Wednesday, March 04, 2015

One Great Thing And One Awful Thing From Mike Riley's Preseason News Conference

Over at CornNation, I blogged a summary of what all was said during Mike Riley's first pre-Spring practice news conference. I took two things away from what was said; one was really good, and the other brought back really bad memories.

Let's start with the good. The idea of splitting the team up and running two separate practices is an extremely innovative idea - and it's one that I really like.  It really makes sense and seems to be a great way to allow the coaches to spend more time with the players without breaking the rules limiting the amount of time players can spend in practice.  It's certainly not something that he'll want to do a lot, because it limits the ability for players to interact with each other. But in this situation where the coaches and players are getting to know each other, it simply seems like a great way to get started.  I could even see doing this for the first week or so of preseason practice as well.

But then there was this:
I can appreciate wanting to work on Armstrong's passing ability, but the idea of turning Tommy Armstrong into a pocket passer reminds me an awful lot of what Bill Callahan did to Joe Dailey. Husker fans remember how that 2004 Southern Miss game ended.  Dailey's instincts were to run, but Callahan's attempt to retrain Dailey to fit his system made him hesitant, and it showed on that horrible final play when he looked completely bamboozled as he couldn't decide what he should do.  Husker fans knew exactly what he should it into the endzone for the touchdown. Bill Callahan criticized him for not throwing the ball.

Is Mike Riley making a Bill Callahan mistake with his quarterbacks? It's too early to make that call, and frankly, it's taking a quote out of context. After all, Riley has also talked about utilizing the quarterback run game as a new weapon in his offense. An offense that Riley admitted didn't work anymore at the end of last season. We really won't have any idea what Riley is going to do until the Huskers line up against BYU, and until then, it's all idle speculation.  Even if Riley knew exactly what his offense will be in September (without one single practice with his players), there's absolutely no reason to tip off opponents in March.

Mike Riley has talked about adapting his offense to the skillset of his players. If he truly does that, this won't be a problem. But Langsdorf's comment causes you to pause and "hmmmm"...and that's not a good "hmmmmm" either.

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