Nebraska HC Mike Riley took the podium at Big Ten Media Days this morning. Here’s what he said to the hordes that were asking questions and the millions around the world watching on BTN.
Here’s what Mike had to say on the podium on Tuesday morning:
Opening remarks: Exciting to be here. Representing a program and the University. I’m very interested in this 2017 team. We do have a good core of people coming back, how that is all put together defensively with the 3-4 and a QB that hasn’t played a down for Nebraska. I do have a lot of faith & am interested in what it’ll look like coming forward.
On Tanner Lee & his development: The good thing for Tanner & us is that he has experience. The other part is that he’s been with our team for a year, sitting out due to transfer rules. He’s been impressive in the simple fact that he’s a good teammate & has become respected. He entered in a non-dramatic fashion & became one of the guys, has become well respective. He’s here because he’s earned the starting job through Spring ball.
On the hiring of Bob Diaco as Defensive Coordinator: When we decided to make the change, I was primarily interested in who that person was, but interested in the schematics. In my defensive roots, I was a 3-4 guy, so I was wanting to get back there. With Diaco’s availability led me to the interview. The interview was a great confirmation on what else he would bring. I see Bob as a really good teacher, a fundamental “this is how it’s done” with attention to detail & enthusiasm. I really enjoyed the interview process & this has been confirmed with Spring practice. When you make a big schematic change, you are looking at different positions for your team. I was impressed in how it happened in the Spring.
On losing Chris Jones to injury: I absolutely hated the news on Jones, thought it was a big surprise. Really disappointed on a lot of level. Jones is a very good player & really fun to be around. I’m hopeful for his return, when that is I’m not sure. But, you have to turn that page & do what’s best for the team. We’re still talking about that, so we’ll let you know. We’re wondering if Josh Kalu moves back to Corner, we loved him at Safety this past Spring. I’d like to have a talk with Josh on it, so we’ll keep looking at our team as we head into camp. With all those thoughts on how Jones has meant to us, we have to turn the page & find the best for our team.
On dealing with the loss of Bob Elliott: One of the hardest things for me, my relationship with Coach Elliott was way too short. I hired him on the recommendation of Bob Diaco, and everyone knew Bob’s background. The things I learned about him in a short time was way more than just his resume. This was a really good person, a guy that loved what he did in the relationship with his players. He & his wife loved what he did with the players. Watching him in Spring ball was really exciting. Bob & I were the same age, so I thought it would be fun to work with him. But I also thought we’d be good friends, we are thankful for the time we spent with him. With Diaco & Scott Booker, they were all together at Notre Dame. We made a simple transition moving Booker to replace Elliott. We are very sorry for what has happened, we have plans with our team to remember Bob throughout our season.
We’ll have more of what Riley & the players he took (Chris Weber, Tanner Lee & Aaron Williams) say throughout the day later.