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Dirk Chatelain, a columnist with the Omaha World-Herald, posed the question.

In headline: “If Scott Frost fails to redeem Nebraska, what’s left to try?”

In response to seeing that headline, I posted the following on my Facebook page, and to put in succinctly, I don’t have an answer.

I am certainly no Nebraska fan, and yes I know their coaches, players, athletic department, etc., all want to win just as badly as any other in the Big 10.

But maybe it’s time to admit, hard as it may be to do so, that maybe that era of dominance has passed by. Time has passed by Nebraska, at least for now.

Sportswriters and fans have pointed at many of the same things these past four seasons: missed extra points, missed big plays in clutch situations, penalties, turnovers and so forth.

But it could be just that maybe Scott Frost isn’t the savior Nebraska was hoping for.

The teams under Frost have just seemed to lack the mental toughness, the ability, the line play and the greatness, all of those things (and perhaps more) that made Nebraska among the great programs in the nation.

And remember: The recent allegations against Nebraska – improper use of analysts and consultants during practices, and participating in unauthorized team workouts during the COVID-19 surge a year ago – certainly isn’t helping matters.

Any way you look at things, it surely doesn’t look good for Scott Frost, someone who had such promise when he came back to Nebraska nearly four years ago but failed to deliver.

Is the right coach out there? Maybe. Take a look at Iowa. Forest Evashevski led Iowa to perhaps its greatest era to that time, with two Rose Bowl berths. Jerry Burns came in as his successor in 1961, the year the Hawkeyes opened the year at No. 1 in the first Associated Press poll. However, the Hawkeyes underachieved and finished 5-4 ... the last winning season there’d be for 20 years.

In the next two decades, Iowa went through four head coaches: Burns, Ray Nagel, Frank Lauterber and Bob Commings. A fifth coach, a man named Hayden Fry, had two difficult seasons before things finally turned around in 1981 and the Hawkeyes made their memorable Rose Bowl run.

So that might be the state Nebraska football may be in right now – coaches that have good track records and promise but in the end just aren’t the right fit for this particular job.

So going back to Chatelain’s question, “What’s left to try?” I’d pose it as “Who’s left to try?”

Again, I’m no Nebraska fan by any stretch of the imagination, and I know that now might be the time for many of those teams who the Osborne-era Huskers literally obliterated over the years to return the favor.

But who can bring Nebraska back to its butt-kicking glory? When scoring 70 points was another day at the office, and winning those rivalry games against teams like Oklahoma and Colorado, and winning national championships or in the very least New Year’s Day bowls and 10 wins was just another season?

Unless something changes right now and/or the allegations against the program are disproven, Nebraska fans may soon find out.

* * *

Opening week of football went well for the area, with local teams going 6-2 to begin the season.

ACGC and AHSTW won exciting, down-to-the-wire contests, while Audubon, CAM, Exira-EHK and Riverside all won fairly handily.

Atlantic will be looking to bounce back after a shutout loss to Glenwood. There were some bright spots, such as Caden Andersen’s play at quarterback and his favorite wide receiver, Garrett McLaren, grabbing several catches that went for nice gains. So some things to build upon.

Griswold has a few chances later in the season to crack the win column, and the first chance comes this Friday when they host Bedford.

If you get a chance to get to a ball game, please do. There are some exciting teams out there, as Week 1 bore out, and if things continue on that track it will be one memorable season.

As you can see by the ad on the lower right hand of this page, we are looking for some help. We do have a stringer as well as a reporter from the Guthrie Center already helping us, but we’re looking to increase our force by a couple of reporters and/or photographers, especially on Friday nights.

If you can help us, please call. You’ll be spreading the love of your local teams for all of southwest Iowa and showing why we’re a hotbed for prep sports!

* * *

A week from now, we’ll try my surgery on my back again.

To reiterate: It’s a lypoma surgery, to remove a non-cancerous lump in my back. It’s been bothering me for a few years as the lump has grown, and it’s perhaps long since time to remove it.

The surgery will be at Cass Health system.

I had a few questions related to the surgery itself – none related to COVID-19 and the current surge – that had me putting things off. Now that we got that all out of the way, hopefully the surgery can go on and the matter removed.

So fingers crossed that all goes well.

To reach Brian Rathjen, send correspondence to sports@ant-news.com or phone (712) 243-2624.

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