LOS ANGELES – Coaches Lincoln Riley and Kirby Smart met the media one final time during a Rose Bowl news conference on Sunday morning. Oklahoma and Georgia will meet at 4:10 p.m. Monday in the College Football Playoff semifinal game in Pasadena, Calif. “We've had a great week of practice. We're anxious and ready for the game to be here,” Riley said. “It's been a long time coming, lot of buildup. I feel like our guys are excited, prepared, ready to play very well. Baker Mayfield’s health has been a heavy topic during the week. The OU quarterback has been battling illness but briefly met the media on Saturday morning. "We're confident in where Baker's at and being ready to play well for us tomorrow," Riley said, when asked if the team entered more hand signals or signage to help with the offense. The final day of preparations and a Rose Bowl stadium walkthrough will keep return things to normalcy after a week of events. “It's a chance to … [Read more...] about OU Football: Lincoln Riley says he’s ‘confident’ where Baker Mayfield’s health is at just 24 hours to Rose Bowl
LOS ANGELES — The moment came against UTEP, and probably no one noticed.By all accounts, Lincoln Riley already had adjusted well to a new role as head coach. Before, during and in the immediate aftermath of Bob Stoops’ sudden retirement, the young assistant coach had impressed anyone and everyone associated with the Oklahoma football program with his readiness for the promotion. The term they all use for the transition is “seamless,” and it’s hard to argue with the results, with Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff, set to face Georgia in a semifinal Monday at the Rose Bowl.It’s also hard to tell Riley is a rookie at this. But yeah, there was a moment in the season opener when he suddenly realized things had changed. Early in the second quarter, UTEP was called for holding on third down. And then for a few seconds, here’s what happened:Nothing. MORE: Oklahoma's maligned defense has much to prove, and a chance to do it WOLKEN … [Read more...] about Lincoln Riley steps easily into lead role: ‘He’s just a guy you want to follow’
LOS ANGELES — Every now and then Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley will pop by the office of Ruffin McNeill, OU’s defensive tackles assistant and Riley’s 15-year advocate, and the conversation will start like this: McNeill: “You good, boss?” Riley: “Yes, I’m good. You need anything?” McNeill: “I’m good, boss.” What sounds cursory is actually quite revealing. There is comfort on the Sooners’ staff, a feat as underrated as OU’s 12-1 record en route to the College Football Playoff semifinal Rose Bowl against Georgia. Sure, Bob Stoops left Riley proven players and assistants when he abruptly retired last June. But that didn’t mean it had to be a seamless transition for the then-34-year-old offensive coordinator and the esteemed program he was suddenly in charge of. “There’s not many guys, whether they take over in June or in December, that can have the desired effect on their … [Read more...] about Guerin Emig: Lincoln Riley’s remarkable first season as seen through the eyes of his staff
Riley, Smart cross paths on recruiting trail Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley told a story about running into Georgia coach Kirby Smart shortly after this year’s Rose Bowl matchup was announced. While Riley was in Atlanta for the College Football Awards show early this month, he ran into Smart at a Georgia high school. Both were recruiting a target at that school. “It’s kind of funny. We were waiting for like a crowd of reporters to come out of the side,” Riley said Wednesday during a news conference at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. “I thought it might have been staged in a way. It was funny. We were both going solo. We joked about that because so many head coaches, when they recruit, travel with one or two other staff members. We were both going solo, young guys going at it like we’re assistants. So we had a laugh about it, spent a few minutes there. He’s a great guy. I’ve got a ton of respect for him for the job he’s … [Read more...] about Rose Bowl notebook: Lincoln Riley, Kirby Smart cross paths on the recruiting trail
LOS ANGELES – Trying to come up with a different way to write about Lincoln Riley’s stupendous rookie season as OU coach, I tapped into five of his assistants for their impressions. You can read that column here if you’re inclined. I included this snippet from Mike Stoops about similarities he noticed between Riley and Mike’s older brother, Bob: “They don’t show any signs of letting the situation ever get too big than it really is, whether they feel it or not. I think we all do, it’s just part of the world we live in. But you don’t ever show any weakness. He never has and I don’t anticipate him ever doing it.” I asked Cale Gundy and Kerry Cooks the same question about similarities or differences between OU’s new coach and the one he replaced. You might be interested to read their responses. Gundy: “I don’t think there’s anything that comes to mind in how they separate. They both win a bunch of … [Read more...] about Guerin Emig: What separates Lincoln Riley from Bob Stoops after one season?
