Ask Farrell: Is Nebraska making strides - or still treading water?

Adam Gorney and Mike Farrell, Rivals.com

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Nebraska’s season ended with another loss to Iowa on Black Friday, a fitting end for another disappointing year, the second in a row for coach Scott Frost, who was brought to Lincoln to make the Huskers nationally relevant again only to see the program sink lower.

After the Iowa game, Frost said, “this team’s confidence can sometimes be fragile. That’s the team we inherited and that’s one of the things we’re trying to fix the most."

But he’s had this team for more than two seasons and the results have been lackluster.

Following those comments, former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, who was Frost’s teammate, said on social media that “it’s obvious that people believe in someone that can’t get it done.”

So far, the results have been bad. Nebraska was 4-8 in Frost’s first season, matching the same record in Mike Riley’s last season. Four wins was the lowest output since 1961, when the Huskers went 3-6-1 under William Jennings.

Nebraska has now had three straight losing seasons, and that especially hurts because the preseason hype was that the Huskers were going to be contenders in the Big Ten West, a conference that still sees Wisconsin dominating and Minnesota emerging as a real threat.

Frost is the first coach since Jennings in the 1960s to have back-to-back losing seasons. That did not happen under Riley. It certainly didn’t happen under Bo Pelini, who never had less than nine wins in a season during his time in Lincoln.

Bill Callahan’s tenure at Nebraska was not a bright one, but he turned out 8-4 and 9-5 seasons book-ended by losing campaigns. Frank Solich never had a losing season and won nine or more games in five of six seasons.

In 25 seasons, Tom Osborne never won less than nine games, which is absolutely remarkable. We can go on and on in the chronicles of history, but we have to get to Jennings in the 1960s to see this low level of success for Nebraska football.

It’s hard to fathom, since Frost was so successful at UCF - going 6-7 in his first year there before a 13-0 season that had that program in the national championship conversation.

Recruiting has been going decently, but not to the level to compete for conference championships as the Huskers first have to turn a winning record. Nebraska is ranked seventh in the conference for its 2020 recruiting class with 15 total commits but only two four-stars in a conference that’s dominated in recruiting by Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. That puts Nebraska No. 33 nationally heading into the Early Signing Period.

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FARRELL'S TAKE 

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We ask Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell with the season now over and some time to digest this Nebraska team, are the Huskers as far off as it feels before they get back to national relevancy, and can Frost make major strides forward in an important year three?

“This team is still a few years away and anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. That’s just the way it is. The preseason expectations this year were ridiculous despite the fact that Nebraska improved so much at the end of year one.

"The problem? Roster depth. Frost needs time to bring in and coach up his own guys in his own way and you’ll no longer have a roster that is fragile in the confidence area. That will take a few more years, if it happens at all. Teams are improving in the Big Ten West and it won’t get any easier. The goal next year is to make a bowl game, and that’s it.”

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