DALLAS, Tex. – Scott Frost walked into the post-game press conference Saturday night and settled into his chair, showing signs of an extreme mental and emotional battle that had nothing to do with the one-score victory his team had just pulled out.
He looked shell-shocked.
“I’m exhausted,” he said. “The players played their tails off, I’m so proud of this team for finding ways to win in a close game on the road.”
Forget the national career spotlight. Frost’s biggest battle, biggest distraction over the past few weeks has been the impending birth of his first child – expected to be a baby boy.
“It took a lot out of me,” the head coach said about handling the added stress. “I just didn’t have the energy [in this game]. I’m glad the kids brought it. I’m glad the assistants brought it.”
There has been a plan in place for weeks in the event that his wife would go into labor while he was away. Frost would leave the game – any game – if something happened, including a tight fight to the last possession with SMU.
“Jared, who follows me around all of the time – sometimes I like that he follows me around, sometimes I don’t – he had a phone in his pocket,” said Frost about the batphone that would deliver the news of his son’s delivery.
He was not forced to leave the team in their scrappiest dog fight of the season, but wasn’t exactly 100% in the moment, either.
“It would have been [tough to leave in a game like that] but sometimes during that game I thought about handing the calls over to Troy, just because I knew he was prepped and ready to go,” Frost admitted.
“Shoot, I’ve got a ton of confidence in myself to call plays, I’ve been doing it a long time pretty well, but sometimes you’ve got to bring in a relief pitcher.”
It was one of the first moments since arriving at UCF that Scott Frost didn’t put his fiercely competitive nature at the forefront of his message. Frost has held the cards close to his chest through a year and a half in Orlando, but he let honest emotion bear face when speaking about the family he is starting.
“I’ve been nervous not wanting to miss that and wanting to be there for her,” he said. “I told the team in the locker room thanks for, whenever he comes, thanks for making his birthday happier for me.”
After the game ended he went straight into the locker room with his players, and then straight into the press conference. Frost hadn’t spoken to his wife yet, saying that he would have heard by now if anything urgent had happened. Theoretically, all of his needs were taken care of, any possibility was going to be met with complete compliance from the UCF staff.
A private donor jet would have been ready at any point to whisk away the Cornhusker back to Orlando.
“Again, I want to thank Danny [White] for providing a way for me to get home if I needed to. Bob Garvey also was instrumental in me getting home if I needed to.”
“One thing I think we talked about a little was me coming on Saturday morning instead of last night in case it happened last night, but I wanted to be with the team.”
Frost rolled the dice and sent out a prayer for Sunday at the earliest, but made sure that his wife would not be alone while he was out of town. Quarterback Coach Mario Verduzco’s wife was there to keep her company throughout.
“I’ve got good friends and good people around,” he said with finality.
The team landed back in Orlando in the breaking hours of Sunday morning, leaving less than a full day’s rest before returning to business. Frost’s mental anguish doesn’t get much easier from here, but a full twelve days at home before the next out of town trip is a nice buffer to settle into a new routine.
“I’m just lucky it worked out this way, so I can get home to see it. I hope.”