Mike Riley postgame quotes: 2017 Ohio State

Opening Statement

“All right well there’s not a lot of anything happy, good to say about that one, that was a really disappointing loss, and how it was, for sure, how it started and continued through it, so I think with that, I’ll just open it up to some questions.”

 On what he was thinking as the game went on

“I think that, if you can just take it piece-by-piece, as I was looking at it, offensively, Ohio State, when they are rolling and have the running back going, the quarterback going, the run-option stuff going and the quarterback’s going like that, that’s kind of, like I’ve said for a while, the standard. They have both the talent and the execution to make it look like that and we had an impossible time, it looked like, getting them off their flow, which we didn’t. So I think that what I’m looking at now from our team, because I think we ended up playing, and these aren’t excuses, but we ended up playing without our three safeties, basically, and so there were some new guys playing in there. I don’t think anybody on our team quit, I think we had just a hard time tackling them, stopping them, catching them, so I think that probably for us now, as coaches, what we have to do is, we can learn some stuff from this game and also use it at this time of year with the bye coming and a chance for maybe Antonio [Reed], Aaron [Williams] and Josh Kalu to get back in there and get healthy and get everybody else, could kind of use it as a reboot going into these last five. I think that’s, and I know not everybody wants to hear that right now, but that’s where I’m at, thinking about what’s best mentally, physically for this team. That’s how I’ve got to get them thinking that they can appreciate the fact, I think, the guys continued to try to make plays, even though we didn’t. I think that certainly some people offensively kept trying, just love JD Spielman, how he fights, and I think Tanner Lee is a good player. I really do.”

 On the fight and energy of the team out of the gate

“I didn’t see anything that was- if you just looked at the football, and it wasn’t good either side of the ball to get started, I think you could say something like maybe that was exactly the case, I don’t know if I didn’t see that as much as just not able to make a play. We’ve been fairly realistic about where this team appears to be overall and then week-to-week, as I’ve talked to you about that, and I didn’t sense anything about them not getting ready, us not getting them ready, them not getting ready to really go after it. I think that we really just had a hard time, obviously, keeping up with what they were doing with the totality of their offense.”

 On what perspective this game grants Riley

“I think that that certainly is, it certainly does paint a picture of where you have to go if you really want to do what everybody wants to do here. That’s what’s going to have to happen, the competition with that team, those players, that talent, that’s what so, and that’s all OK, but that’s the realism of it. So it’s a measuring stick.”

 On how to repair the psyche of the team after tonight’s loss

“I think that frankly, I’ve got a feeling this team has a trust within the building, within our locker room, within our staff, that they will believe that we’re going to come back and get better. And you know, when you’re playing a game like that, it certainly doesn’t even seem like it, but there are individuals that are getting better within our team that haven’t played much before, and I know that sounds funny in a game that just looked like that, but as we look at that, and then we go into the bye week and kind of regroup and get some more guys, those, like Josh [Kalu] redid his hamstring tonight and I just hope it’s not that bad where he can be back, so we can get a little bit fuller strength. What I’m saying is I trust this team will do that, I really don’t think that they’ll not continue to grow. This whole year, for the big picture of this thing, is about growth, and particularly right now, it’s really all about that. So you have, you can just start taking the parts, the quarterback, the receiver, the 3-4 defense, all that, for me now, that’s what’s going to be the deal, now the result that we want with that growth as we go down the stretch is winning the games, but it’s still about growth.”

 On what the plans are for the team for on bye week

“It’s a balance of practice and rest. We’ll practice for sure, and we’ll pick out some of the key elements for each position to get better and probably talk about that individually for the players too. We also don’t want to over do it, this is their one chance to have a bye and so we’ll probably have three days of practice, five days of meetings and a couple more days of lifting to just kind of stay in tune a bit.”

 On moving Dicaprio Bootle

“That was early in the week with the fact that Aaron Williams and Antonio Reed were not going to be able to play. It was Monday orTuesday when I think we still held out hope that both of those guys would still play, but by Tuesday we just said Dicaprio get ready to go”

 On why Bootle over some other experienced players

“I think that in this game with what we were going to have to do with the interior stuff, tracking the quarterback, zone read stuff, that the man-to-man, we thought putting the guy that was a little more used to playing man-to-man coverage in there more often, which we thought we might would have to do more of, would be better than putting a pure free safety type player.”

 On if this season is a rebuilding season

“I will say that every season and every team should build. The actual goal is to win all the games, but as you go, you would like to think you’re getting better through the year playing your best ball as you go. Like I said, I know this didn’t look like that but I do think there are parts and individuals that are. So, I think that’s what we always have to do, I don’t think it really changes anything about that except it’s just for the situation that game, that’s an evident topic to me about our team. They’re going to expect me and the coaches to have something for them Monday that they can use to have some real confidence going forward that we’re going to go win. This is what I like about our profession, this is where all the teaching part comes in.”

 On if Riley had different expectations of the team

“Well, we certainly think we can make it better than that and I don’t think we don’t have to play Ohio State again, in all due respect to our future opponents, I think that the main thing about it is did I ever think that? You know we all have more optimism at the start of the year than any other time, but realistically I also in the back of mind know anything can happen in a season. So, whatever is going on we have to deal with in terms of how to best handle our players and make sure they don’t lose the confidence, that they don’t kind of forget the season or all that. All the parts whether it’s psychology or football teaching, that’s what we have to do and sometimes it’s just playing harder than others, and that doesn’t really matter.”

 On if Riley will have enough time to do what he wants to do

“I don’t personally think about that, I know that’s probably a topic, but that’s kind of natural, and that decision won’t be made by me. I am doing this as if we are going to keep building and building both in the football and the recruitment of players for this program.”

 On how Riley wanted to make JT Barrett uncomfortable

“First of all, you like to think that in the passing game, what we couldn’t do, or get to tonight because of the threat of the run and the fact that they’re pretty darn good blockers too, we couldn’t make him uncomfortable throwing the ball. I know what they did running the ball and all that but that’s a pretty clean pocket he had throwing, so that’s where would have liked to make him uncomfortable.”

 On play of defensive backs

“I think they are getting every bit of coaching to play in the game. I think that these guys tonight, they’ve obviously had better moments than this during the season, these guys tonight with what they were doing in the running game and how we had to compromise to do that. A lot of pressure goes to them, we weren’t as probably aggressive out there as we would like to have been, and you have to remember Dicaprio Bootle is playing corner, Lamar Jackson, and Eric Lee, three of those guys, and we just got Chris Jones back. So we were playing with three youngsters and now they’re playing in that kind of game, Ohio State, and it was hard.”

 

Source: Nebraska Athletics