Husker Dan: Moos Lets Riley Loose

Category: Football

In a season most Husker fans back in June couldn’t wait to begin, were relieved Friday evening when at last the Nebraska 2017 football season came to a merciful end.

The Huskers’ 4-8 record was full of shameful and embarrassing football and ended with a 56-14 loss to Nebraska’s cross state rival, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

There is no need to pull the scab off the wound and relive the gory details of this past season.  This is a year that should be tossed in the junk heap of Husker football history

Things got so bad Friday that after a botched fake field goal by Nebraska, Hawkeye D-lineman Nathan Bazata from Howells, Nebraska dissed the Huskers by throwing the bones.  Yes.  He threw the bones.

Got that, Adam Carriker?

I hope Scott Frost (or whoever succeeds Mike Riley) uses that moment to inspire the Blackshirts next season.

Actually, the 4-8 season is exactly what the powers that be have been moving toward for these past 20 years or so.  Well, maybe they didn’t do the dismantling on purpose, but all the crappy hires and weird schemes have had the same damaging results.

Somewhere former Husker head coach Bill Callahan is heaving a big sigh of relief, knowing that in the “modern” era of Husker football (post ’61)  he won’t go down as the worst Husker head football coach.

That “title” now belongs to Mike Riley.

And with a three-year record of 19-19, Riley lived up (or down) to his shoddy record at Oregon State where he won a whopping 54% of his games.  And what were we all to expect?  Quietly, Mike Riley has transformed the Nebraska football program into Oregon State’s.  Gulp.

So what’s new AD Bill Moos supposed to do?  His only option was  to fire Mike Riley and most of his staff for their woefully inept performance.

Oh, and did you hear the comment  Moos said in his press conference Saturday?

Moos said he’s a stickler for detail.  “I notice the little things.”  And when he was pressed for some examples, he paused and then spoke about how sacred wearing a Husker uniform should be and that lockers should be clean and treated with respect.  And he added that charter planes should be clean after the team comes back from a road game.

Little things like that can say a ton about a coach and his players.

Remember former UCLA head basketball coach John Wooden?  Before each season began, he would show all the new players how to lace up their shoes. And these weren’t kids who were new to the game of basketball.   They were usually blue chip players who must have thought their new coach was losing it.

No, he wasn’t.  But Wooden was a perfectionist.  He knew there was a right way and a wrong way to do things.  Attention to detail was what Wooden was all about.  His record speaks volumes about the discipline, character, teamwork and dedication he demanded of his players.

Some of Wooden’s quotes:

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

“If you don’t take time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

And so on.

And to be sure, some of Mike Riley’s players told the media how much Riley has meant to them, about how he’d been a mentor to them and what a great coach he was to them.  Nice words.

But one player added, “He made the locker room a family type atmosphere.”

I may be making something out of nothing, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a locker room being family friendly.  Wow.

There have been teachers in my life whom I’ve liked, but the ones who were the best were those who were the most demanding. And those teachers never tried to be my buddy.  They had high expectations and if I didn’t live up to them, there was usually hell to pay.

I was taken aback seeing Mike Riley, soon after he’d been dismissed by Bill Moos, address the media one last time.  I’ve never seen nor ever heard of that ever happening.

It says volumes about the character of Bill Moos to let Riley speak and it says a lot about the character and class of Mike Riley to get up and speak.

Can you imagine for a nanosecond what Bo Pelini would have said after he was fired by Shawn Eichorst?  Cover your ears and run for the hills.

Okay, so one shoe has dropped and we’re all waiting for the other one to hit the floor.  I would think that by next Sunday, December 3rd, the new Husker head coach will be announced.  (I still think it’ll be Scott Frost.)

And if it’s Frost, look for him to focus on his UCF team’s conference championship game this Saturday,  And after that, I would think Frost will be spending time between Orlando and Lincoln until his team’s bowl game is over.

But if the next Husker coach isn’t Scott Frost, then it wasn’t meant to be.  He may want to wait for the next coaching change at Nebraska down the road.  Or he may say, opportunities like Nebraska’s don’t come up very often.

To be sure, Frost can achieve all his football goals coaching the Big Red of Nebraska. He’s already won a NC as a Husker player, wouldn’t it be something for him to win one as the Husker head football coach?

I ask all of you, who is better suited to lead the Huskers than Scott Frost?  Who knows more about the Husker football culture and doing things “The Nebraska Way” than Scott Frost?  If we can’t get Tom Osborne to return to Nebraska, the next best thing is to get the Wizard of Wood River:  Scott Frost.

You may contact the writer at [email protected]
Husker Dan