Bob Stoops Retires, Lincoln Riley Oklahoma Head Coach: 5 Things That Matter
In a stunning move, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops retiring and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley takes over.
1. Bob Stoops Is Retiring?
According to Mr. Oklahoma sports, Berry Tremmel of The Oklahoman, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is retiring after 18 legendary years.
An out-of-the-blue shocker, absolutely no one saw this coming – at least not right now going into this season.
Even a few days ago, Stoops gave no indication that he was about to step down as he went all in defending the Big 12 and the potential for Oklahoma to do even more.
Usually, when things like this happen, there’s a rumor going around that something big is about to happen. But not this time. No one in the sewing circle of college football media types had any sort of a whiff about this, mainly because Oklahoma is expected to be a top five team coming into the season with the talent to be deep in the College Football Playoff chase.
The official statement from Stoops: “After 18 years at the University of Oklahoma, I’ve decided to step down as the head football coach. I understand there has been some speculation about my health. My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I’ve had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching. I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins. The program is in tremendous shape. We have outstanding players and coaches and are poised to make another run at a Big 12 and national championship. We have new state-of-the-art facilities and a great start on next year’s recruiting class. The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition.”
2. Okay, So Who Is Lincoln Riley?
The soon-to-turn 34-year-old new head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners spend the last few seasons as the offensive coordinator – helping take the Sooner attack to a whole other level.
The former Texas Tech quarterback knows how to get an offense moving, is able to crank up the tempo and the pace, and proved he could field an attack that could not only keep up with the rest of the Big 12 high-octane offenses, but even surpass them.
Riley was a backup for the Red Raiders, but he had a sharp enough coaching mind to be a part of the Texas Tech coaching staff early on under Mike Leach. He rose up the ranks after six years with the program before taking over the East Carolina offensive coordinator job for four years. ‘
In his two years at OU, the Sooner attack finished second overall in the nation last season and first in passing efficiency – cranking out 555 yards and 44 points per game – after averaging 530 yards and 43.5 points per outing after he first took the job.
How was the OU offense before Riley? If was fine, but it averaged 465 yards and 36 points per game.
3. The Bob Stoops Legacy
One of college football’s all-time greatest coaches, he started out as Big Game Bob, coming up with a national title run in his second year at the helm. His teams were tough, smart, and had the reputation for being the toughest guys on the block.
While he never won another national championship – losing to LSU in the 2004 Sugar Bowl, getting bombed by USC in the 2004 Orange Bowl and losing to Tim Tebow & Florida in the 2009 BCS Championship – he got to the College Football Playoff two years ago,
He leaves Oklahoma as the storied program’s all-time winningest head coach with a 190-48 record, ten Big 12 championships, nine bowl victories, and 13 New Year’s Six/BCS-level bowl appearance in his 18 years.
Just 56 years old – turning 57 in September – if he was able to maintain his current winning pace, he could’ve had a shot at being the all-time winningest head coach if he stuck with it for another 20 years.
But that was never going to happen. Stoops might have been a college football coach’s college football coach – he wasn’t really the lifer type.
Put best by the AP’s Ralph Russo …
As is, he’ll forever be known as a legendary figure who dominated the Big 12.
4. What Does This Mean For Oklahoma This Year?
This is still the best team in the Big 12, but is Riley really ready to take the Sooners to a championship?
The defense is at least as good – if not better – than it was last season, with a terrific secondary and good enough front seven to get by. All the D has to do is be okay – the O will take care of the rest.
Yeah, RBs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon are gone, and Heisman-finalist WR Dede Westbrook is done, but the attack isn’t going to take any sort of a step back. Baker Mayfield and the quarterbacks are amazing, the offensive line is among the best in college football, and the receivers and backs have a world of upside.
This is still the Big 12 title favorite, and that doesn’t change with Riley at the helm. However …
5. What Does This Mean For The College Football Playoff Chase?
Going to Ohio State was going to be a problem no matter what, but could the difference between Stoops and Riley mean OU has no real shot at Columbus on September 9th?
The rest of the schedule is just okay, but the Sooners have to go to Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas State, and they have to, as always, deal with Texas in Dallas.
Riley might be great, but losing Stoops, of course, weakens Oklahoma, which weakens the Big 12. The coaching move might be just enough to be the difference between an 11-2 Big 12 champion Oklahoma season, and a 12-1 regular season campaign. That might be enough to, once again, open up the Big 12’s slot in the CFP.