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Mike Riley & Bob Diaco: An Uncensored Running Diary

Pat Janssen is back to give his uninterrupted and unfiltered thoughts during the Mike Riley/Bob Diaco presser.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to share a press conference with Head Coach Mike Riley in the form of an uncensored running diary. Today we bring Bob Diaco into the fold (THREESOME)! We’ve done this a time (or two? three? four? five?) before. Even once with Bo Pelini. As always, these thoughts are my own, in real time and unfiltered. And of course, you can follow along here. If you’re looking for a more analytical (Read also: serious) take on the presser, read Salt Creek and Stadium’s article from yesterday here.

0:00 Oh God! We started early! Judging by Coach Riley’s outfit, he’s in a hurry because he wants to go get coffee with the guys at the local grain elevator.

0:04 “We’ve had some news as of late that we thought was important to get out here with ya.” Mike Riley’s ability to undersell the importance of things is the inverse of how comedians operate. If we acted the way Mike Riley does, every time you’d go to a stand-up show, you’d hear, “Coming up next, you’ve seen this guy on absolutely nothing...”

0:27 “You know Mark and I were together a long time.” No need to talk about your past relationships, Coach. Tell us about this new handsome devil you’re with.

1:02 Coach thought the defense needed a schematic change. And he’d been thinking about that for a while! You old dog and your wandering eyes. Tell me more!

1:08 “Maybe I’d mentioned it to some of you before.” Um, no. If you’d told me you were thinking about leaving Mark for another man, I think I would have remembered!

1:10 “I grew up in the 3-4.” I feel like a rapper has to have said these exact words at some point.

1:19 Coach thinks it will be a benefit for the offense to practice against the 3-4. Why? Huh, Mike? So they can see the signs if you’re thinking of dumping them for a newer and better scheme too?!

1:31 Coach is now expressing remorse about how Banker was let go. He seems genuinely sad. And that makes me genuinely sad.

2:00 He’s talking about Coach Diaco now. “His past is well-documented.” I’ve been to a UConn football game. I might be rounding down, but there were like six people there. I’m not sure how well-documented that part of his past could be.

2:17 ”We can all look at his resume, and of course I did.” I’m loving the mental imagery of Coach Riley sitting at his desk parsing through paper resumes. And Bob Diaco sitting in front of his Lenovo anxiously trying to fit his coaching resume all onto one page in a Microsoft Word document.

2:43 ”I really had a lot of fun visiting with him when he was here, talking.” He’s handsome AND sensitive? I totally see why you dumped Mark now.


4:07 Maybe don’t rub your hands together and lick your lips while you’re talking about what a great weekend you’ve got planned for all these young recruits coming into town this weekend, Coach. It reads as a bit unintentionally creepy.

4:34 And just like that, Coach is done. Jack and Marv must have called him from the nearest Sapp Brothers wondering where in the hell he was.

And now it’s time for Coach Diaco. You can follow along with his press conference here.

0:01 If Coach Riley had the “I’ve been spending the afternoon at the local Kent Feeds in Seward talking about my grandkids who live in some stupid coastal state where they play friggin’ lacrosse” look, then Coach Diaco has the “Actor/model playing a football coach in a stupid ‘00s sports movie who we all know is obviously an actor/model and not a football coach, but he’s so much better to look at than Steve Buscemi” look.

0:03 ”Thank you to Mr. Eichorst, Shawn. He’s been wonderful through the process.” I’m so confused. I just heard the word “process” and praise for Shawn Eichorst in the same sentence. It’s like the weirdest Bo mutation I’ve ever seen.

0:05 The early impression I get is that Coach Diaco is like a more nattily-dressed, more eloquent version of Bo Pelini. So I suppose the more succinct way to put that would be to call him a more angry version of someone who’s not Bo Pelini.

0:15 I think he’s now praising the human resources department?

0:25 Yep, someone in human resources just fainted.

0:37 If I could do anything as well as Bob Diaco does his hair, I’d be a successful man.

0:43 Seriously, if the Blackshirts are as well-aligned as the hairs on Coach Diaco’s hair, there won’t be any issues this fall.

0:55 He’s excited and happy, but his hands look like they want to punch someone. Is Bob Diaco going to be Mike Riley’s anger translator?

1:35 Bob just had a joke that didn’t land, and I recognized the look on his face all too well.

1:57 “The people of the state, the university and the department want to look at that defense and feel like they’re looking in a mirror.”

Nah, we’re good. We’ll just settle for a really good on-field product.

2:27 ”Questions,” he said like a proud kid ready to unveil his science project.

2:30 It’s my favorite game! Who’s going to ask the first question. House money is always on Dirk Chatelain, but I’ve got a hunch it will be the field today. I can’t tell you who the other person will be, but it’ll be someone besides Dirk. And really, that’s enough. That’s like picking against Tiger Woods in 2000.

