Mike Riley’s weekly presser happened. More players are out and more players are questionable. Linebacker Luke Gifford is out for the season, having hip surgery this week. DL Mick Stoltenberg has a knee problem but should be okay for Penn State. RB Jaylin Bradley is “more ready to go” and possibly could have played against Minnesota. TE Conner Ketter has a back injury and is “possible” against Penn State. Conner Young is out with a high ankle sprain.
About the Minnesota game:
Riley: "If you want a quick summary of the last game, all you have to do is look at the rushing statistics and explosive plays.— Evan Bland (@EvanBlandOWH) November 13, 2017
“Lack of reach” here means lack of speed at the linebacker position. This is probably the biggest problem facing the 3-4 defense this season, which begs the question as to why they went to it without having the players in place before they did.
Riley: Two things (in general) on defense from Saturday: Missed some plays (tackles, etc.); got beat on speed option due to “lack of reach.”— Joe Quinn (@JoeESPN590) November 13, 2017
This makes the above statement about Luke Gifford official. Ha!
Also, LB Luke Gifford is having season-ending surgery. Such a tough, disappointing ending after promising first half of his season. #Huskers— Brian Rosenthal (@GBRosenthal) November 13, 2017
The key here is that Mike Riley is not pulling a Butch Jones and is not burning Tristan Gebbia’s redshirt. I guess those that wondered why Patrick O’Brien hasn’t been given a chance will find out this weekend against Penn State, and possibly Iowa later.
Decision on Tanner Lee can be made late. Riley says he'll practice Patrick O'Brien as if he's going to start. Andrew Bunch is No. 2 QB right now— Eric Olson (@ericolson64) November 13, 2017
Aaron Williams may be back this weekend.
Safety Aaron Williams will practice today, Mike Riley said. #Huskers— Brian Rosenthal (@GBRosenthal) November 13, 2017
It is pretty easy for fans (and media alike) to make the statement that the players have quit, or aren’t trying, but coaches don’t get to do that. Put it this way... another coach with less class might have thrown his players under the bus here and put the blame on them. Riley isn’t doing that.
"I don't think of our team like that." Riley on lack of effort against Minnesota.— Big Red WrapUp (@BigRedWrapUp) November 13, 2017
"I don't want to think of our guys as not giving the right effort." #Huskers
On the timeouts at the end of the game against Minnesota, Riley stated that he did that to give Patrick O’Brien more time to play. He hated it, said “I know it’s not popular.”
Given that explanation, and looking ahead, it’s probably the right call, even if it sucked and ended up giving Minnesota three sacks. Again, that’s what you get to do if you’re a coach, and don’t have the luxury of making a popular decision.
Riley is a professional. And he has a lot of dignity. He doesn’t sound defeated at this presser, he sounds like a guy who’s answering the questions directed to him as honestly as he possibly can.
Mike Riley should give a seminar about how to deal with job turmoil & fan anger with professionalism, dignity & class.— John M. Bishop (@JohnBishop71) November 13, 2017
Riley talked about where the team is at. I have a hard time that he’s not owning this and I didn’t hear any statements where he wasn’t taking responsibility for this season.
He did say earlier that he didn’t anticipate the number of injuries they’d had on the offensive line, that you had to be ready for it, but that the number of injuries was more than they thought they’d have.
Riley on later kick at PSU followed by short week to Iowa: "In our current state, I could make excuses about it, but that's shallow."— Parker Gabriel (@HuskerExtraPG) November 13, 2017
“I love this team. I love their approach every week. We’ve had very few issues, except for the games, and I’m sure that the fans will forever love their team.”
I’m pretty sure that’s close to the exact quote, but I’m slow and old. It gives an indication of where Riley is at mentally. He’s not falling apart. He’s not making excuses.
This is going to be a rough two weeks. Let’s try to make sure we maintain a level of dignity about it ourselves.