Scott Frost, who instilled a toughness in the Ducks’ wide receivers corps for four years, has incorporated that same mentality at a position where he was one of the nation’s best while quarterbacking his alma mater to the 1997 National Championship.
But just as important was the understanding he accrued coordinating the program’s offense for the first time a year ago that promises to lead to further success a second time around.
Frost has gained a wealth of experience as a standout at the collegiate and professional levels, as well as from a coaching perspective. It certainly didn’t hurt that he benefitted from having one of the best quarterbacks in the country at his disposal to help engineer an offense that averaged better than 500 yards of total offense for the fourth year in a row. In addition, Oregon’s 291.5 passing yards-per-game represented its highest output in eight seasons.
The 39-year-old Lincoln, Neb., native helped orchestrate an offense that averaged 55.6 points and better than 632 yards of total offense through the first two months of the season when it was operating on all cylinders before completing the regular season second in the country in total offense (565.0), fourth in scoring (45.5) and ninth in rushing (273.5).
He also benefitted from Oregon being the only program in the Pac-12 to boast of a 1,000-yard rusher (Byron Marshall) and 1,000-yard receiver (Josh Huff).
Prior to initially joining the Oregon staff as its wide receivers coach in January 2009, Frost had served one year as defensive coordinator at the University of Northern Iowa (2008) and two seasons as the Panthers’ linebackers coach (2007-08).
He possesses a unique array of experience as a standout collegiate quarterback who also has a coaching background encompassing the defensive side of the ball and special teams. He quarterbacked the University of Nebraska to the 1997 national championship over Tennessee, 42-17, with the two-year starter leading the Cornhuskers to a 24-2 record after lettering two years at Stanford.
As a player, Frost was tutored by some of the legendary football coaching minds of all time, including Stanford’s Bill Walsh and Nebraska’s Tom Osborne, as well as the New York Jets’ Bill Parcells in the NFL.
His expertise as a collegiate standout and coach, as well as a six-year NFL veteran, has been vital to Oregon’s unprecedented success during his Eugene tenure. Among his contributions has been the implementation of a mentality instilled as a defender as well as the moxie of a national championship competitor. He was instrumental in instituting a toughness among his receivers that enhanced their ability as downfield blockers, which has contributed to the success of the Ducks’ running game that has paced the conference in rushing each of the past eight seasons.
He has displayed the versatility to adapt to situations that run the gamut from refining the talents of proven commodities to tutoring less experienced pupils. Despite Oregon ranking third in the country in rushing in 2012 while averaging better than 300 yards per game on the ground for the first time in the program’s history (315.2 avg.), 18 players accumulated more catches (250) that year than in the previous six seasons.
Two years ago, the Ducks’ wide receivers hauled in 150 catches compared with 115 receptions in 2011.
That number of completions improved to 256 last season while the 3,789 passing yards represented the program’s best in 15 years as well as the second-most in school history.
His first year at Oregon (2009), he inherited one of the Ducks’ most inexperienced units and enhanced its development into a reliable corps, helping Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis develop into NFL players who could be relied upon to make plays both catching the football and blocking downfield.
While Oregon returned a trio of starting wide receivers heading into the 2010 season, Frost played a vital role in improving their production catching the football while further honing their blocking skills. One result was a breakout year for Maehl, who became a first-team all-conference choice, set the Ducks’ single-season record with 12 touchdown catches, led the single-season mark with 77 receptions and finished as the program’s first 1,000-yard receiver in five seasons.
However he successfully navigated one of his more challenging situations in 2011. Molding a wide receiver contingent that boasted of only two players who had accumulated as many as 10 career catches at the Division I level, he helped devise schemes that would result in the Ducks accounting for 30 or more touchdowns through the air for only the fourth time in school history.
After quarterbacking Nebraska to an unblemished 13-0 record in 1997 and enjoying a six-year NFL playing career, the second-team all-Big 12 Conference standout broke into the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 2002 before filling the same role at Kansas State in 2006. He then initiated a two-year stint at Northern Iowa in 2007, where the school finished sixth in the country against the run (91.0 avg.) and seventh in scoring defense (16.9 avg.).
The Panthers completed 2008 with a 12-3 record after posting a 12-1 mark the previous year.
They tied for third in the Football Championship Subdivision in takeaways (40) and ninth in the country in scoring defense (17.7 ppg) in his final year at the school, dropping a 21-20 decision to Richmond in the national championship semifinals.
As a Nebraska standout, the 1997 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist completed 192 of 359 passes for 2,677 yards and 18 touchdowns. Included was a senior season in which he became only the 10th player in college football history to both run (1,095 yds.) and pass (1,237 yds.) for 1,000 yards in a single season.
His 2,332 yards of total offense fell one yard shy of what was then the school’s single-season record set in 1971.
Following his collegiate career, Frost was selected in the third round (67th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, where he played safety and special teams from 1998-2000. His professional football career included stops in Cleveland (2001), Green Bay (2001-02) and Tampa Bay (2004).
The second-team Academic All-American and two-time first-team academic all-conference choice graduated with a B.A. degree in finance from Nebraska in 1997.