Oklahoma Fans: Lincoln Riley Did You a Favor!

To see some of the stuff OU fans are saying right now, you’d think the sky was falling:

And someone put up a big TRAITOR sign over the Oklahoma campus sign:

Sheesh. OU fans are not taking this well.

But, let’s get one thing straight: Lincoln Riley did OU a favor here.

Really, he did. I’m not being a dick.

If the guy is truly “scared” to coach in the SEC, then why would Oklahoma even want him as their head coach at all?

On that front, as far as I’m concerned, good riddance. Good bye. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Take a hike. Smell ya later. Have a nice life.

You cannot on the one hand say, “Lincoln Riley screwed us over!” and then on the other hand say, “Lincoln Riley is afraid to coach in the SEC!”

If he’s afraid to coach in the SEC, you should be happy his ass is gone!

Lincoln Riley was obviously not up to the task of leading Oklahoma in the SEC. He knew he wasn’t, and he was honest with himself.

Oklahoma fans should be happy about that.

And as for the “Lincoln Riley set OU football back 10 years”–no he didn’t.

Sure, recruiting is going to suffer this year. There’s going to be a mass exodus of talent from the program in the short term, and that will ultimately have longer term effects.

But you can survive one bad recruiting class, as long as the next coach that comes in is a good recruiter who can get things back on track quickly. And given Oklahoma’s pedigree, I think they’ll have no trouble finding a guy who can come in and recruit at an elite level. I’ve already heard rumors that Brent Venables, the longtime Clemson defensive coordinator who has won National Championships, is the front-runner for the job. That would be a phenomenal hire for OU.

Venables was OU’s D-coordinator from 1999-2011. He has deep historical ties with the program that go back over 20 years. I don’t see why he wouldn’t take the job if it’s offered to him. The only hold-up I could see is that Venables’ sons are on the Clemson team right now. Jake is a redshirt junior and Tyler is a sophomore. So maybe Brent doesn’t want to leave until his sons have graduated.

But his sons could also transfer to OU if they wanted. Or Brent could just take the OU job and not coach his sons anymore. I think if OU comes calling and makes him the big-time $10 million per year offer, how can he say no to that? I’m sure his sons wouldn’t fault him for taking a premier head coaching job and making fat stacks in the process.

Bob Stoops, who has now taken over as the interim head coach for the Bowl Game and basically the guy tasked with holding the program together so all hell doesn’t break loose, has said that he doesn’t believe this will be a long head coaching search. He thinks OU will move quickly. Maybe this is an indication they’re already close to finding a replacement.

It wouldn’t be a surprise. I’m sure there’s a lot of guys interested in the job.

But I want to go back to the “Lincoln Riley set us back 10 years” talk.

Not true at all.

In fact, the opposite is true.

What would have set OU back 10 years is if Lincoln Riley stayed for the move to the SEC, went 8-4 for 4 straight seasons, and then got run out of town on a rail.

That would have been a disaster for the program. It would have diminished the brand quite a bit, because people would start to think, “OU simply cannot hold their own in the SEC. This is not a premier program anymore.” Then they would not have been able to find a great replacement for Riley.

And this would be something happening 6-8 years down the road.

In other words, if Lincoln Riley had stayed, it probably would’ve set the program back 10-15 years, or maybe even more than that.

Look, Lincoln Riley is not cut out for the SEC. He wouldn’t be able to get the job done, and he knows it, too. No disrespect to the guy because I think it was actually a smart move on his part to be honest with himself, and to take a job in the Pac-12 with a much stronger recruiting base.

But I think in the long run, this will be better for Oklahoma. They will get their new coach to lead them into the SEC, and that new coach will come in with his eyes wide open about the challenges the program will face as a result of that move.

You can’t bring that candy-ass “finesse” Lincoln Riley all-offense, no-defense into the SEC anyway.

Oklahoma played SEC teams 3 times in the CFP under Lincoln Riley. Here were the results:

  • 2019: Lost 63-28 to LSU. LSU was up 49-14 at halftime. LSU could’ve hung 80 on OU if they really wanted to. LSU racked up 692 yards of offense to OU’s 322.
  • 2018: Lost 45-34 to Alabama. Bama was up 28-0 barely a quarter into the game and ultimately racked up 528 yards of total offense.
  • 2017: lost 54-48 to Georgia in 2OT. This was the most competitive OU has ever been against an SEC team. They had a 31-17 lead at halftime but blew it in the second half. Racked up 531 yards of offense on UGA but also allowed 527 yards of offense.

The Lincoln Riley approach does not work against elite SEC teams.

OU would have been screwed if they went into the SEC with Lincoln Riley as their coach, to be quite honest. The guy does not do defense.

Granted, the whole sport, including the SEC, is moving more towards the Big 12 model of high-flying offenses and less emphasis on defense. I mean, you look at both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, they’re primarily offensive teams. Mike Leach is the inventor of the Air Raid offense, and he’s in the SEC now.

And Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss team did pretty well this year, all things considered. They’re 10-2 right now and ranked #9 in the nation.

But the fact that Lincoln Riley didn’t want to coach in the SEC should tell you everything you need to know about his confidence in his ability to compete there.

OU is better off starting fresh at head coach as they prepare to move to the SEC. They need a coach that understands how much different football is in the SEC. Doesn’t have to be a coach with an SEC background, but definitely a coach that can put an emphasis on defense.

I think Venables would be great at OU. The guy has competed with SEC teams and won during his time at Clemson. He’s probably the best defensive mind in the sport.

I think Venables would be a perfect fit for OU as they head to the SEC.

2 thoughts on “Oklahoma Fans: Lincoln Riley Did You a Favor!

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