Scott Frost lost five of the six last games in his second year of rebuilding Nebraska’s football fortunes. Jeff Scott, in the second year of South Florida’s rebuilding of football fortunes is on track to repeat the feat. This is important because the similarities between what’s happening now at USF and what happened at Nebraska in 2001 is likely to be a blueprint for what could happen at USF in near future.
While there are many similarities between the programs, there are also some major differences. First, Frost has not suffered a humiliating defeat like Scott last week at Tulane in all four years of his time at Nebraska. Second, Scott constantly emphasizes the team’s progress and continues to improve. However, this has not been apparent on the field.
Frost has lost many games but it is evident from his Cornhuskers that they’re getting better. Nebraska isn’t losing games because it’s being outplayed. It isn’t losing games because it lacks the talent or isn’t as physically strong as its opponent. This season could end with Nebraska finishing at 3-9. But if you change 8 plays and 10 plays, the record could go to 9-3. Nebraska is losing because of making mistakes at crucial times. But that can be fixed.
USF is not a team you can say that about. The Bulls have been outplayed in most of their games against inferior opposition, especially in the second quarter. They are not as physically strong and as talented as their opponents. The team’s performance against Brigham Young was perhaps its best, particularly in the second half. It rallied and won the game in hostile conditions.
While there have been some sputters since then, times when the Bulls are able to play well for a while, such as against Cincinnati and Houston respectively, the majority of the positives Scott points out are difficult to find. This is a season that you would expect the Bulls to get better. If this team doesn’t get together by Friday, it’s very likely that they will lose the season at Central Florida.
However, this does not mean that all is lost. Frost has been called upon to set fire to Nebraska because he hasn’t turned the state around in four years. These calls are not from the program and are useless. Frost is supported by Nebraska’s athletic director and administration. While the fan base might be grumbling, Frost has pretty much kept them in line because they can see progress.
This is what Scott must do to be a success at USF. The school’s athletic director and administration have offered their full support to Scott, despite the frustration in the fan base. They believe that he will be able to turn this around.
Although a win Friday against archrival Central Florida would be a great way to end the season it will not fix what is wrong with this team. Scott must ensure that what happened last year does not happen again in order to justify USF’s faith in him. Next year must show improvement and that it is visible. Scott’s third year at USF must be a success. The team must show it is on the right track, that it can compete with the opposition and win some games.
Scott, as Frost, is weathering the storm. Scott hasn’t lost his confidence in his ability as a coach, nor his belief that he can build a winning program. He has to show the rest of us that it is possible.
PAT’S PICKSUCF Over USF – The Bulls are impossible to pick after the game at Tulane. The rest: Navy wins over Temple, Houston wins over UConn and East Carolina wins over Cincy, Cincy over East Carolina, Cincy over East Carolina, SMU defeats Tulsa, Memphis beats Tulane. Last week, 5-1. The season total was 60-21.