Nebraska Football: Riley’s Actions Based on Fandom Not Fear

It’s been suggested that Nebraska football head coach Mike Riley is currently in panic mode. He didn’t renew the contract of defensive coordinator Mark Banker and former secondary coach Brian Stewart is reportedly off to take a position at Rice. What many fans don’t seem to be acknowledging is his desire to cater to them.

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’re a Nebraska football fan or at least curious about what’s been going on lately, so I’ll address this to Joe EveryHusker.

Riley’s removal of Hank Hughes, Banker and Stewart from his staff does not mark some manner of DEFCON status plummeting in North Stadium. He did not have to make these moves as some have suggested.

Look to his predecessors for choices that maybe should’ve been made, but weren’t. Bill Callahan might’ve gotten at least another year as head coach if he’d let his friend Kevin Cosgrove go, but he didn’t. Bo Pelini let nepotism flood his inner circle and he may have had far more success if he was willing to go outside the box, but he didn’t.

Riley wants what all fans want: To win and to do it now.

It’s no coincidence that Hughes, Banker and Stewart were not pulling their weight when it came to recruiting. In Banker’s case, I’d argue that not only does that come into play, but he’s simply not an elite coordinator. Nothing against him personally. I could listen to the guy talk football for 30 minutes and never get bored.

That said, if Riley wants to get his Cornhuskers to the top of the mountain, he needs a great coach, teacher and recruiter. Those are his words, not mine. Well, mine are similar, but you get the point.

Why should you, Joe EveryHusker, be confident and happy with these changes instead of worried? Riley continues to make moves that shows he wants to put a new number on Memorial Stadium next to the conference championships already up there. Heck, he wants to climb Everest and plant a new national championship on the massive wall while he’s at it.

The Big Ten West isn’t enough. It’s a start. The Big Ten Championship isn’t enough. It’s the next step. The national championship, that is the goal and that is what many fans doubt that he can pull off. Riley’s staff is going to grow by two very shortly and it wouldn’t surprise me to see great coaches, teachers and recruiters take Banker and Stewart’s places.

He already has some very savvy recruiters on the team like wide receivers coach Keith Williams, linebackers coach Trent Bray and recently hired secondary coach Donte Williams.

It’s no secret that Nebraska needs more talent and needs it yesterday if it’s going to compete for what the program wants.

That’s the thing, though. Riley is as much a fan of Nebraska football as you. He wants to see the titles and trophies. Sure, he gets to walk the sidelines on game day, but he’d cheer as loudly in the stands or at home watching the game on an HDTV.

Whether coaching his young men throughout the week and on gameday or bringing a hot dish over to watch the game with your friends and his wife Dee, this is a guy who is clearly fighting to give you what you want at the most basic level. You want wins, titles and relevancy?

Mike Riley is going to do everything in his power to give you a program that delivers all three. If he can’t, we won’t be able to say it wasn’t for a lack of trying. In the meantime, just remember that the guy who allegedly would never cut ties with his friends of decades did just that this year. Nothing personal, but there are standards to be met and goals to be achieved.

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