Mike Riley transcript: Nebraska exit

Categories: 2017 Football

Opening Statement “Can’t ask me any questions about the game, I came in to watch the film and got interrupted. But, I want to say a lot of feelings and emotions for sure. A lot of disappointment I suppose, but at the same time I’m going to remain and believe in remaining thankful. This is an awesome place, Dee and I have enjoyed it a ton. She’s found a good life here and a good tennis life. I have found a ton of good people, I really, really am thankful for the people I work with. I’m thankful for the many people I’ve met in this state, in the travels through this state, lots of people now I would consider friends. I appreciate the high school coaches, I’ve gotten a nice chance in the last couple years to develop some relationships there. Most of all, I suppose I’m really thankful for our team. We’ve been through a lot together, the seniors were able to maintain through the end of this year in a good way and our players came to work every day, I think that’s a credit to their individual character and a credit to our coaches for keeping it together through what we all know was tough times in sports. So, we are appreciative and thankful and probably will reflect on being wishful about further opportunity but we know how that goes, too. There is at a base level an understanding of that. So, with that I don’t think I’ve left any of those parts out.”

On the players meeting “Meeting with players in a situation like this, I haven’t had to do it very often but for me, it’s very, very emotional. I told them that, as I’ve gotten older in this thing, the thing that I’ve appreciated as much as anything, more so than probably early on when it was all about the X’s and O’s and the coaching is the relationship with players and the realization that somewhere in the career that this thing is bigger than football. Our opportunity with these young men is special at a special time in their life, so if you approach your job that way, your opportunity to see them in a situation like we did today, for me is fairly hard and emotional.”

On being unemployed “I’m not overly concerned about me right now. The people around me are really important to me from the coaching staff to the team to my family. Right now, I’m at this next moment, looking forward to being a granddaddy and then we’ll see what the future brings. I still feel real young and ready to coach, but at the same time there might be other plans for me.”

On Nebraska “I learned that this is a special place. I was kind of told that, and I think that the opportunity to be here, it’s like that old song. ‘I could’ve missed the pain, but I would’ve had to miss the dance’ and I loved it. I loved the opportunity to coach here. I firmly believe whether or not it’s real, I believe we’re on the right track on both the building of a program and a team and the recruitment, which I think are the necessary parts of getting Nebraska back. But, I loved the opportunity to do it.”

On why he chose to talk to the media “I think probably because I wanted the message to be that we, as a group, me personally, appreciated this opportunity. We wish we could’ve continued it, but at the same time I think that the opportunity to always speak to this group, I always think of the people that are around me, the people that I represent, family, coaching staff, team. So, I wanted to represent that group one more time and basically give my message to them that I love them and appreciate all the support and work through the time that we’ve been here.”

On what he’s going to miss about Nebraska “What I will miss specifically – as you get into a place – what it really becomes is people and so we have a life that people see that’s like this. It’s out there in front of everybody and the season, the games, press conferences, but we have a day-to-day life with real-life people that real life is going on with them and what I’ll miss about this place specifically is the players that I’ve been with, the coaching staff I’ve been with, the life we have in the community, so it’s really becomes about the people in that way. In our careers we dedicate ourselves to coaching and the growth of young people. Now, a couple of years’ worth of guys that we – I sat in the living rooms and recruited – and so it’s hard to look at them and understand that you’re not going to get to see them through this thing. That’s a hard deal. I would be really, really excited to coach some of these guys that are in the program and growing in the program.”

On if Bill Moos told him he had to accomplish anything this season “He never laid out anything that needed to be done, so many wins or what it should look like, but Bill Moos was great to us, to allow us to finish out the year, told us that he was going to do that, told that he was going to do that and he did that; and then we met about three times when he was here, which I really appreciated and it wasn’t laid out – wins and losses – but I’ve been in this a long time. I know what goes on with it and I do appreciate how they handled it, how basically Bill explained it to me and took the time to explain it to me. It was all really well done.”

On what he’s most proud of “I’m certainly disappointed that the football wasn’t better. I wish we had that opportunity to continue to grow it, which I feel very confident in it, but you know I think that our group has represented the state at the highest level and the university at the highest level and the Nebraska football team at the highest level. We wanted to do it better on the field than it’s been done. I wish we had the chance to continue, like I said, to do that. That’s kind of how I see that picture.”

On if Nebraska was a great adventure “Well the completion of the adventure was certainly not what we envisioned. We certainly wanted to do better than we’ve done on the football field and like I said, I don’t want to keep saying this, but I remain confident that the pieces are in place, for the program to continue to grow. What we didn’t show enough of in these changing times, this last year, was enough football to continue and I understand that part of it. Dee and I have been fortunate in our life to have been different places and enjoyed the communities and enjoyed the football. We’re very blessed and fortunate to have had those experiences. This is like that. We’re not going to look back at this in any way, except that we’re glad we took the opportunity and then go from there.”

On what advice he would give to the new head coach “That’s a good one. I don’t know that anyone will need or heed any advice, but I would say what we discovered is that you have to have a really specific recruiting plan. That how you recruit here has got to be very strategic about how you’re going to approach it. What we’ve learned is that now that we’re in the Big Ten, there’s a different footprint to recruit in. I think we were finding our way. We had a tremendous bunch of young men committed here, so we were finding our way that way. I think whatever you’re going to do, you have to formulate that plan as you would anywhere and the other part of it is, it’s a great place and people are behind you to try to help get it done. I found a lot of support in that way. There’s just a lot, a lot of positives as you look at Nebraska and the opportunity to grow it back.”

Source: Nebraska Athletics