The offense run by the Oregon Ducks over the last half-decade has been nothing short of legendary. According to Sports Illustrated, new head coach Mark Helfrich, himself the program’s offensive coordinator under the now-departed Chip Kelly, tabbed former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost to run it.
Frost, at 38 years old, had been the wide receivers coach in Eugene for the last four seasons. Prior to his time with the Ducks, Frost was the defensive coordinator at Northern Iowa.
Frost quarterbacked the undefeated Nebraska team that beat Tennessee to win the 1997 Orange Bowl.
“Scott is a bright, passionate and talented young coach who we are excited to lead our offense,” Helfrich said in a statement released by the Ducks. “His background on both sides of the ball, the coaches he’s been exposed to and his high character offer further foundations for his success. Surrounded by the continuity and support from the rest of our staff, we are confidently looking forward to this program’s continued success.”
‘Continuity’ has been the operative word at Oregon since Kelly left for the NFL. The offensive innovator, after announcing that he would return to campus, instead accepting the opportunity to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. His decision to leave the program was made extremely late. Thus, instead of looking to bring a coach in from outside, the Oregon athletic department entrusted the program to Helfrich.
The Ducks finished ranked No. 2 in the final AP Poll, finishing the year with a 12-1 overall record and a 35-17 beating of Kansas State in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl.
Now Helfrich is entrusting his elite offense to Frost.
Frost started for the Cornhuskers for two seasons under legendary former head coach Tom Osborn. He was a dual threat before such a quarterback was in vogue. As a senior, Frost ran for 1,095 yards and passed for another 1,237 in leading the Huskers to a 13-0 season. The year was capped by the aforementioned 42-17 Orange Bowl victory over the Volunteers.
He should thus understand precisely how to maximize the talents of Oregon’s star quarterback Marcus Mariota. As a redshirt freshman, the Hawaiian native average 7.1 yards per carry in taking 106 attempts for 752 yards and five scores. He was, however, absolutely deadly through the air, completing 68.5-percent of his passes for 2,677 yards, 32 touchdowns and a mere six interceptions.
Frost spent six seasons in the NFL. He was a third-round pick of the New York Jets in the 1998 draft and made stops in Cleveland, Green Bay and Tampa Bay before going into coaching.