a place that I understand, a place that I want to represent.”
If there was a theme of the day it might be that Frost is ready to unify a program that has been divided, staggered by years of disappointing seasons and coaching changes.
“I think this state is hungry for unity,” Frost said. “When I was here under Coach Osborne, there was unity in purpose, and unity in belief, and unity of understanding and unity of support for this program, what it stood for, and what it was accomplishing.
"This program needs that again, this state needs that again.”
That sounds good to Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos. Now Moos isn’t worried about the Memorial Stadium sellout streak ending. He’s hoping that so many people will want to watch the Huskers that NU will need to add seats.
Moos, a seasoned veteran in running athletics departments, has previously seen how important unity can be for a program, but never like he has here.
“And a lot of that has to do with through the decades, the feeling of current players that they couldn’t let those before them down. And it was their duty to keep winning and keep the tradition going, and then pass it to the new generation and get in their face that it’s on you now,” Moos said. “See, we need to get back to that, and these guys (the former Huskers), when Scott addressed them, he goes, everyone in this room knows what it was like, and the responsibility and obligation we all had to pass on, and we've got to get back to that. And it was very special. I’ll remember that for a long time.”
About 150 former players showed up Sunday morning to welcome Frost, waiting as a group when Frost walked into the Nebraska weight room.
Moos also saw that unity between Frost and Osborne.
“To see those two together — and I got to see it in my office — that’s why you play the game, those kind of relationships and the respect that Scott has for his old coach, that’s pretty special,” Moos said.
The former players fully support Frost, ex-Husker Jay Moore said.
“It just feels right, feels like the way it should be,” he said.
It’s pretty amazing how many ex-players turned out Sunday, Osborne said, noting that many came from a considerable distance.
Frost’s experience at Nebraska as a player will serve him well, the former coach said.
“I think probably the most important thing that a coach does is establish a culture, and sometimes it’s hard to explain a culture if you haven’t lived it, and you haven’t experienced it, and Scott’s done that,” Osborne said. “He’ll bring a lot of his own ideas. This isn’t going to be a return to 1997 in terms of offense, defense, those kind of things.
"But he understands the things that need to be done here, and he knows some of those basics that helped sustain it over a 42-year period, and that’s going to be critical.”
Watching from afar for many years now, Frost thinks that there has been a lack of unity at Nebraska, even as fans have continued to fill the stadium. If he can bring that back, Frost said, it will be very rewarding.
“It’s my hope that by returning this to its roots, and maybe with me coming back, that we can get that passion all pointed in the right direction,” he said. “When that happens at Nebraska, this is the best place in the country to be, and I hope I can bring that to this place.”
It has been a busy, and emotional, few months for Frost. He and wife Ashley had their first child, as Frost led UCF to a 12-0 season.
There's been little time for sleep, to eat, to workout, even get a haircut, he joked.
And now he’s the coach at Nebraska.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever have another year as good as 2017," Frost said, "but we’re going to work really hard to make that happen."