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Scott Frost says tweaks, not 'drastic changes,' are what's needed at Nebraska

At 15-29 and heading into a make-or-break season, Scott Frost is using the approach that got him the Nebraska job in order to keep the Nebraska job.

The 2022 Nebraska season will be a fascinating one, however it unfolds. 

AD Trev Alberts announced last November he would retain Scott Frost for another season, despite his 3-7 record at the time. "There's not a lot of empirical data out there to suggest this will work, let's be honest," he said. Nebraska would then lose its final two games.

And while Nebraska did go 1-8 in Big Ten play (3-9 overall) last season, it was the weirdest 1-8 you'll ever see. With a 56-7 blowout of Northwestern, seven 1-score losses and an eighth loss by nine points, Nebraska somehow went 1-8 while scoring 239 points and allowing 239 points. Within those eight Big Ten losses existed an entire catalogue of defeat:

-- In a 35-28 defeat to Wisconsin, Nebraska had a 1st-and-10 at the Wisconsin 11 in the game's final minute... and ended the game by throwing incomplete on 4th-and-20 from the 21.

-- Adrian Martinez threw an interception to open overtime in a 23-20 loss to Michigan State.

-- Martinez fumbled in a 29-29 game in an eventual 32-29 loss to Michigan.

-- Nebraska held Ohio State to a season-low 26 points in a 26-17 loss. The Huskers went 2-for-13 on third down. 

-- A 21-9 fourth quarter lead over Iowa turned into a 28-21 loss thanks to a blocked punt for a touchdown, a second safety (another sack in the end zone!), and a 55-yard breakaway run. 

-- The Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue, losses were "1-score" because Nebraska scored late to bring the deficit within eight points . 

Frost says he's watched each game "50 times apiece," and the lesson he learned is that Nebraska needs to stay the course.

“If you believe you’re doing things the right way – which we do – I think drastic changes are a mistake,” Frost said on his monthly call-in radio show, via the Omaha World-Herald. “Tweaks are what you need. Not being stuck in your ways, but looking for ways to improve, ways to do things a little bit different.

“We can’t change the basis of what we do and how we do it – because I’ve seen it work before, it has worked, it will work, it does work. Particularly as close as we were in almost every game last year, we’re always looking for one little way to get that much better. Major, drastic changes probably aren’t what you need.”

It's not completely accurate to say Frost is simply running it back from 2021. The entire offensive staff is new, save for tight ends coach Sean Beckton. 

Frost is correct in that the same formula he's using at Nebraska resulted in a 13-0 season at UCF, but that 13-0 season is the only winning record Frost has produced in six seasons as a head coach. You can write 2021's 3-9 mark off as a Murphy's Law anamoly, but how do you explain the 4-8 record of 2018, the 5-7 mark of 2019, and the 3-5 record of 2020? 

Heading into a make-or-break year, Frost is 15-29. He's lost nearly twice as many games as he's won, over a large-enough sample size. Given all that, is it folly to change his approach this far into the process? Would the players see through Frost, casting him as someone trying to be someone he's not as his tenure hits crunch time? Or are the past four seasons all the evidence one needs that Frost's approach hasn't worked before and is unlikely to work in the future, and therefore it's time to do something different right this second before it's too late? I ask out of genuine curiosity, not of rhetorical condescension, because I think successful coaches can argue it both ways. 

Either way, the 2022 Nebraska season will give us our answer.