Nebraska’s Frost says he and new OC Whipple on same page

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Embattled Nebraska coach Scott Frost said there is no tension between him and new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple following the Cornhuskers’ season-opening loss to Northwestern in Ireland.

Frost, 15-30 over five seasons, said in his remarks minutes after the 31-28 loss that the Huskers need to be more creative on offense and the coaching staff must work together better.

His comments were interpreted in some quarters as criticism of Whipple, who took over the play-calling duties from Frost when he was hired away from Pittsburgh.

Asked at his weekly news conference if he and Whipple were at odds, Frost said, “No, not at all. He’s really smart. Really good at what he does. We have a lot of other coaches who are really smart and good at what they do. We need to find our rhythm of putting all the best stuff together. I thought it was good on Saturday. It can be better.”

Whipple is scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday. The Huskers play North Dakota this weekend.

Frost had called plays for nearly a decade, since his time as an assistant at Oregon, and he understands the singular focus the task requires.

“Simply said, if I was calling a game, I wouldn’t want somebody else shoving a lot of stuff down my throat,” he said. “You get in a rhythm as a play-caller. That’s the approach I took. Whip’s an elite play-caller. I think that showed up in the first two-and-a-half quarters. You see what can be done with this offense.”

In the first half, the Huskers’ offense was as sharp as it’s been at any point in the Frost era. But it bogged down in the middle of the third quarter and never recovered, and the running game did next to nothing besides Anthony Grant‘s 46-yard touchdown run.

Frost has taken full blame for his ill-advised call for an onside kick when the Huskers led Northwestern 28-17 in the third quarter. The Wildcats recovered at the Nebraska 44, seized the momentum and scored two touchdowns while the Huskers’ offense went dormant.

Frost raised eyebrows with two postgame comments. First, he said, “I think we’re going to have to learn as an offensive staff that you’ve got to be a little creative in this league.”

Later, he acknowledged it’s been difficult for him to give up play-calling.

“I’ve said this, there’s no one way to do things, but I think we can cooperate a little bit more,” he said.

The Huskers rushed for only 110 yards, mostly on plays run between the tackles.

“In the Big Ten it’s hard to just turn around and hand it to a back and think you’re going to be real consistent,” he said Tuesday. “I think I was referring (in the Saturday postgame) to having a few more things in the run game that are schemed for the particular opponent.”

There was one designed run for quarterback Casey Thompson, his 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and backup Logan Smothers entered for one play and carried for 7 yards.

Asked if he would have liked to run the quarterback more, Frost said, “We did run some of it. If I was calling it, maybe we’d call a little more, but I also wouldn’t have been able to call the things (Whipple) did to score us the first 28 points. It’s going to have to be a marriage of different things and I think we’ll continue to get better at that.”

The Huskers finished with 465 yards, but they netted just 84 on their last six possessions.

“It was 75 plays on offense, and not a lot of complaints about the play calls from my end,” said Thompson, who passed for 355 yards. “I think every run and pass play we could have executed. We have to make a few changes and adjustments.”

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”