If there were any doubts as to whether or not Lincoln Riley understands the task he is charged with in following Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, he cleared that up on Wednesday. Riley published a post on The Players’ Tribune to talk about what this opportunity means to him, and how he views his role at Oklahoma.
“At 33, I don’t really fit the profile of what most people might expect from the head coach of a major college football team. That’s even more the case when you consider the legendary coaches who have led Oklahoma in the past, including the man I’m following, Bob Stoops. All he did was win more games than any coach in this program’s storied history, while also stockpiling 10 Big 12 Conference championships.
“I think the biggest thing people should know out of the gate is that I don’t have an ego going into this. I know some guys will get a coaching gig and immediately try to differentiate themselves from the previous coach. But honestly, I would be a complete idiot if I did that. It would also be counter to how I’ve found success as a coach so far during my career.”
Nobody wants to be the guy to follow the guy and expectations are high in Norman, but Riley has all the tools around him to find success and he is saying all the right things. He goes on to talk about how Mike Leach pushed him into coaching while at Texas Tech, and how Leach’s unconventional tactics showed him that if it’s for the betterment of the team, it’s okay to go against the status quo.
He also talks about what it was like to learn from coach Stoops, and how much it means to him to have Stoops and Switzer around the program.
“I’ve always been told that a coach’s job is to take someone to a place they can’t reach by themselves.
“Working under Coach Stoops was basically a master class in how to do that. He always understood that his job was to set the tone for everyone, from the offensive coordinator to the walk-on long snapper. And that was something that stretches well beyond football.”
It’s an excellent read, and Riley gives a couple of stories about how events under different coaches shaped who he is as a coach.
He also talks about recruiting and how finding players is more than just finding talent. It’s about finding guys with good character. Based on how the Sooner’s have done on the recruiting trail the last couple of weeks, Riley’s approach to recruiting seems to be paying off.
It is simply to early to know what the legacy of Lincoln Riley is going to be at Oklahoma, but it is easy to see why there is so much buzz in Norman these days.
“This institution is bigger than any one person.” Riley said. “It has traditions that stretch back far longer than I’ve been alive. I know there’s a certain standard that I need to live up to, and I plan to do everything I can to surround this program with the right people and bring in the right players in order to do just that.”