Before the FBS national championship semifinal game last season, Scott Frost had an opportunity to skip town and board a flight to a destination that offered him a position as a head football coach. But Frost cared too much about his Oregon players and passed on the prospect.
The Ducks eventually lost the national championship game to Ohio State, 42-20. As the offensive coordinator since 2013, Frost helped cultivate Marcus Mariota into a Heisman Trophy winner and second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Almost one year later, he couldn’t pass on the opportunity to become UCF’s new head coach.
“I think the sky is the limit for the football program here, and we’re going to get started day one to try to reach that sky,” Frost said. “I could have stayed an offensive coordinator at Oregon for a long time and been happy, but I felt it was time for me to go try to run a program.”
In his suitcase, Frost will bring Oregon’s explosive offense to Orlando, which has averaged more than 553 yards and 44.6 points per game over the past three seasons. At the end of the season, the Ducks total offense ranked No. 6 in 2015, No. 1 in 2014 and No. 2 in 2013. He helped Oregon to a 33-7 record and three bowl appearances in the past three years.
“Can’t wait to bring an exciting style of play to UCF. I know the players that I talked to today seem to be excited about that. We’re going to play hard, we’re going to play fast, and we’re going to do it the right way and we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Frost said. “I knew I could bring the offense I was familiar with here, and there’s players right around here that are going to fit into it and be able to make it thrive.”
UCF director of athletics Danny White, who is more basketball-minded than football, is on the same page as Frost when it comes to heating up UCF’s ice-cold offense.
“I’m really excited about bringing the Oregon brand of offense here to Central Florida,” White said. “As a basketball guy, I’d like to recognize what I don’t know about football, so I do lean on people who are experts in that field. And Scott’s reputation in the sport of football as a person and as a football mind is really unbelievable, very impressive.”
After taking the head coaching position, Frost talked to Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, College Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne, Atlanta Falcons assistant head coach Raheem Morris, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to 2012, for advice on making the transition into his first head coaching role.
“There’s a lot of people in my corner, and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “If there’s ever a question I don’t know the answer to, I’m not so proud that I’m going to act like I do. I’m going to go to people that know the answer and see if I can’t find a way to solve the problem.”
Frost made those connections through his phenomenal pedigree as both a player and a coach. He won a college national championship with Nebraska in 1997. That year, he led the Cornhuskers to a 38-24 victory over UCF and former first round NFL Draft pick Daunte Culpepper.
“We’re going to get this thing turned around. I don’t know if it’s going to take one year or two or four, but I know there’s talent here,” Frost said. “If was a fast kid in the state of Florida, and I knew we were going to play this type of offense here, this place would look really good to me.”
Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JarrodHeil or email him at JarrodH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.