Like a lot of you, I've tried to let this one sink in a bit.
Following Saturday's loss to Northwestern, Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco opined, "There’s no reasonable reason — considering where the defensive program was at — to believe that they should be able to do everything that needs to be done in the game, to win the game."
Tuesday, after practice, Bob Diaco talked some more, seemingly doubling down on his comments from Saturday.
He ripped Nebraska's previous tackling philosophy. He waxed poetic about Nebraska's "intellectual conditioning" on defense. He said a lot. Truthfully, a lot more than what he probably should have.
But what does it all mean?
Heck, we spent a good 20 minutes on our radio show Wednesday with Sam McKewon of the Omaha World Herald trying to sort it all out.
After listening to Diaco ad nauseam the last 48 hours, I've arrived at the following conclusions as to what (I think) he's getting at, in no particular order:
1. Diaco doesn't think his defense is good enough to win close games, especially when the offense is misfiring.
2. Diaco needs more time to implement his 3-4 system. Anyone who thought it was going to be a quick fix was sold on a false bill of goods. He needs at least one full year, if not more, to fix the issues and make it work.
3. Diaco thinks, at some level, he inherited a severely flawed defensive group. He can't, and shouldn't, be held accountable for what he inherited.
4. Despite all of this, Diaco likes his players, and thinks they can turn the corner with time. He's never deviated from this stance.
The real problem here, is it doesn't matter what he was going for, and it doesn't matter if what he's saying is 100 percent true (a lot of it is).
Diaco's comments paint a picture of a dysfunctional football program where it's offense pitted against defense, 2017 defense vs. 2016 defense, with a whole lot of finger pointing along the way.
As much as I used to hate the "coach speak" aspect of it, Bo Pelini's "pointing the thumb" commentary would go a long way here.
In hindsight, perhaps Mike Riley should have known better than to bring in a defensive coordinator that was going to take years to install a new system. That's a risky proposition in year three of a tenure, especially when you're also installing a new offense.
Perhaps Riley had some assurances from those above him, even from those from those that are no longer employed by the university, that he'd have enough time to make it work. I don't know that to be true, and I doubt many do.
I do know that Nebraska needs to win, and win now. This stuff doesn't help. Quite honestly, if I were Mike Riley, I'd pass on having Diaco talk to the media the rest of the season. He doesn't seem to be able to help himself once he gets rolling.
Ask yourself: How does any of this, in any way, help Nebraska win any of their three remaining games?
The answer? It doesn't.
Can Nebraska's players possibly ignore what their coach is saying, and simply "tune out" the noise?
And that's the issue here.
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