FRISCO, Texas — Halfway through Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley’s appearance at Big 12 media day, one reporter noted that Riley has already started to sound like Bob Stoops.
Considering Stoops won 10 Big 12 titles in 18 years, that sure can’t be a bad thing for the youngest coach in all of FBS college football. It should make the transition that much smoother in Norman.
“It felt like that there’s so much good going on with Oklahoma football that coach said he didn’t want to derail that,” Riley said of Stoops. “He helped me to feel as prepared as you possibly could for this position of being the Oklahoma head coach.”
Stoops is still technically involved in the program as a special assistant to the athletic director, so Riley will have plenty of access. Riley made clear that he still expects the lines of communication to remain open.
“I look forward to using him as a resource, someone I can bounce things off of here in the future,” Riley said. “He’s been tremendous.”
Stoops is not the only mentor Riley will have access to. Riley hired former East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill as assistant head coach. When McNeill was head coach, Riley was offensive coordinator.
“We have a ton of history and a lot of trust built up,” Riley said of McNeill.
McNeill will function as a defensive line coach, alongside existing D-line coach Calvin Thibodeaux. Riley believes that pairing gives the Sooners arguably the best defensive line coaching combination in the nation.