MULESHOE, Texas — At times during the installation that spring, David Wood couldn’t help but shake his head. Five years earlier, Lincoln Riley had quarterbacked Muleshoe High School. And now here he was, so young but so self-assured, teaching his former coaches the intricacies of coach Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense.“We really thought he knew exactly what he was talking about,” says Wood, then and now Muleshoe High’s head coach. “We were just coaching him a few years earlier. But he always had something special about him.”Serious college football fans have gotten acquainted with Riley this season, his first at Oklahoma, as he has led an offensive resurgence that was a catalyst for the Sooners' surprising ascent to the College Football Playoff. They face Clemson in an Orange Bowl semifinal Thursday afternoon that is anticipated as a matchup of fast-paced, explosive attacks.“Lincoln has really transformed our … [Read more...] about Early riser: Lincoln Riley helps revive Oklahoma offense
NORMAN, Okla. — The new head coach’s office at the University of Oklahoma measures a cozy 1,800 square feet. Which is probably why Oklahoma’s new head coach jokes, “There’s a lot of room for growth.” The palatial space features an arched entryway, 20-foot ceilings, windows almost as tall. Depending on the arrangement, there are three or maybe four sitting areas and perhaps two dozen chairs or sofas. Lincoln Riley calls the office “fitting” — and then quickly explains. “It represents the program and the history and the magnitude of it,” he says. “So I think it’s very fitting — not for me but for the program.” Whether Riley will be a fit for one of the premier jobs in college football is a question that can’t yet be answered. He was elevated this month from offensive coordinator after Bob Stoops’ sudden retirement. Though Stoops’ exit was shocking, Riley’s promotion … [Read more...] about New Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley inherits plenty of talent, big expectations
Lincoln Riley’s University of Oklahoma bio lists one sentence about his college playing career: “Part of a Texas Tech squad that played in the 2002 Tangerine Bowl.”Even at 33, Riley’s coaching tenure is much more expansive and includes three stops as an assistant at FBS schools before he ascended to the head coaching level at the University of Oklahoma with Wednesday’s unexpected retirement of longtime Sooners coach Bob Stoops.Riley was hired as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach January 2015 after he spent the prior five seasons with East Carolina, the last serving as the Pirates’ assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.Riley was given a three-year extension earlier this year that ran through January 2020 that paid an average salary of $1.3 million per season, making him one of the nation’s top-paid assistants. Riley was credited for sparking a Sooners offensive … [Read more...] about Who is new Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley?
FRISCO, Texas — In the five weeks since he was named Oklahoma’s head coach, Lincoln Riley has talked several times with his predecessor. Bob Stoops, now a special assistant to the athletic director, is still around.“We’ve talked a few times,” Riley said Monday at Big 12 media days, “when I can catch him off the golf course. … He might have been happier about missing this than anything (else) about the job.”In a text message, Stoops insisted he “never minded (media days) all that much but golf course is better.” And he confirmed that’s exactly where he was.During an interview from the main stage and then a 90-minute breakout session afterward, Riley answered plenty of questions centered on replacing Stoops, including what advice he’d been getting from the coach after his surprise retirement last month.“Everything will probably be sporadic throughout the year,” Riley said. “But I know he’s … [Read more...] about New Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley says Bob Stoops stays ready to help in any way he can
FRISCO, Texas — A few days ago, Oklahoma President David Boren made some ripples — we know, what’s new? — by saying he is “philosophically in favor of a 10-win Texas.” Tom Herman’s response:“So am I!”Herman laughed as he said it. And then the Longhorns’ first-year coach acknowledged that he’d like to see Oklahoma have similar success. And this isn’t so much détente in a heated rivalry so much as it is recognition of the obvious:The Big 12 needs Texas to get good again — and for Oklahoma to remain there.All of which is why the Red River rivalry is suddenly so fascinating. Herman is Texas’ new hope, the guy who is supposed to catapult the Longhorns back to winning. On the other sideline at the Cotton Bowl that second Saturday in October will be another newcomer. All Lincoln Riley is charged with is maintaining what Bob Stoops built, and goosing the Sooners just a bit to reach their success levels of … [Read more...] about Big 12 fortunes ride on new Red River Rivalry, Texas’ Tom Herman, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley