Three takes from Nebraska's Signing Day press conference
Here are three quick takes from Nebraska's Signing Day press conference on Wednesday.
1 - We saw a different version of Scott Frost on Wednesday
I think everyone around Nebraska knows things can't stay the same in 2022 after four straight losing seasons under head coach Scott Frost.
We have heard speculation that Frost would like to become more of a CEO head coach that has a better feel of all the day-to-day workings of his football program. In order to do that, he hired a proven play-caller in Mark Whipple to run his offense.
As we heard Frost speak on signing day, his overall approach felt and looked different. He was dressed up with a nice sweater on over his collared shirt. He was cleanly shaven and his hair freshly combed.
Frost has never been a big "opening statement" guy at press conferences. His normal demeanor has been to step up to the podium and say "fire away." On Wednesday, he began his press conference more like a leader of the University. He first congratulated John Cook and the volleyball team for making the Final Four, and then gave a 10-minute opening statement about his early signing day class where he broke down each guy.
This was a way different version of Frost than we've seen before in these types of settings. He look and felt more relaxed.
2 - Whipple has forgotten more football than we'll ever know
Listening to Whipple talk for the first time on Wednesday, it became abundantly clear that he's forgotten more football than any of us will ever know.
Whipple has worked with and knows just about every great coach in the game - including most of the Big Ten.
"Ryan Day was a GA for me at UMass," Whipple said. "His brother played quarterback for me and Ryan went to New Hampshire. You watch what they do - they are the No. 1 offense in the league. I've studied those guys.
"Kevin Wilson is a good friend. Donny Brown is one of my best friends and he's at Michigan. Paul Chryst was at Pitt where my son was a GA for three years. I have a lot of respect for him and his program. Kirk Ferentz is a Pittsburgh guy and I've known Kirk for a long time. Brett Bielema, I've known for a long time and talked to him a bunch when I was at UMass and he was with the Patriots. We had breakfast together. My son went to Penn State with Bill O'Brien, who was a GA for me."
Whipple then talked about his experience coaching in the Pro Bowl where his quarterbacks were Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
"I didn't screw that one up," Whipple joked.
He still keeps in touch regularly with Ben Roethlisberger and Colt McCoy, who he coached in the NFL. In fact, he spoke with both of them this week about taking the Nebraska job.
It became pretty clear on Wednesday this is exactly what Frost was looking for. A true pro that he could entrust to manage and run his offense, but still have some involvement in.
3 - Laying out what's next at quarterback
Nobody knows for sure what Nebraska's quarterback position will look like next year, but when Whipple talks about what he's looking for, there's been one common trait all the great ones have.
Whipple said "pardon my French," but all the great ones he's seen have been "pricks" that are highly competitive and want to win.
"I've never seen a winner at the quarterback position be a nice guy," Whipple said.
NU is going to continue to mine the transfer portal to find the right guy, and you get the sense Whipple is going to have a big impact there.
The success Whipple had a Pitt most recently could be a big factor in attracting the right guy to Lincoln. Whipple's pitch to these potential quarterbacks seems to be fairly simple.
"I just tell them to call Kenny Pickett," Whipple said of his Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback at Pitt.
The good news is NU has time. Theoretically, the Huskers don't need to get a quarterback figured out until the start of classes on Jan. 18.