Did anyone see this coming?
Recently, the Nebraska Cornhuskers fired their coach of the last 7 years who just led the Huskers to a 9-3 season. Seemingly, before anyone could bat an eye the Huskers had hired Mike Riley of Oregon State.
This hire makes little sense.
Bo Pelini may leave something to be desired for the Nebraska powers that be, but his record at Nebraska was 67-27. Tom Osborne’s first 7 years at Nebraska he coached the team to a 65-17-2. Yes, that is slightly better, but Osborne inherited the team from Bob Devaney. Devaney was a legend at Nebraska and coached the Huskers to 101-20-2 record and 2 National Championships. Osborne took over in 1973 which was 2 years removed from the 1971 Husker team that many think was the best team to ever play college football.
Pelini took over from Bill Callahan. Callahan was hired to coach the 2004 Cornhuskers after they had fired Frank Solich. Callahan led the Huskers to a miserable 27-22 record which was the worst Nebraska football had been in the modern era. Callahan had the worst teams in Nebraska history and they hired Pelini to fix that.
His first season at Nebraska he led the team to a 9-4 record. That was with the players leftover from the Bill Callahan coaching days.
After 7 years, the Huskers fired him and within days they had already hired Mike Riley, the head coach at Oregon State.
Riley is a good guy, but his coaching record at Oregon State was 93-80. 93-80? What is it about 93-80 that would attract a national program with the reputation of a Nebraska?
Yes, it is harder to bring in players to Corvallis, Oregon than it is to most Pac 12 schools. At least that is what the talking heads love to say.
Riley recruited California and he recruited Texas and he had some success in both states.
Riley’s Oregon State Beavers went 10-4 in 2006, and then 9-4 the following 2 seasons. His teams slipped back down to eventually going 3-9 in 2011, but then they recovered to post a 9-4 season in 2012.
Only to see the records come tumbling back down again in 2013 and this season they slugged along and finished 5-7.
Word was that the Oregon State Beavers might want to change the direction of the program after this season and let Mike Riley go.
Turns out they didn’t need to let Mike Riley go, because the Nebraska Cornhuskers came along and offered Mike Riley the head job at Nebraska.
Speculation after Pelini was fired was centered around Oregon Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost, a former Nebraska Quarterback and a rising star in the coaching ranks.
There was also some talk of the Colorado State coach Jim McElwain who has already been hired by the Florida Gators for their opening. There was more talk of Justin Fuente the coach at 9-3 Memphis, Jerry Kill from Minnesota, and Craig Bohl of Wyoming.
But, they hired Mike Riley and they must have been talking beforehand because of the speediness of the move.
Even if Mike Riley does well with the Huskers program which is very iffy at the moment, he is already 61 years old. How much longer will he want to coach at a major college football program? There are very few Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno types out there that want to keep coaching up into their 80s. It’s very doubtful that Mike Riley will even want to coach more than 5 years or so.
So, what was the point of hiring Mike Riley?
Why not hire rising star Scott Frost? Frost played under Osborne and he knows that offense. He coached under Chip Kelly at Oregon and he knows that offense.
Frost was around when the Nebraska Cornhuskers had that incredible Black Shirt defense, so he knows what that is all about as well.
Maybe they were looking for somebody with a little more experience.
Personally, I would find it slightly amusing if the Oregon State Beavers were to hire Scott Frost or even Bo Pelini to replace Mike Riley.
I just don’t get this hire at all.