Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos says no decision has been made regarding Mike Riley’s future

Nebraska A.D. Bill Moos says no decision has been made regarding Mike Riley’s future
World-Herald News Service

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos hasn’t made a final decision regarding Mike Riley’s future with the Huskers, he said Tuesday during an appearance on “The Bottom Line.”

“I’m supporting Mike and his coaches to keep our focus where it needs to be,” Moos said, “and that is to finish strong and hopefully get into a bowl game.”

Moos’ comments come on the heels of an overtime loss to Northwestern, which had several recruits in attendance on official visits. One of those recruits was longtime Husker commit Mario Goodrich, who told Husker Online he received assurance during his visit that Riley “is not going to get fired.”

But the decision to keep or drop Riley has not been made, according to Moos, and the A.D. continues to assess the program. Tuesday, he shared his thoughts on what he’s seen thus far from the football team.

“Sometimes very good,” Moos said. “Probably not tremendously consistent, and that’s what any coach is looking for. I’ve been impressed with the defense at times. We’ve got some very good players offensively. You look for consistency, and putting that last nail in the coffin is always important, too, and I know that was a real frustration for our players and coaches and fans.”

During the interview, Moos discussed his first game-day experience in Memorial Stadium, combating fan apathy, the importance of reaching a bowl game, what he looks for in a football coach and more.

On how busy he’s been as Nebraska’s A.D.: 

“Yeah but that’s how I was expecting it. I’ve been very busy, but I think it’s been most productive, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know my staff. There’s still a lot more of them to visit with and also people around the campus and throughout Lincoln itself. We start to go out and get to some of the other outlying towns this week, and I’m looking forward to that as well.”

On his first Husker home game:

“That’s a great game-day environment. I had heard that it was, and then to actually live it is pretty special. And again, very, very well-orchestrated. The event went great. It was very touching and moving the reception that I got. It meant a lot. … I thought it was excellent. The halftime, pregame, all of the tailgates and various functions, luncheons, etc. Very well-orchestrated. And of course we had a beautiful day. That helped as well. I was impressed.”

On apathy from fans:

“You’ve got to fight apathy like the plague. If we do have apathy and people are detecting that, we’ve got to address it. And that’s certainly something I would want to do. This is a tremendous fan base. They have been very loyal. They’ve been patient. They remember the days of championships. That’s something that is on my mind as we assess things here and where we’re going to go with the program. I still continue to be very impressed with the sellout streak. These people are fabulous fans, and I’m hoping we can give them something to really be excited about here as we end the season.”

On what he’s heard from fans:

“They’re frustrated and disappointed. Again, there’s been inconsistency in several coaches that have followed a long line of extremely successful seasons. You get used to something, and then it’s not quite going that way again, they are looking for answers, and looking to me for some of them. Yeah, there’s been a lot of correspondence in that regard.”

On fans suggesting Nebraska should hire Scott Frost:

“They suggest that, and as well they should. Scott’s having an outstanding year and certainly he’s paid his dues in the profession. He deserves the attention he’s getting. I know we’re all pulling for him to win his conference and hopefully get to a nice bowl game.”

On the importance of getting to a bowl:

“I think a bowl game, first and foremost, is really a reward to the players, and especially the seniors. So with that in mind, I’m hoping that we can qualify for it and go play in a bowl. I’m not real sure which one that would be, but I’m studying up on that and I’ll be with the Big Ten next week and study it a little bit more. Any time you can extend the season, I don’t care what the circumstances are, I think it’s good for the players. …

“(Getting to a bowl) was the norm for years and years. Certainly my plan is to get back to that point that we are in bowl games every year, and that we start moving up the chain and hopefully get to those big ones at the top, because in my opinion, that’s our rightful place.”

On not firing coaches midseason:

“It’s been my feeling all throughout my career that unless there’s a behavioral issue, firing a coach in the middle of the season really doesn’t accomplish that much. And it really causes some poor feelings and anxieties with the players. At the end of the day, this is really about the student-athletes, and we obviously want to make our fans happy, but to keep a focus and not have distractions in regards to terminating a coach in midseason is important for the current players.”

On what he looks for in a football coach:

“First, you’ve got to have integrity and have a very good body of work that would be appealing to me and to our fan base. I do like to stick with college head coaches that know the game, know the rules, know the territory. I think that’s very important. Certainly, someone who believes that there is talent here in Nebraska and that we’re not going to fly over it to find other talent. We’re going to fill in the blanks. We have to because the population isn’t such to fill a complete roster, obviously, but there’s a lot of things that are pretty standard in what I look for, but depending on what the setting is, that can vary a bit.”

On hiring Mike Leach and his pass-happy spread offense at Washington State:

“I think that really worked well at Washington State in the Pac-12, which is a pass-happy league. We had a big hole to dig out of, and it was my thought that we can entertain our fans, maybe not win the game, but at least entertain them while we’re building the program from all the other pieces that had to go together, and there was a ton of them, facilities, nutrition, I can go on and on.

“All those things are in place here. This table is set beautifully, and it’s a very appealing job. It should be and will be back in the same breath of mention of Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Texas. All of them have taken some dips. It can be cyclical. You’ve got to watch it. It is different being the hunted than the hunter, and we need to get back to being hunted.”

On his meetings with Riley:

“We’ve talked a bit about several topics that both of us wanted to visit about. I do think that we’ll have some more and get a little bit more into those topics and maybe some others. But I also have to be appreciative of his time and what it takes to prepare for an opponent in the Big Ten. When we do have our meetings, it’ll be centered around his schedule and probably maybe even another one this week and next week as well. I need to get a feel for what his take is on various things, such as the Big Ten itself or what he feels his current squad looks like, how many of these young men are redshirted that our fans haven’t had a chance to see perform yet, and also of course the recruiting situation and how we’re sitting there and what his philosophy is about that.”

On Nebraska basketball:

“I have had some brief visits with Tim (Miles). I haven’t had a chance to see them practice, and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting out there tonight and see what we’ve got. Everything I’ve read is uplifting, and of course it’s another very tough conference in the sport of men’s basketball as well, so it’ll be fun to get a little glimpse and see what we’ve got going in men’s basketball.”

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