Nebraska football coach Mike Riley was asked Monday to reflect on his tenure in Lincoln. He didn’t really want to do much of that.
After all, the Huskers have a game Friday, their final regular-season contest.
Riley, though, understands he could be in his last week as Nebraska’s head coach as the Huskers prepare to play Iowa at Memorial Stadium. His team is 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten, and speculation persists that he could be fired as soon as Saturday.
He said he doesn’t discuss the speculation about his future, or the staff’s future, with the players.
“I talk to our team as if I’m going to be here forever,” Riley said.
He said he approaches each day with that mindset, in large part so he doesn’t complicate matters for the players.
“They don’t need any of that,” Riley said.
He said the focus must be on beating Iowa (6-5, 3-5), and that he can reflect later.
“I think we owe our kids the energy of this preparation,” he said.
Nebraska met as a team Sunday. Players lifted weights and watched film, getting “a little dose of Iowa under their belts.”
Iowa has won three of the last four games in this series, including a 40-10 decision last November in Iowa City.
“Our guys will have to be ready physically, because that’s what Iowa is up front,” Riley said.
He did reflect a little on his three years in Lincoln, saying he’s enjoyed watching the program grow and being part of the community.
“I’ve really appreciated the people here,” he said, adding, “Walking out in that stadium, I’ll never get tired of that.”