clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

An Uncensored Running Diary of Mike Riley's Signing Day Press Conference

Pat Janssen is back with his unfiltered thoughts of Mike Riley's press conference on NLI Day.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Oh man, I'm as jacked as Andy Vaughn after two gallons of Mountain Dew. It's Signing Day! And another chance to do an unedited running diary of Mike Riley's press conference. I was watching this on the internet after the fact, but as always, these are live and uncensored thoughts of Coach's press conference. We've done this before. A couple times actually. As always, here is Coach Riley's press conference in case you want to follow along.

0:01: Well, golly gee. Good to see you too, my man!

0:05: Coach has a "signing day cold"? Get that man a freakin' lozenge! You, unnamed grad assistant, fetch some orange juice! Sports information director, stop that tweeting and get Coach some tissues! EICHORST! I don't care who you are, get Coach Riley some DayQuil! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

0:12: "We're all really excited to be here." Not Tom Shatel. That dude just had knee surgery. If you don't believe me, read each of his last three columns.

0:15: "There was a little drama involved." With all due respect, Coach, you don't know drama. Wait until you start calling us names.

0:15: I can't wait until Mike Riley starts calling us names. I bet they'll be adorable and folksy names.

0:17: Is it me, or was there a bit of a soap opera-style zoom in when Coach Riley said there was drama? Is the new video guy trying to prove his worth right off the bat?

0:30: "It was about a 60-day period for us." Man, 60 days for an entire recruiting class. Here are some things it has taken me longer than 60 days to do:

-Write a 10-page script.
-Finance a camera from Best Buy. Not even a digital SLR. Like one of those little things that you use if you can't find your smart phone.
-Make a joint decision with my wife on where we are eating dinner.
-Get a job that makes my family proud.
-Notice that with a full season of recruiting, Iowa finished about 30 spots below Nebraska in the recruiting rankings (actually, that one only took me about three minutes).

Mike Riley has this whole life thing figured out.

0:45-1:15: So apparently Coach and his staff didn't just put together a recruiting class in 60 days. They also hashed out their entire coaching philosophy in that time. No biggie. Holy hell, I need a life coach.

1:19: Coach wants to get to know the guys. He wants to learn their names. I want Coach to learn my name. Seriously, let's hang out, man. I mean, sir. Let's hang out, sir. I've got all weekend free. We could go to In N Out Burger.

1:39: Coach is giving props to the previous staff for the commits already lined up for them. Oh come on! There are good guys and bad guys, Mike! Stop adding nuance to our lives!

1:45: A parent pointed out that they knew the previous staff longer than they knew Riley's current staff.

2:23: "So the neat thing about it is the kids came for Nebraska." I know we're barely two minutes into this thing, but that's the leader in the clubhouse for the quote of the day.

2:45: So Riley and crew went after the guys who were already committed to Nebraska, some guys they had already been recruiting at Oregon State, and some other guys. Thanks for clearing that up, Coach.

3:27: Coach thinks things will be more organized next year. Finally, something we have in common. I've been saying that same thing for years to no avail. I guess I don't have old Gatorade bottles sitting next to my bed anymore, so maybe things really can improve.

3:40: "I'll open it up for questions."


3:42: Yeah, Coach, I've got some questions.

-Do you like playing pool?
-Or darts? Do you like playing darts? I mean, whatever you want to do, I'm cool with it.
-Am I annoying you? Because if I am, I'll leave you alone.
-Are you sure? Because, like, I think we would make really good friends.
-You know that song "Smells Like Teen Spirit?" What was Kurt Cobain even singing in that song? Like I've always wondered. It feels so deep, man. But I just don't know.

3:54-5:00: Coach details his first five days of recruiting at Nebraska, noting that Avery Anderson, Eric Lee and Aaron Williams were priorities because they were early enrollees.

6:10: Coach is talking about how great the university is, but I can't get over how much he occasionally sounds like Dana Carvey's impression of George H.W. Bush. Or maybe a really excited therapist.

6:15: Mentioning Saturday Night Live and therapists just made me think of this.

7:00: So Mike Riley was learning about some of the cool things that Nebraska has to offer as he was out on the recruiting trail. Think how great he'll do once he has a full year under his belt. He'll know all of the great stuff to mention. Like The Mill Coffee Shop. Or that comedy open mic at Duffy's hosted by Kid from Kid N' Play. I bet he didn't even bring those things up this year.

8:47: Did Coach Riley just get a Facebook message as he was being asked about social media?

8:49: Coach just made a joke, and no one got it. It's alright, Coach. I think we might have more in common that we initially thought.

8:51: Is he rummaging through all those papers so he can find his phone? That Facebook message probably isn't that important, Coach.

8:57: Someone gave him a hearty courtesy laugh. Someone find that media member and make sure he goes to my show tomorrow night.


9:23: I just got over a cold, Coach. Here are my suggestions:

Fly cross country to visit your wife.
Get about seven total hours of sleep over a three day period.
Drink a whole bottle of wine at an Italian restaurant.
Don't drink more than a glass of water per day.

I was over that thing in about three weeks flat. Trust me.

9:33: Coach says social media is good for the players, for families, for information and for connection. He had no initial idea how many things he was going to list. They just kept coming to him. He kept bringing the bottle of water up to his mouth like he was done, and then he'd think of something else. I just watched that clip about 40 times Zapruder-style, and I still don't know how many things he initially intended to list.

9:54: He thought of another one!

10:27: I love watching Coach interact with his staff members. He's that guy who jokes with people, but he doesn't have anything pointed to say, so he just says someone's name and chuckles. I learned that comedic style from about 15 different 70-year-old men in the cafes of Auburn, Neb.

