On the heels of a disappointing 2015 season, the UCF football team has been hard at work all summer with new Head Coach Scott Frost. Together, they will introduce a new era in football during the first home game against South Carolina State on Sept. 3.
Frost came to UCF from Oregon in December to give the team a fresh start. The former national champion quarterback for Nebraska and NFL standout is the 10th head football coach in UCF history. What was it that made him choose to become a Knight?
“I always looked at this place from afar and thought that UCF had a ton of potential,” Frost says. “After being here for seven months, it has even more potential than I expected.”
Building a Strong Team
Frost’s first order of business was to hire coaches that shared his ideas about how the program should be run. He now has nine assistant coaches who have his back when it comes to establishing a culture that gives the players opportunities to thrive.
“Every one of them is in the game to compete, but the most rewarding thing to all of them is helping young men,” Frost says. “Helping them come into the program as 18-year-old, fresh-out-of-high-school kids and watching them graduate as 22-year-old, well-adjusted young men.”
The entire coaching staff wants the players to feel like a family, which is why they have scattered unity-building exercises throughout the training schedule. It has also been Frost’s priority to help the players find their love for the game again.
“Coming off an 0-12 season, it’s easy to get discouraged,” he says. “There’s a lot of excitement around this right now, a lot of enthusiasm. Just watching their excitement level and how that leads into their work ethic in the weight room and on the field, I think we’re accomplishing a lot. It’s fun to see those guys having fun.”
Outside of scheduled training sessions, Frost believes that the more he sees the players in the building working out and studying on their own to learn the offensive and defensive strategies, the further they will get as a team.
“We just want to create an environment around here where they feel at home and they feel welcome, and we’ll get more out of everybody,” Frost says.
A Bold, New Look
The UCF football team will be running out of the tunnel on game day with a brand new look designed by Josh Iverson, a senior graphic designer for Nike. With black, white, anthracite and pewter jerseys, pants and helmets, there will be 64 possible uniform combinations, making each game day experience unique.
Iverson drew inspiration for the new design by researching UCF’s past, its location, its mascots, its former players and the program’s #UCFast, #UCFierce and #RiseandConquer mantras. The biggest change to the look will mean a great deal to the players. For the first time since 2004, each player’s name will be highlighted on the back of his jersey.
“I believe that young men that come to our program and put the time and effort in that they need to in order to get on the field and contribute, they’re working way too hard to not have their family and their name recognized,” Frost says. “Allowing them to represent their families on the back of their jerseys is something that I think is well deserved.”
So what will the team be wearing for the first game?
“I think we’re wearing all white at home for the first time in a long time in game one,” Frost says. “Expect the fans to be wearing the same thing.”
Preparing for Game Day
There has been a new mantra on the field since Frost came aboard. “Rise and Conquer” will be hidden on the inside back collar of the team’s uniforms as a nod to the words they have taken to heart as inspiration for a successful season. On the surface, Frost doesn’t want these words to just reflect winning. He wants them to represent each player’s journey in giving all they have to tackle any challenges they encounter.
“Every day I want our guys getting up and attacking whatever challenge is in front of them, whether it’s school, whether it’s off the field, whether it’s practice, whether it’s a game,” Frost says. “Then you put your head on the pillow, and you wake up the next morning and try to do it even better.”
He notes that one of the keys to a successful 2016 season is approaching each game with the same mindset. Instead of setting his sights on one game in particular, Frost is preparing his team to take on each opponent with the same attitude every time. This outcome circles back to the meaning behind “Rise and Conquer.”
“Really it’s us competing against our former selves,” Coach Frost says. “If we’re better than we were the time before we went out there, I think we’ll match up well against everyone.”
Click here to read more from our interview with Scott Frost.
Photo Credit: Eric Dean Photography