LINCOLN — At some point, you have to commit to something.
The University of Nebraska took that step again Saturday morning. University officials had a clear message for all those in the state when they gave Husker coach Scott Frost a two-year extension on his contract.
It was a seven-year deal when he first signed. Now he’s got two more years running through 2026.
The fact that the Huskers dropped a 37-21 decision to Wisconsin Saturday at Memorial Stadium didn’t surprise many people. The Huskers were a 14-point underdog after all to a Badger team still in the running for a Big Ten West Division title.
Extending Frost’s contract would hopefully quiet some of the naysayers who have been vocal about what’s happened with the program this season. They’re always going to be out there, a small minority who make a lot of noise when things aren’t going well.
The university has made its choice. Frost is its guy and fans might as well realize that.
Frost said he’s grateful to the leadership at the university.
“This is where I want to be,” Frost said. “People in Nebraska know me pretty well and I’m a fighter and I’m not going to quit until this is right. We took the Nebraska job as a staff because we figured we had the runway to build this and build it the right way. In a lot of ways there was more work to be done than we even anticipated before we came to Lincoln, and there’s still things to do to get right.”
The Huskers got a lot right Saturday. They moved the ball up and down the field with 493 yards of offense against one of the best defenses around. The Huskers just didn’t put it in the end zone enough.
And they “held” superstar Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor to 204 total yards. That’s a big day, but not as big as the last two days he’s had against the Huskers when he ran for 249 and 221 yards.
And you had to like the running game with Dedrick Mills exploding for 188 yards on just 17 carries. The Huskers have struggled on the ground much of the season, but they found something that would work against the Badgers.
Frost expected better this season. There’s no doubt about that. Things just haven’t gone well for the Husker program.
“We are going to get this done,” Frost said. “I think everybody, including me, hoped it would flip this year and it seems like we’re miles away and we are this close at the same time. A few more pieces, a few more plays, and this whole thing looks different.”
Quarterback Adrian Martinez has the utmost confidence in his coach, and was happy to see him get an extension.
“I’m pumped about that,” Martinez said. “I think Coach Frost deserves it, he’s going to get this thing right. And ultimately, it’s going to be up to us as the players to go out there and execute. I’m excited for him. I think it’s a good thing for Nebraska football, and we’re going to continue to build this thing.”
Frost hasn’t been the only one taking heat this season. Martinez hasn’t been as sharp as expected much of this year, so every time a play doesn’t go right, there are those who are ready to jump all over him.
His coach isn’t one of those. Frost knows what it’s like to play quarterback at Nebraska, something he did back in 1996 and 1997.
“That kid has gone through a lot through our struggles,” Frost said. “I went through it when we were 11-2 and I was the most hated guy in the state of Nebraska. I went through it and it’s hard. He’s been battling like a warrior. He hasn’t been 100% for much of this year. He played a lot like the guy we all expect him to be today except for a couple of plays.”
Martinez won’t say it’s been easy. It hasn’t.
“It is tough seeing some of the things and hearing this or that, but I have my family, I have my teammates, and more importantly these coaches who believe in me,” Martinez said. “No one has turned their back on me as a player or as a person. I will be forever grateful.”
So the university believe in its coach, and the coach believes in his quarterback. Those who like to complain about both just as well accept it for now.
They’re going to be here for awhile longer.
Bob Hamar is sports editor for The Independent.