10:31: Coach looks like he's trying to get through the emotional part of a romantic movie without losing his shit. Don't look any of those dudes in the eye, Coach!

11:21: Paul Chryst and Jim Harbaugh are friends of his? Not anymore, Coach!

11:33: "I've coached against my dad." Yeah, and I bet you kicked his fanny too.

11:34: Mike Riley went 6-0 against his dad. Take that, Pops!

11:35: RIP Coach Bud Riley, 1925-2012.

11:36: Oops.

11:37: I'm an asshole.

11:38: Sorry, Coach.

11:39: Let's pretend that didn't happen.

13:10: "We really want to know this state." Swoon.

14:27: Really interesting note: There are a couple in-state guys who, if Riley and staff had been here longer, probably would have gotten offers. Riley notes that the evaluation period and lack of scholarship availability prevented that from happening. But it really seems like he wants to own this area. Sorry, North Dakota State, we're taking our state back!

15:10: Coach also likes the ability of Nebraska to draw "from sea to sea."

16:00: Charlton Warren is now the most famous/popular assistant coach in Nebraska. He seized the championship belt from Ron Brown. It's still unclear who is going to wrestle the Craig Bohl Memorial Most-Hated-Coach Trophy away from John Papuchis.

18:17: "Linemen are gold." You hear that, teenagers of Nebraska? Eat up!

18:40: Coach longs for the day that he has 10 offensive linemen capable of playing and winning. Now, uh, do they all have to be healthy? Because we might have an issue with that.

20:00: Coach sure loves Keith Williams. That's good enough for me. I LOVE KEITH WILLIAMS!

21:05: I can't tell whether it's what he says or the nasally voice, but does Dirk Chatelain just annoy every coach? Coach Riley looks so mad he could kick some dirt and say heck.

21:10-21:25: I sure hope Coach can solve an opposing defense faster than he solved that water bottle. Righty tighty, lefty loosey.

21:28: It took Dirk 23 seconds to spit out that question. In other words, it took him eight seconds longer than it took Mike Riley to figure out how to put the cap back onto his water bottle.

22:05: "At Oregon State, we didn't get a lot of five-star recruits when they came in, but a lot of them came out of our place at the end." We have a new contender for the quote of the day.

22:35: "Evaluation is the key."

22:56: When asked what he looks for in a cornerback: "I don't look for me." Oh, Coach. You turned out alright. You've got a lovely wife, a cute grandson, and a heck of a coaching job. You should stop being so hard on yourself.

24:20: "The ramifications of a mistake at cornerback are very, very costly. A mistake might cost you five yards at defensive line. It might cost you the game at corner." Just so you know, I never, ever want to play cornerback.

26:00: I think Brandon Browner just got called out as a crappy receiver. Coach was talking about a kid named Brandon who came into Oregon State as a wide receiver who couldn't catch Mike Riley's cold. So Coach moved him to cornerback, where he's now playing in the NFL. A quick search of Oregon State cornerbacks named Brandon in the NFL yields exactly one result: Brandon Browner. You may have just won the Super Bowl, but Mike Riley just called you out for your stone hands, Browner!

27:45: Coach just won't take any credit, will he? He just got asked how was able to retain 10 guys who had already committed, while Michigan and Florida did not. He's crediting having some extra time (though he came on at the same time as Jim McElwain at Florida), the brand name of Nebraska and the quality of the university. Point the thumb, Coach! You deserve it, my man!

29:23: Coach is kind of like a politician in his ability to convey a clear message. But his pizzazz level isn't that of a presidential candidate. More like a city councilman. Of Holdrege.

29:30: Someone wanted to hear Coach talk about some specific players, so he went ahead and asked him for detailed analysis on EIGHT DIFFERENT PLAYERS. All in the same question. Take tiny bites, media guy. Little nibbles. Not the whole goddamn sandwich.

33:10: When talking about giving a scholarship to long snapper Jordan Ober: "You've gotta be right because you're not gonna go find another one next year." Ok, so cornerback and scholarship long snapper. Two things I never want to be.

33:47: "You're better off with a blank spot than with a guy who is not good enough to play." The Iceman Mike Riley.

35:00: "As I understand it, there are going to be a couple people watching the spring game." Yeah, I thought you said you wanted a sellout. There are going to be a lot of...oh, wait. You got me, you jokester.

35:19: There was a flash of light and seemingly a jump in time. What happened?! Did Coach go on a cussing tirade making insensitive remarks about dwarves? Why did part of his press conference apparently get cut?

35:30: What the hell question is he answering now? #InterviewFlash has thrown me for a loop.

37:20: Coach teases the potential hiring of a walk-on coordinator. And we're all excited as hell.

38:00: I'll be honest. I'm wearing down. I'm excited about this recruiting class, but I'm starting to think more about how badly I need to trim my toenails. That's probably a good sign that we need to wrap this press conference up soon.

39:27: A (presumably) small-town reporter asks Coach which walk-on excites him the most.

39:33: And like the loving father he is, Coach refuses to pick a favorite.

41:00: Either a woman who's been chain smoking for 40 years or an 11-year-old boy just asked a question.

43:52: WHOA! Coach just went from in-depth analysis about Matt Snyder to ending the press conference on the turn of a dime. When he's done he's done.

43:59: "Sorry about my cough." Nope, now he's done.

I'm a little bummed there were no questions about Willie Sykes defecting. I had all sorts of jokes about him choosing Arkansas because "there are a bunch of Fortune 500 companies down there." You know, because the SEC. Alas, I'll have to save those for another day. And no mention of Fax Cam either? No worries. Mike Riley still holds my heart. HUSKERS 2015!