LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska’s 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois was shocking at first. Two days after the fact, it seems like it wasn’t all that surprising. That’s what coach Mike Riley saw, at least.
“We obviously had all the ingredients of a loss,” Riley said on Monday. “They’re all bad losses, but when you look at the scoreboard or when you look at the video or the statistics, nothing good about it. I guess the recipe and the ingredients for losing were all over the place.”
Riley felt the criticism was warranted after the loss, too. From athletic director Shawn Eichorst to Nebraska fans, he heard what was said and considered it “probably earned.”
With that in mind, Riley and his staff will evaluate how they’re preparing players. He sees “the adults” needing to step up and teach, especially when it comes to building and retaining confidence among the players. He also sees a need to evaluate how the players are prepped each day.
“When you have a game like that that falls apart with what you’re trying to do, then you go back and examine what can we do a little differently day-to-day, in the morning, in the night, getting ready for the next practice,” Riley said.
With nonconference play behind, the Huskers are viewing the game Saturday vs. Rutgers as a fresh start, and Riley still has confidence in his team.
“We have all we need here to win,” Riley said. “The resources and help provided by Shawn [Eichorst] and the administration are awesome and we understand the expectations and we embrace that. We are here to perform and compete and recruit at the highest level and we did not perform like that on Saturday, so we have to get back to playing solid football.”
More from the Monday press conference
• Nebraska released its latest depth chart on Monday ahead of the Rutgers matchup, but there were no noticeable changes. The only real update was the move of wide receiver Keyan Williams to the injured list, as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
However, Riley is open to the idea of adjusting the depth chart. That could include getting young players in the mix as needed.
“We’re certainly looking at anyone competing to get in and play,” Riley said.
• Speaking of injuries, there were a few updates from Riley. First, the right tackle position is currently in a state of limbo with starter David Knevel still questionable (although improving) and backup Matt Farniok having a pin placed in his right wrist to fix a broken bone. Brenden Jaimes and Christian Gaylord would be the next men up if Knevel and Farniok are unable to play against Rutgers.
Linebacker Marcus Newby will be “out for a while” with a hamstring injury, but Riley doesn’t know how long. Running back Tre Bryant and safety Joshua Kalu remain questionable, with more updates coming as the week progresses.
• Riley and his staff spent part of Sunday talking to Nebraska’s commits and targets. How are they selling the program after the loss to Northern Illinois?
“Do they want to be part of it as we come back?” Riley said.
And he’ll continue to sell the program and the vision. That’s the key as he works to keep Nebraska’s recruits in the fold.
“When you have a bump, you can get through it,” Riley said. “That’s my experience in recruiting.”