Nebraska fires Mike Riley, and now the hopes are there to get Scott Frost … or Mike Leach? Now what?
Good guy, wrong hire.
It was the underwhelming choice.
Nebraska wanted the anti-Bo Pelini, and that’s what it got in Riley. The personable, utterly-likable type who Husker fans could embrace and love … if he won.
And that, of course, was the problem.
His teams played hard for him, and the effort was never a problem, but he didn’t bring in the talent, and he wasn’t a difference-making head coach with the talent he did have.
He went 19-19 in his three years, got to one bowl game thanks to the APR, and won nine games last season, but at 4-8 this season and with the opportunity there to step up with a new, vibrant head man, it was time to make the move and let him go.
So who’s next?
That’s the one Husker fans needed and wanted the first time around when he was the Oregon offensive coordinator, but now it’s not a lock that he’ll come home to take the gig.
Some are claiming it’s a done deal and that he’s taking over the Nebraska job, but here’s the problem.
Where are the amazing wins?
Yeah, beating Memphis and USF was nice, but he hasn’t cranked up the wins and production at the highest of levels. And for all of the excitement of taking UCF to winless to unbeaten in two years, yeah, but that 0-12 2015 season was a total aberration – the talent was there and George O’Leary was done.
He’s the red-hot guy, but is beating Maryland, Memphis and USF really that huge a deal compared to beating TCU and Oklahoma like Matt Campbell did at Iowa State, or beating USC and getting a team on the verge of playing for a Pac-12 title like …
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos came over from Washington State, where he had a great relationship with Leach. If Frost decided to be off to Florida instead of Lincoln, Leach would hardly be a bad consolation prize.
Nebraska needs a coach who can win without the five-star talent, and with a system that can roll through anyone no matter what.
In the Big Ten West, Leach and his style should at least be strong enough to get close every year, and then be a differentiating factor in the one big game it’ll have to win – at least once in a while – against Wisconsin.
And the next Nebraska head coach will be …
Scott Frost. He’s from Nebraska, grew up in Nebraska, led Nebraska to a share of a national title.
He is Nebraska, and he’s the guy the program should’ve had the second it had a shot. Now there’s a chance it can’t get the homegrown star back, but this is going to be where his heart is.
This is going to be where he thinks he can win a national title after getting time to grow into the job.