Mike Riley yesterday announced that defensive coordinator Mark Banker would not be returning for the 2017 season. Given that Riley and Banker had spent nearly two decades together coaching the news comes as somewhat of a shock. This after Riley had earlier fired special teams coach Bruce Read, another assistant that had been with Riley well over a decade.
These moves obviously signal that Riley is serious about winning at Nebraska and that he recognizes the impatience of our fan base. There has appeared to be little disappointment about Riley’s decision. There has also been little discussion about Banker’s situation-that in his first season he had to deal with the defense that was still upset about losing their beloved coach and that in his second season he had to try to build the defense without a pass rush. If he were playing cards you’d have to admit that he had been dealt a pretty mediocre hand.
I know that means little to at least some of you; that a really good coach could make bricks with no straw (Moses and Pharaoh reference), the fact that Banker couldn’t is an indication that he wasn’t up to the job. The point isn’t entirely moot, the next coach that comes in is going have to deal with the same issue-the talent disparity between our beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers and teams like the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Taking into consideration your unbearable sadness about Banker’s firing I’d like you to consider a different perspective. Nebraska under Riley has taken to firing coaches on a yearly basis. This is completely counter to what beloved Tom Osborne did during his reign as Husker head coach. Osborne was famous for many things, obviously, but certainly one of them was staff continuity. If you claim to want us to get back to the glory days, how is it that you’re okay with calling for firings every single season?
(I’m being kind. Fans call for firing after every single game. Maybe after every single play?)
We don’t yet know who Riley will hire to be the next defensive coordinator. That coach might bring in an entirely new scheme, requiring that are our defensive players learn that new scheme before the beginning of next season. Does that new coach, and therefore Mike Riley get a mulligan on the performance of the defense for at least one season? Or will we be in the same position at this time next year where so many want to fire the defensive coordinator because he wasn’t the answer to our prayers?
Riley must make a “name” hire otherwise no one will be impressed. People will ask questions as to why he fired an assistant that had been with him for two decades if he wasn’t going to make a splash hire. A splash hire will require “opening the checkbook” – there shouldn’t be a problem with this given Nebraska’s current finances-but one should ask if throwing money at a problem is a proper solution when there are very very few sure things and selecting a coach sure as hell isn’t one of them.
It’s the end of the college football season and frankly, my attitude toward the Nebraska fan base is that we are so impatient and so demanding that in a few years we will be hoping for nine-win seasons. We are so desperate for championship-level winning football that reality doesn’t have a place in how we manage our expectations (although that’s not so shocking - reality seems to have taken a vacation everywhere else).
Putting together successful team and coaching staff takes time, which is something that we don’t seem to be willing to give anyone.
I had lunch with a Michigan fan the other day and got to talking about 2017. He’s dour, but that’s because he’s a football guy. He knows what’s on the horizon for the Wolverines…he’s also in the minority. It seems that the expectations for Michigan football are a bit inflated…
Speaking of managing expectations. Go compare Brady Hoke’s record in his first two seasons with that of Jim Harbaugh. Go compare what Michigan fans were saying about Hoke, and then feel better that it’s not just our fan base that’s full of complete bat-shit crazy unrealistic lunatics.
We should just “open the checkbook” and pay Nick Saban $25M per year. It’ll all work out, right?
Led by its online graduate education program in the College of Education and Human Sciences, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln placed several programs highly in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Online Programs rankings.
In No Particular Order
Sure, whatever. But who’s the REAL national champion?
Some experts see as many as 9 Big Ten teams dancing come March. Why that's unrealistic, plus previews of the week's games.
We’re finally admitting there is a cost to doing business as a Big Ten team.
While it’s not for sure, it looks like we know who more of the offensive coaches will be.
Several new Badgers get a chance to join the team in winter conditioning.
After the announcement that Brian Ferentz was taking over offensive coordinator duties for the Iowa football team this Monday, it was all but assured that the Hawkeyes would add a quarterbacks coach to its staff and possibly others—most likely a wide receivers coach.
Then There’s This
A Canadian enforcement agency announced today that Amazon Canada will pay a $1 million fine for what could be construed as misleading pricing practices.
OMG, a whole $1M fine?