Mike Riley might not be a good coach*, but firing him now** is probably a bad idea***
Mike Riley might not be a good coach...
As the seconds ticked down to zero on Saturday, most of Husker Nation had come to one of two very specific conclusions:
- Mike Riley should not be allowed to leave West Lafayette and maybe Shawn Eichorst should be left wherever he was that afternoon
- Perhaps this program was left in a much larger crater when we fired Bo Pelini and the future is as dark as it has ever been
...but firing him now...
...is probably a bad idea
One year is not enough time to judge a coach. Yes, Mike Riley's past history is judged by expectations of mediocrity. I understand that. He is also a proven coach who has shown flashes of brilliance, and he - like most coaches - deserve more than a passing chance at righting the ship. Going back to our friends at Notre Dame, you cannot get yourself in a place where you are paying multiple staffs, handcuffed by buyouts, different schemes, and inconsistency. That is not a recipe for success. Coaches - especially in the college game - need time to bring in kids that fit their point-of-view, their system, their culture. Starting over puts your team in a place where three classes - the core of your team - are part of three different, distinct camps with loyalties resting where they may. Sure, it's about the N on the helmet, but these are people with human instincts. It's less than ideal, and ultimately causes as many problems as it may solve.
That in mind, changes will need to be made. Whether it is at the Defensive Coordinator position, the Secondary, or even Offensive Coordinator, Mike Riley will have to pay the price for what has turned into an abysmal year. Yes, it seems unfair that a few bounces here or there changes this entire conversation, but the expectation is a bowl game. That is the minimum, not the goal. Beyond being spoiled, Nebraska enjoys advantages in history, finances, facilities, and support that most of America dream of. Cratering is not ideal, and fair or unfair, the clock is on for Riley to show some real strides towards improvement. That doesn't mean he should be fired, but there will have to be some payment for a bad year. Still, it's not that easy, and these are real people with complex pieces affecting their every day. There doesn't seem like an easy answer.
Which like I said before, Mike Riley might not be a good coach, but firing him now is probably a bad idea.