STEVEN M. SIPPLE Star of the Lincoln Journal
You might have missed Scott Frost’s mission statement this week.
It wasn’t an official mission statement, mind you, but it would make a good one.
In any case, he apparently got lost in the hubbub of our strange existence.
Mission statement? Nebraska football fans should hope that what Frost told his team on Monday is something the head coach wholeheartedly believes and has set out to instill in his program every day and in a big way. .
“This thing was built on Blackshirts and Pipeline,” Frost said while handing out Blackshirts, according to a video posted by the college via Twitter. “This mission that we start on Saturday must be led by Blackshirts and Pipeline.”
Frost’s words hit me like a hammer. Well done to the coach.
Those words were meant to be music to the ears of Nebraska fans who genuinely care about the future of the program.
I have a friend who played in Nebraska in the 1970s. He sometimes reminds me that if a football organization is to be successful, it has to be able to impose its will in games.
When I think of “Pipeline,” I think of five behemoths imposing their will in the racing game, in Nebraska in the mid to late 1990s.
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When I think of “Black Shirts” I think of a group that can build momentum and also stem the tide when momentum starts to go the wrong way.
If the Pipeline and Blackshirts lead the way on Saturday for Illinois, if they impose their will in any meaningful way, with something that looks like consistency, I sure like Nebraska’s chances of winning comfortably.
The talk about what I heard coming out of the Nebraska preseason camp this month suggests that Frost is serious about his mission statement (sort of).
Note: Husker running backs coach Ryan Held called the battles in the trenches during practice “a fun sight to watch.”
“Both of these groups have really improved in the weight room and on the pitch,” said Held. “Online and online coaches do a great job. Obviously, outside linebacker coach Mike Dawson did a terrific job with these guys. So it’s a sharpening iron, and in this league it’s all about the lines. If you don’t have the lines that take care of business, it’s a feeling of emptiness when you’re playing.
“These guys worked really hard. Obviously they have to go on Saturday and really play hard and deal with it. “
No disrespect to the American Athletic Conference, where Frost’s stock as a head coach has skyrocketed, but he’s not exactly known to punish play in the trenches.
“In this league (Big Ten), when you look at it, the lines really set the tone for the games,” Held said. “It’s not like we have 50-point games in this league. I mean, you watch games where it’s 20-17. It’s just a game of grind. It’s all about adjustments. It’s all about being where they are meant to be. There is movement for the running backs.
“Three yards is a good game in the Big Ten. Obviously you want more. But in the end, it’s a good play.
It’s a good mentality to verbalize to the players. Constantly.
“The toughest teams and the most disciplined teams win consistently in this league,” Held said.
I am not here to question the physical strength of Nebraska. But the discipline of the Huskers? Well you’ve seen the penalty flags. At the time, it was practically the headlines if the Pipeline was penalized at a critical time. Now you almost expect it.
As for the black shirts, well, we’ve seen a lot of mission busts lead to long runs.
Frost is 12-20 in three seasons here. A lot of things need to be cleaned up.
Give him this, though: he’s apparently moving forward with the right mindset. And, come to think of it, I think it’s safe to say that his mindset has changed since taking office in Nebraska in late 2017.
He admitted last month that he had to adapt to the Big Ten after storming the college game around the world in the AAC.
“You know, in some ways I think we’ve done a lot of good things in Nebraska,” he said at the Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis. “In other ways, there were certain things we needed to get into the league. To learn.
“The game is a little different in this league compared to other leagues I have coached in.”
In Oregon and UCF, an offense can get 95 snaps in a game. In the Big Ten, there are 60 on some Saturdays. The importance of efficiency is intensifying.
I don’t need to tell you about the tenacity of the Big Ten. Her story speaks for itself.
Nebraska’s rich history also speaks for itself. Once upon a time, the Black Shirts and the Pipeline were instrumental in building the place into a national power.
Frost was an essential part of this. In that regard, his mission statement (sort of) certainly makes sense.
At some point this season, I may be able to confidently remove “any kinds”. Maybe we will fully understand that Frost wasn’t just telling his guys something that sounded good at the time.
If you are a Husker fan this sounded really good. It would be even better.