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Home ยป Nebraska football: Best options to replace Scott Frost as head coach – Sports Illustrated

Nebraska football: Best options to replace Scott Frost as head coach – Sports Illustrated

After the Cornhuskers' shock defeat at home to Georgia Southern, it was a matter when, not if, Nebraska would fire football coach Scott Frost.
Not much more than 12 hours later, Nebraska made it official, ending a project that seemed like a slam dunk at the beginning, but which ended with a sub .500 record and a frankly shocking 5-22 mark in one-score games.
It's been a rough generation for Nebraska football since Frost quarterbacked that legendary most recent national championship team in 1997.
Since then, following Tom Osborne's departure, the Cornhuskers have won 10 games in a season just 4 times, 3 of which came under Bo Pelini.
Six coaches have tried to maintain the Nebraska standard since the twin dynasties built up by Osborne and Bob Devaney before him.
Now, a seventh will take up the mantle. Nebraska needs a difference maker, an aggressive recruiter, a proactive strategist, and an overall program-builder. Who fits that bill? Let's take a look at the options.
Nebraska is at a crossroads: Who can revive the Cornhuskers' fortunes?
Bill O'Brien. If you're into coaching trees, O'Brien hails from one of the best, working previously for Bill Belichick and currently for Nick Saban as Alabama's offensive coordinator. Plus, he was in charge of the Penn State program during its recent turmoil amid the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He was 15-9 in that time, not an ideal mark, but has the needed experience leading a program in the Big Ten and knows how to attract and develop top-flight talent.
Jim Leonhard. One of college football's premier young defensive strategists, the former Badgers player has done a solid job developing the unit at his alma mater, which ranked No. 1 in total defense a year ago, ahead of national champion Georgia. And his defenses have ranked top 5 in each of the last 5 seasons. Production and consistency have defined his tenure, but would he leave for a Big Ten West rival? If you're Nebraska, you have to try.
Jeff Lebby. A potential outlier given Lebby just got a new job this offseason, as offensive coordinator for Brent Venables at Oklahoma. But wherever he goes, the offense tends to play well. He created a top 10 unit at UCF and then again at Ole Miss last season, and is a reputable recruiter at the skill positions.
Matt Campbell. Who was watching what Iowa State did before Campbell arrived there? He helped put the Cyclones on the map the last few years, including an AP top 10 ranking two seasons ago and a bowl win over Oregon. ISU went 7-6 a year ago, which puts some question marks over Campbell's ability to maintain that success, but he emerged as a major name in the move to replace Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
Charles Huff. Nebraska would do well to do some homework on the current Marshall coach, recently off a career highlight victory over No. 8 Notre Dame on the road and boasts experience as the assistant to Nick Saban during a national title run. Plus, Huff is regarded by analysts as a blue-chip recruiter wherever he's been. It might be premature for Huff to step into the Power 5, but he is a name to watch.
Mark Stoops. Exactly the kind of program builder Nebraska needs. Over the last decade, Stoops has steadily made Kentucky into a solid program with 5 winning seasons in the last 6 years and a pair of 10-win seasons. That's not easy to do in the SEC, and you wonder what kind of advantage he would have going against the Big Ten, especially with the kind of resources that Nebraska can command. He might be tough to pry away from Kentucky, especially after a recent, spirited defense of his project in a war of words with John Calipari, or could Stoops get the feeling he's peaked there?
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