The theory that Mike Riley's teams prefer to pass the ball might be inaccurate. Riley says his playcalling has reflected his team's personnel, citing that Oregon State wasn't as strong in the running game as he would've liked.
""Even in my former life, with good prolific passers, I didn't want to pass as much as we did at some points in our time there," Riley said of his tenure at Oregon State. "It just meant our running game wasn't good enough. I think football goes best when its balanced."
In Riley's most recent stint at Oregon State, the Beavers threw the ball on 53% of offensive plays. There were seasons (2013) where the numbers heavily favored passing (623 passes vs. 345 running plays). And there were seasons where he leaned on the ground game (2007 - 535 running plays vs. 425 passes).
Riley says of Nebraska: "Our team has to run the football." The first-year head coach recognizes Nebraska's history of a strong rushing attack. While Ameer Abdullah has graduated, Riley is hopeful the Huskers can develop the next great Husker I-Back.
Nebraska's top candidates to replace Abdullah are Terrell Newby, Adam Taylor, and Imani Cross. Riley says he has an idea of who the Huskers' top option at the position is, but declined to share publicly.