2:35 I don’t know who’s asking the question, but they don’t sound like a nine-year-old cowboy with a cold whose voice has been run through a synthesizer, so I’m confident it’s not Dirk.

2:45 Whenever I’m doing shows back in Nebraska, I tell jokes about my parents’ divorce. My dad usually laughs at them, but I know he hates them. The look he has on his face is EXACTLY the same look Bob Diaco has on his face when “making a joke” after a reporter asks him about the day he got fired.

2:50 Hearing him describe trying to race to his kids to tell them about his firing before they found out about it on the news is fascinating stuff. The closest I can get to relating is trying to shoo my cat off the bed before he throws up.

3:51 ”Intimate relationship with the unit” is my favorite out of context quote thus far, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be topped.

5:25 ”You can’t go anywhere and not find someone to say positive things about Coach Riley.” Hell, there are probably more negatives in Coach Diaco’s sentence structure than there are negatives about Coach Riley.

6:50 Diaco is stumped when asked to describe who he is to Husker fans. I already feel like I know Bob Diaco quite well. When my wife was in grad school at UConn, we got email after email from “him” trying to generate excitement in the program. So. Many. Emails. A quick and partial list of people/entities from whom I have received fewer emails.

1.) Facebook notifications team
2.) Nigerian princes
3.) My presidential candidate of choice during the primary season (and believe me, my presidential candidate of choice emailed A LOT)

7:05 Diaco says he has OCD. So do I, Coach! Do you also feel the need to check door handles seven times before you leave? Or drive back home after getting halfway to work because you fear you’ve left the stove on? Or wash your hands three times before dinner? It’s so nice that we can connect because I hate when people say they have OCD when they really just mean that they’re detail-oriented.

7:15 Oh, so you’re just detail-oriented.

7:20 Actually, no. Hearing Bob describe himself, I think he might actually have undiagnosed OCD. Alright, you handsome son of a buck. I can’t stay mad at you.

7:25 Excuse me, Coach. I think I’m lost. Lost in your eyes.

8:00 “I don’t need some kind of motivational quote to get out of bed every morning.” Lucky you, Bob. I feel like I need a motivational quote just to read a motivational quote.

8:25 Coach Diaco says he operates without profanity or emasculation in his coaching. So yeah, that Bo Pelini comparison might have been even more wrong than I thought.

8:40 Coach Diaco compares coaching college football players to raising children, and based on both the words he uses and the intensity with which he says them, I can’t tell if he’s a big ol’ softie with the players or a drill sergeant parent.

8:45 ”Part of [my children] feeling their value is understanding parameters and being held accountable to them.” Question answered.

8:50 Q: Did you have any other offers to coach? A: Yeah. (beat)

This whole exchange felt like an insecure spouse asking a significantly more attractive spouse if they had sex with anyone before them.

10:51 If you want to learn more about the 3-4 defense than you’ve ever learned before but still feel like you know absolutely nothing about the 3-4 defense, start the video here.

12:16 BUMPUS!

15:01 I’m not gonna lie. My eyes have started to bleed as things have gotten detail-oriented, and also my wife is getting impatient to go to a farmer’s market. I’m going to be wrapping this up soon.

15:03 Okay, I lied. My wife is finding Coach Diaco alarmingly attractive. I’ll be closing my computer soon and never showing her another Husker football game while he’s in Lincoln.

17:25 ”This is going to be Nebraska’s defense, not my defense, but our defense.” Alright, I just got a chub and it has nothing to do with his looks.

17:26 Okay, only 5% has to do with his looks.

18:39 Diaco says he’ll coach the linebackers. Let’s go to Trent Bray for comment:

Thanks, Trent.

19:35 Question about passing out the Blackshirts in 3...2...1...

20:00 Bob’s passing out the Blackshirts at the start of the season! Let there be joy and mass ejaculation across the state!

20:20 In one long story, Bob talks about turning down the opportunity to play fullback for Nebraska, saying no to Frank Solich, Charlie McBride, Boyd Epley, Kevin Steele and Tom Osborne, going to the University of Iowa AND really enjoying Bo Pelini. I want to like you Bob, but you’ve got to give me a little effort here.

21:40 Bob calls Iowa “the institution I chose.” That’s a good first step toward working back into my good graces, Coach.

22:00 When talking about coaching against Iowa, Coach also mentions that his son is an engineering student at Penn State. Seems like a weird equivalence. Unless his son can disrupt the middle like Nebraska’s most famous engineering student.

22:15 ”Writing that tuition check is going to have a little different feel now.” Just a hunch, but I think that weird feeling writing tuition checks probably has less to do with football and more to do with making 1 million fewer dollars per year.

22:24 And just like that, we’re out. No more Coach Bob. No more Coach Riley.

Time for me to head to that farmer’s market and convince my wife that she’s really better off without a steely-eyed guy who can afford to take million dollar pay cuts. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

Pat can regularly be heard on the Big Red Cobcast (@bigredcobcast).