Most recently, Raiola was the assistant offensive line coach for the Chicago Bears from 2018-2021. As a player, he started 39 games for Wisconsin and was a team captain in 2005.
Some may point to how poor the Chicago Bears offensive line has been this season. They have given up the second -most sacks in the league with 40. To that argument, I counter that the Bears as an organization have not been well-run. Yes, Raiola was an assistant offensive line coach. However, he had had to deal with things that have been beyond his control. I do not put the blame on him entirely.
At Nebraska, he has a lot of players that he can work with. Turner Corcoran is certainly a promising talent. So too is Bryce Benhart. Nebraska football has also been active in extending offers to lineman in the transfer portal. This is a position that has a lot of talent right now.
What the line needs is development. This is something that quite frankly, Greg Austin failed in. Austin did not develop the lineman enough to where they needed to be last year. Quite frankly, they regressed. It was frustrating to see.
Raiola is going to have his work cut out for him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the line struggle next year as they adjust to new coaching. It’s almost as if the offensive line itself is going to need to be developed again. It’s unfortunate that the lineman may have to go through this cycle, but that’s what happens when a positional group is underdeveloped.
I’ll be interested to see what he will be able to do with this group. Nebraska really started to run the football a lot more last year. At times, the line failed the running backs. Blocking in the run game needs to be a little bit better, and pass blocking needs to perform better as well. Quite frankly, the line was abysmal in both aspects.
Time for Donovan Raiola to get to work.