Quarterback Tanner Lee hasn’t taken a snap for the Nebraska Cornhuskers yet, but the former Tulane starter is already creating buzz and hype around the program’s faithful as well as some national outlets. Nebraska head coach Mike Riley said on The Jim Rome Show Thursday you’d never know it with how Lee carries himself.
“Beautiful thing about Tanner is there’s not a lot of drama there,” Riley said on CBS Sports Radio. “He came in kind of as guy initially liked by everybody, had to sit out the year because of the transfer, and pretty soon I noticed there was a lot of respect there too. So he was well liked. He’s well respected, not a lot of drama. Pretty mature, poised kid, I really like him.”
Riley says Lee reminds him of current Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore, who he coached at his previous job, Oregon State, after Moore transferred from UCLA. “Matt kind of entered in as one of the guys and had a great two-year career with us, and I’m looking forward to seeing if Tanner can do the same kind of thing at Nebraska.”
Riley also hired former UConn head coach and Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco to take over as his defensive coordinator position this season. He expects big things from the 44-year-old Diaco.
“He is smart, he is detailed, he is a very, very good teacher. I was impressed with the amount of production we got accomplished throughout spring ball,” Riley said. “Because we changed to the 3-4, I’ve been intrigued with doing that for a few years, excited to do that, great marriage with that thought and getting to hire Bob.
“He is always thought-provoking for me. He’s been now a head coach, so a guy like that on the staff is really good for me. I enjoy talking to him about football program’s as well as just the defense we are implementing here.”
Entering his third season as the program’s head coach, Riley talked about what he’s learned from the Nebraska fan base, one that he views as the best in the country.
“I want to feel like a real good fit here, because I really like these people. They care so much,” Riley said. “People ask me to describe Nebraska in one word, and I say ‘care,’ and it’s all over the place, and they’re generally nice, friendly. They pride themselves in what they say. They are the best fans in college football and I think they are. They love their team, they stayed with it through thick and thin and sold out that stadium for 60-plus years, and it’s really an honor to be in a football program where people are around you that care so much.”