Oregon State coach Mike Riley says NFL move is 'good opportunity' for his departing offensive coordinator
Danny Langsdorf had cleared out his Valley Football Center office, and was in the packing process at his Corvallis home Saturday afternoon for a Monday flight to East Rutherford, N.J.
Wife Michele and the couple's two small children will stay in Corvallis temporarily, looking to sell their house as they prepare to begin a new chapter in their lives.
After nine years as offensive coordinator at Oregon State, Langsdorf is ready to tackle a new challenge as quarterbacks coach of the NFL New York Giants but not without growing nostalgic about his time working under OSU coach Mike Riley and the relationships he built through the years.
'We've been through a lot," said Langsdorf, 41. "We had some great wins and some good times and some bad times together. Mike is one of the best, if not the best around.
"Any time you've been together for as long as we have, you've lived through the ups and downs. We've had a great relationship. It's difficult to leave those relationships. Michele and I have some great friends in Corvallis and on the (OSU) coaching staff. All of those things made the decision to leave tough."
Though he would have liked to have kept Langsdorf, Riley understands. In his four decades as a coach, Riley has worked for four pro teams -- including three years as coach of the San Diego Chargers -- and at six colleges.
"Its a good opportunity for Danny," Riley said, "one of those things that doesnt come along very often. You either say, 'Hey, Im going to do it,' like I did with San Diego, or youre not. You may not get another chance. I don't know what his ultimate aspirations are, but at his age, its probably a good career move for him."
Seven years ago, Langsdorf donated a kidney to Laurie Cavanaugh, wife of OSU offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh. That's the kind of person Langsdorf is. That's the kind of close relationships Riley has on his staff.
Langsdorf will miss that, but he felt his opportunity to work with an organization that has won the Super Bowl twice since 2007, and that has a quarterback the caliber of Eli Manning, "was too hard to pass up."
Peyton Manning's younger brother had a down year in 2013, throwing for 3,818 yards and 18 touchdowns with a franchise-record 27 touchdowns. That, as much as anything, told the story of the Giants' 7-9 season.
Langsdorf and Eli have spoken twice by phone already in the week since Langsdorf took his new job.
"Eli is real excited about getting back to work," Langsdorf said. "He threw a lot of interceptions. which is something both he and the Giants are concerned with. He was great on the phone. He is motivated to get back to work, to bounce back and have a better year."
Langsdorf will be working under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, with whom he worked on the New Orleans Saints' staff in 2004, both as offensive quality control coaches. McAdoo, 36, spent the past eight seasons with Green Bay, the last two as quarterbacks coach.
"He has done a nice job, albeit in a short time, with the 49ers (as quality control coach in 2005) and the Packers," Langsdorf said. "He's well-respected. Knowing him and working with him before will make the transition easier for me."
Langsdorf, who played his college ball at Boise State and Linfield, is more small town than big city. He has coached in New Orleans and Edmonton, though, so he is no country bumpkin.
"I'll miss the ease of living in a great community like Corvallis, where you're comfortable, safe and quiet and can ride your bike to work," he said. "All of those things are hard to leave. But Michele and I are both excited about going to a new place.
"The NFL wasn't the end-all, be-all for my coaching goals, but this job is intriguing. I think it's the right organization, with a good quarterback, and the right time. All of those elements."
Langsdorf took some heat from fans through his final few seasons at Oregon State, as the running game struggled and the Beavers suffered through losing campaigns in 2010 and '11.
"I don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about that," he said. "People have their opinions. We as a staff have always believed in what we've done. (Fans) want you to win every game. If you're not doing that, there are going to be people complaining about you.
"I understand that part of it. I don't think everybody always has enough information to form those opinions, but I'm not going to be changing philosophies or systems because I'm worried about what people think. That's just not how I approach it."
Langsdorf admits there will be "some anxiety" going to the NFL.
"You have to win games to stick around," he said. "But it's pretty much the same anywhere you go. There's a lot of importance in winning, as there should be."
Riley and Langsdorf were more than just coaching comrades. Riley was a mentor to Langsdorf. Langsdorf was a loyal friend to Riley.
"Hes a great guy and has done a great job for us," Riley said. "Ive known Danny for a long time. Itll be strange not having him around."