The Nebraska football program is an amazing thing for so many reasons. It has so much power that it can bring an entire state together or turn family members against each other. The fossil fuel energy crisis could be nixed if only the passion for Nebraska football could be harnessed to power the world.
Take that passion, that raw emotion and combine it with a controversial firing, largely confusing hiring and poor record to start a new regime. What you get in today’s world as a result are the hottest of takes from the men and women in the finest suits on ESPN to the Twitterati and Facebook Philosophers.
I’ve seen some bad tweets about head coach Mike Riley and his first batch of Nebraska Cornhuskers. I mean, I have seen some doozies. However, following the Huskers’ 30-28 loss to the Northwestern Wildcats, I can honestly say I read the most absurd tweet about Riley so far.
Shortly after the loss, I (perhaps foolheartedly) threw myself into the lion’s den of conversation. One person I found myself involved with was a follower of mine.
They asked (and I’m paraphrasing) who would be silly enough to come play for a coach that drops so many games such as Riley?
Well, considering I follow the whole recruiting bit, I showed them. Their response floored me.
So let me get this straight. Riley’s going to go out and bring in these guys that are part of a class currently ranked No. 27 overall by the 247Sports Composite Index as of this writing... and they’re going to bolt as sophomores?
Quarterback Patrick O’Brien, arguably one of the best prospects in the country, who will enroll early and be a part of spring practice will leave? The guy has bought into Riley’s culture so much he practically trades his stock on the NASDAQ. He peer recruits for Nebraska.
Three of the best offensive line prospects in the country in No. 2 offensive guard John Raridon, No. 37 offensive tackle Brian Brokop and No. 38 offensive guard Boe Wilson are being bamboozled? What voodoo is at work that has the No. 26 offensive tackle in the nation (Matt Farniok) so heavily engaged in apparently such a horrific head coach’s regime?
One of the best safeties in the country, Marquel Dismuke, is going to up and walk after likely being given every opportunity in the world to become a Blackshirt and wreak havoc?
Let’s take this a step further. Keyshawn Johnson’s essentially escorting kids (including his own son) to Nebraska to see what Riley is setting up because he believes in the man, loves him as a mentor, but Riley’s a “clown”?
Recruits are some of the luckiest people in this situation because they don’t look at simple numbers like a record eight games into a season. That’s lazy.
They and the people closest to them get the opportunity to talk to every coach including Riley. From all instances I’m aware of (a fair number), not only do families love him, but the kids do, too.
Perhaps the most important point of this dissertation is underscoring the fact that he’s going nowhere. Barring seasons like this for another two or three years, he’s safe. He’s likely at Nebraska for at least five years unless he wants to leave.
That’s the thing, though. The culture he’s working to instill doesn’t take hold over the course of one season and I’m not going to lie, it might not over two.
What I can tell you about Riley is that he is no fool. He knows that Nebraska fans want to win big. He does, too despite what might be said or at worst believed.
In fact, considering the work ethic of not only him but also his staff, I’m willing to bet not only will his recruits not suddenly transfer, but also will work their butts off to get him his wins.
Time for someone to top this tweet. I know you’re out there.