Sean Mannion

Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion in action against Washington on Nov. 22, 2014, in Seattle. Mannion threw for more than 13,000 yards under new Nebraska coach Mike Riley.

Mike Riley has heard his offense described as a pro-style attack for years, and someone did so again Friday.

“I guess people call it a pro-style because we huddle and have gone underneath the center a few times, actually," the Husker head coach said at his introductory press conference.

But then he busted out another word to describe it. A fun word that sort of made you hungry.

“I think that we’ve kind of run a smorgasbord of offense,” he said.

During Riley's time at Oregon State, Steven Jackson ran for 1,545 yards in a season, and Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 3,877 yards in three seasons. He was also in charge when Markus Wheaton caught 227 passes for 2,994 yards in four years, and Brandin Cooks caught 226 passes for 3,272 yards in three.

So while there may be valid concern by Husker fans that Oregon State's rushing offense ranked 113th a season ago, and 118th a season before that, it does seem that Riley's offense has, as he described it in his introductory press conference, adapted to fit the talent on his roster.

Shane Morales was a wide receiver at Oregon State from 2006-08. When he was a senior, Jacquizz Rodgers was a freshman running back.

"And we had a mean offensive line," Morales said. "So we were very balanced. But then when you have people like (wide receiver) Brandin Crooks and (quarterback) Sean Mannion, our run game wasn't used as much. So Coach Riley knows where his talent is."

One of the alluring aspects of it to potential recruits? Riley's offense could be viewed as really good preparation for those hoping to reach the next level.

"I spent some time with the Arizona Cardinals, and they were running the same exact plays that we were doing at Oregon State."

James Rodgers, elder brother of Jacquizz, gives much the same opinion.

Rodgers, who now plays in the CFL for the Montreal Alouettes, left Oregon State with a school record 6,377 all-purpose yards. In 2008, Riley saw Rodgers' talent, and used the fly sweep often. It drove defenses batty. Rodgers averaged 8.9 yards a rush.

"I think his offense does adapt well," Rodgers said. "The whole pro-style offense, not only is it good for kids in college, but it prepares them for the next level. Just by him being able to use all the weapons, and get everybody involved, that shows a lot about his offense."

As for Riley's ability to develop quarterbacks?

"He's very good at explaining," said Morales, who also served as a grad assistant under Riley. "He's also hard on them. He's big on quarterbacks. If someone messes up, he's going to let them know. But it's always constructive criticism. He's going to let them know, 'Why are you doing that? We went over (this in film)...' He's very good at teaching it."


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