Intro: In the span of two weeks, college football has seen two head coaches dismissed from two prominent programs. After Arizona State opted to fire head coach Herm Edwards, he joined former Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who was fired by the university just a week prior to Edwards’ firing. However, if you were to start your own FBS program and needed a new head coach, would you choose between Frost or Edwards? Associate Sports Editor Stratton Stave and Staff Writer Evan Rodriguez will look to put that question to rest in this week’s edition of point/counterpoint.
Stratton: I’ll start off here by noting that neither choice is a particularly optimal choice. Neither option was really able to make it at a big school. However, the option that is clearly worse is Edwards, a coach that has never actually had significant success at the college level. Even at the ripe age of 68, this was his first college head coaching stint. It went about as poorly as ASU could hope, finishing with a record of 26-20. He did all of the normal things, like beating rival Arizona all four times, but he never took the team to the next level, reaching a maximum of eight wins. Along with not being able to post enough wins, he also struggled to follow rules. As reported by The Athletic on Monday, Edwards hosted a number of illegal events for recruits and the investigations for such events has further hurt recruiting. The bottom line is that doing the allegation limbo is only worthwhile if you’re pumping out 10-12 win seasons on the regular, he wasn’t doing anything special and is also pretty old to start trying to teach him how to play the new recruiting game. I’ll take the younger Frost, who has at least proven an ability to win with UCF.
Evan: If I were starting my own FBS program, I too would be searching for options other than Frost or Edwards. However, I also wouldn’t be looking too highly at Frost. Even with his remarkable undefeated year with UCF in 2017, this is a guy who has not come close at all to repeating that success with Nebraska. 16-31 in his tenure with the program is certainly not very encouraging, especially if he’s getting a fresh start with my unproven program. While Edwards didn’t reach the next level with Arizona State, he was still able to do better than Frost did, including two 8-5 seasons. That may not be spectacular, but it’s still more consistent and recent than any of Frost’s Nebraska teams. That’s all without mentioning Edwards’ wealth of experience during his time in the NFL. I’m certainly not condoning any of Edwards’ illegal activities with recruits, but with the experience and skills that he has shown on the field, I’d settle for Edwards.
Stratton: Yes, Frost’s debacle at Nebraska was far from impressive. But as The Athletic’s Faux Pelini eloquently detailed last week, Nebraska football is not an easy job, nor was Frost appropriately equipped to handle it. However, I’ll take Frost over Edwards any day, largely because of the job he did at UCF. He took over a team that went 0-12 the previous year and immediately got them to 6-7 with an appearance in the Cure Bowl. He continued his upward trajectory, notching a perfect 13-0 “National Championship” season in just his second year. For my unproven program, I’ll take the guy who went from zero to 13 wins in just two seasons. On top of that, it’s also critical to mention that Frost is 21 years younger than Edwards at 47. Although Edwards produced a better record in his time coaching, he’s over the hill and has never taken his team to their full potential as a college head coach. Frost has done that, which is why I’m taking him.
Evan: Even with Frost’s great coaching about UCF, I’d be hesitant to take the flier on Frost due to the allegations related to his own time at Nebraska. Frost, while at Nebraska, was known to show up late for practice and not make recruiting phone calls to better the program, according to Fansided’s Husker Corner. This ultimately led to assistant coaches complaining about Frost to the athletic department and it eventually led to his departure. You can say what you want about Frost, but I don’t want a coach who is going to show little excitement for the job and give up on my players and staff. I want a guy who’s going to embrace being my head coach and show excitement not only around the team, but to everyone in college football. That energy not only rubs off on any football staff, but also on the players. According to The Athletic’s Doug Haller, that’s exactly what Edwards displayed during his tenure at Arizona State, labeling him as “a gentleman in an ego-dominated profession.” While Edwards was only able to net a constant 7-8 win peak in college, a combination of consistency along with the energy of Edwards during his time at Arizona State makes me lean more towards Edwards, especially if Frost would exhibit the same attitude he presented at Nebraska at my FBS program.