AAC Championship Football

Central Florida running back Adrian Killins runs for a 2-yard touchdown against Memphis during overtime in the American Athletic Conference championship game Dec. 2. Central Florida is averaging 49 points a game.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Nebraska football fans seem excited about Scott Frost's no-huddle offense and its break-neck pace. 

His teams obviously need speedy skill-position players.

But the offensive line also must operate quickly and efficiently — and that's where Greg Austin enters the equation.

"We always want to play fast when the ball is snapped," the new Husker offensive line coach said Wednesday night during an appearance on the "Sports Nightly" radio program on the Husker Sports Network.

There's more to it than what happens during a play, though.

"What can we do to maximize the time we have between snaps?" Austin said. "It might be getting your eyes back to the sideline (for the next play call), getting to the line of scrimmage, getting your eyes to the defense, seeing all your cues and clues as to what they're going to do, and then being able to be successful throughout the play.

"All that stuff is geared toward being successful, but also pushing the tempo."

Frost, of course, has led Central Florida to a 12-0 record this season on the strength of the offense, which will be tested by a stout Auburn defense in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Day. After the bowl game, Frost will begin duties at Nebraska along with essentially his entire former UCF coaching staff, of which Austin was a part in 2016 and 2017.

The 33-year-old Austin is excited to return to his alma mater, although he admits it took him awhile to fully grasp the magnitude of his big career move.

"It didn't hit me until I got to Nebraska for the first recruiting weekend (earlier this month)," he said. "I was like, 'Dang, I'm back at Nebraska, this is crazy.'"

A native of Cypress, Texas, Austin battled injuries throughout his college career. But he made 18 starts as an offensive guard and was an honorable-mention All-Big 12 selection as a senior in 2006, when the Huskers reached the Big 12 Championship Game.

"The most surreal thing that happened to me was this month when I actually walked on the field for the first time since I played," Austin said. "It was so unique. I had a little emotional moment. It was always so cool to feel all those folks, all those die-hard Nebraska fans cheering you on and really wanting to see the best ball out there.

"I'm excited to be a part of the family again, and get our Huskers going back to where we need to go."

Austin said he formed his working relationship with Frost from 2010-12 when they were together at Oregon — Austin as a coaching intern (2010) and graduate assistant on offense (2011-12), and Frost as a receivers coach.

"We would talk from time to time about what we would do differently and what we would keep the same," Austin said. "And then I made a vow to Coach Frost that, hey, wherever you go, I'll be your offensive line coach, just give me a call."

When Frost took over as UCF's head coach in December 2015, Austin was an assistant offensive line coach with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles under former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Frost sought out Austin to be the Knights' offensive line coach, and suddenly Austin had his first full-time coaching gig at the collegiate level.

Austin's offensive line in 2016 helped UCF become the nation's most improved program, as the Knights went from an 0-12 finish in 2015 to a 6-7 record. This season, the Knights put together the first perfect regular season in school and American Athletic Conference history, fueled by the nation's top-ranked scoring offense at 49.4 points per game.

UCF's offensive line has allowed only 12 sacks to rank sixth nationally. In addition, the Knights average 5.2 yards per carry and have scored 38 rushing touchdowns, which ranks sixth nationally.

UCF now prepares to face an Auburn defense that allows only 17.3 points per game to rank ninth nationally.

Yes, Austin said, it's been a hectic few weeks of essentially working two jobs. He said he tries to take it a day at a time.

"It's been tough at times," he said. "Certainly it's been an eye-opener, so to speak, just in terms of (football), in terms of life, in terms of really enjoying the ride with the guys through this undefeated season, and then kind of transitioning to the next phase of this coaching career for us."

He said it's important to honor the season UCF is having.

"What we did here at UCF certainly was commendable," he said. "Obviously, we're looking to do the same thing at Nebraska here pretty soon."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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