Nebraska has made its hire, and it is a surprise. Mike Riley is leaving Oregon State for Lincoln after 12 seasons in Corvallis. Oregon State is coming off a 5-7 year, though Riley has made a bowl game in 8 of 12 years in his second stint at Oregon State (after a brief NFL run with the Chargers).
How will this play in Nebraska? Riley has had relative success in Oregon State, taking a program that had no winning seasons between 1971 and 1998 to several. He did follow Dennis Erickson there (remember those Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh teams) so he wasn’t the turnaround impetus, though he sustained relative success. Will he look like settling, though, for a good coach but not a home run? Riley is also 61 years old.
It will be a departure. Riley is known for his pro style offenses and quarterback development, something that isn’t exactly common through Nebraska’s football history.