SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After Thursday night, Scott Frost might have one of the more unique perspectives on Kansas State football.
The former Nebraska quarterback, who guided the Cornhuskers to their last national title in 1997, was 2-0 against the Wildcats as player and then joined the K-State coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2006 under Ron Prince.
Now, the former NFL defensive back is coaching the Oregon wide receivers and getting set to face a K-State football program in the Fiesta Bowl that’s back on the rise and very reminiscent of the Bill Snyder-coached teams he faced 15 years ago.
“Obviously, the success they had the first time and what they’re doing again now looks very similar,” Frost said Monday. “I think they’re doing some of the same things offensively and defensively. More than anything, it’s the work ethic and discipline you see when you watch them play — trademarks of Coach Snyder.
“We respect the heck out of what they do.”
Frost led the Huskers’ offense in 1996 and 97, beating the Wildcats 39-3 his junior year and 56-26 as a senior in 1997 — the same season the Wildcats made their first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl against Syracuse. K-State was a combined 20-4 those two seasons, including a 13-3 mark in the Big 12.
K-State didn’t break the Huskers’ 29-year stranglehold on the series until the 1998 season when the Wildcats edged Nebraska 40-30 in Manhattan, a game that is still regarded as one of the most significant wins in school history.
“We saw Kansas State as a rival there at Nebraska, especially in the later 90s,” he said. “Nebraska and Kansas State were the top two teams in that league at the time, so that was the big game that we had to always get over. They had a ton of talent with Michael Bishop and then Terence Newman after that and a bunch of other guys too. They were always one of our biggest challenges.”
After his NFL career came to a close and he began to have coaching aspirations, Frost accepted a GA position to join Prince’s first staff at K-State following Snyder’s retirement in 2005.
“It didn’t bother me going down there to coach at Kansas State,” Frost said. “I had a lot of respect for the program and it was close to home for me. I think there were some Nebraska fans, initially, that didn’t like it and saw it as a defection, but I got offered a job at Kansas State — not Nebraska.”
Frost was in Manhattan only one season, but has fond memories from his short time there.
“I loved Manhattan,” he said. “The people were great and the support was great. I loved living there and really enjoyed my time there. I enjoyed the fans and because I saw the circumstances and situation in Manhattan, it makes me appreciate even more the job Coach Snyder has done there.”
That 2006 K-State team finished the season 7-6 and played in the Texas Bowl — Prince’s only bowl appearance in his three seasons in Manhattan. That was probably the best staff Prince had at K-State as well, including current Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris and Tim Horton who spent the last five years coaching running backs at Arkansas.
“We had a decent year — had some good wins and beat Texas that year,” Frost said. “It was a little up and down but it was an enjoyable year. I think it was tough for everyone taking over for a legend like Coach Snyder, though. Obviously things didn’t work out after a bunch of us left that staff.”
And what does Frost think of the Wildcats now with Snyder back on the sidelines?
“Kansas State is back in good hands,” he said.
Frost and Snyder share a unique bond, one that goes beyond the two years spent on opposite sides of the field. Following Frost’s senior season he was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game. Snyder was his coach that time.
“That was a neat experience in that game, and I obviously got to know him even better after that,” Frost said. “He was always around in the complex during my year at Kansas State and I was able to visit with him more then. And now, I run back into him here. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him and what he stands for.”