05.Feb.2012 Final Word on Ryan Leaf & Riley
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I'll keep this brief. I just wanted to clarify something, which I did in the comment area yesterday, but some might not have read it:
Obviously Leaf isn’t an authoritative source. Still, he was a major talent and NFL player who called Riley an idiot.
The guys you mention love Riley for their own reasons. Many times it’s because he’s a nice guy (or in Harbaugh’s case, gave him a chance to QB). When Harbaugh coached Stanford, I doubt he stayed up all night scheming against Riley. You know?
You have to separate the opponents’ reverence for Riley due to him being a nice guy and playing by the rules (which is rare in this day) versus their respect for him as a scheming football mind. I’d wager quite a bit of money it’s more the former. Everyone around here respects him on that front.
For the record, I think Leaf is an idiot, and I think Riley is undisciplined with no attention to detail (amongst other flaws, though I am not sure “idiot” is one of them, but maybe it is given Riley’s misuse of timeouts, challenges, etc?). If Leaf didn’t mention Riley’s lack of discipline this wouldn’t be a story because he, Leaf, is an idiot. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once and a while, though, and I think Leaf’s take on Riley’s discipline is spot on.
I think Riley assumes the role of the players’ dad. He’s more interested in carving men out of them than he is winning games. That’s fine and all if you’re a priest but not as a D1 coach. Not that it’s not important at all, but it should be way down on the ladder.
I'd also like fans who say, "Riley got us to within one game of a Rose Bowl!" to realize several things:
- The Rodgers brothers had a lot to do with that. This was further proven when James got hurt and the 2010 season went kaput. Then, when Quizz got drafted the 2011 run game collapsed. When both were healthy, the Beavs made two Rose Bowl runs (I'd argue in spite of Riley).
- James was pretty much a coach in the huddle–he motivated teammates more than Riley. Being fair, give Riley credit for offering the scholarship…
- "Almost" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades!
- The conference was down in 2008 and 2009.
The conference should be stronger than ever in the next few years. Recruiting has really picked up. Everyone is being aggressive. Let's see how Riley does moving forward without the benefit of two legendary brothers.
Alright, end rant. Enjoy the Super Bowl. Should be a good one.