ATLANTA — Central Florida coach Scott Frost and nine of his assistants will be full-time Nebraska employees immediately after Monday’s Peach Bowl game against Auburn.
Until then, they’ve worked almost nonstop to make sure the Central Florida players feel no disruption in their normal routines.
Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton knows that hasn’t been easy.
“I give our coaching staff a lot of credit,” Milton said Friday. “They would be out till the wee hours of the night recruiting for Nebraska and then still coming to practice at 7 or 8 a.m. to help us game-plan and get ready for this bowl game.”
Frost, The Associated Press coach of the year , and his assistants will finish out the season as No. 10 Central Florida (12-0) tries to complete an undefeated season against No. 7 Auburn.
Frost was hired by Nebraska , his alma mater, on Dec. 2, about two hours after the Knights beat Memphis 62-55 in two overtimes in the American Athletic Conference championship game. Frost agreed to a seven-year, $35 million contract, and he’s bringing most of his Central Florida staff to Nebraska.
Offensive coordinator Troy Walters was named interim bowl coach, giving him fill-in head coach responsibilities when Frost was needed at Nebraska this month. But Walters said Frost and the staff wanted players to feel no disruption to their normal practice routine.
“The first few days when they made the announcement, he had to fly to Nebraska, so I was around for the first three or four days right after the announcement,” Walters said, adding that otherwise the staff “had not skipped a beat.”
“It’s really been the same as the regular season,” he said. “That’s what we wanted. As a staff, we wanted to coach these guys. We wanted to finish. Coach Frost wanted to finish, and we wanted to be as routine as it could be. We want familiarity. What we’ve done all year, that’s what we’re doing leading up to this game, and that gives us the best chance to win.”
Former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was announced as the Knights’ new coach only three days after Frost was hired by Nebraska. Heupel will watch his new team from a private box seat at Mercedes-Benz Stadium but has not been involved in preparations for the game.
The Central Florida assistants who join Frost at Nebraska include: offensive line coach Greg Austin, tight ends coach Sean Beckton, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, defensive line coach Mike Dawson, outside linebackers-special teams coach Jovan Dewitt, defensive backs coach Travis Fisher, running backs coach Ryan Held, quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco and Walters, the offensive coordinator.
Frost didn’t discuss the transition at his first bowl news conference on Wednesday.
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was Nebraska’s linebackers coach when Frost began his playing career with as the Cornhuskers’ quarterback, transferring from Stanford in 1994. Steele said Frost’s decision to stay with the Knights through the bowl game was no surprise.
“I know Scott and the kind of person that he is so it doesn’t surprise me that he wanted to finish what he started, and not for himself but for the guys on the team,” Steele said.
Milton said the coaches have been “reminiscing on the year and the time they’ve had with us.”
“We know they care about us,” he said. “We know they love us. It’s unfortunate that they’re leaving but they’ve got to do what’s best for their families and their careers. … It’s been a special ride with them and we want to finish it the right way.”