Lincoln Riley denies taking shot at Georgia with comment about defense
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley feels that the SEC lacks the offensive firepower that the Big 12 has, and he happened to use Georgia to illustrate a point he made about the two conferences on Tuesday. However, Riley insists he was not trying to disrespect the Bulldogs.
During an appearance on Sirius XM’s ESPNU channel, Riley spoke about how difficult it is to have a stingy defense in the Big 12. As an example, he said he feels Georgia would not have the highly-ranked defense it had in 2017 if the Bulldogs had to play in the Big 12.
"If you throw Georgia in the Big 12 every year there is no way they are a Top 5 defense in the country"
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) July 3, 2018
Some took that as a swipe at Georgia, but Riley says that was not his intention.
That’s not a shot at Georgia….they were absolutely one of the best defenses last year…it’s a compliment to our league-
— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) July 3, 2018
Georgia’s defense ranked No. 6 in the country last season in yards allowed. Alabama was No. 1, and it’s probably not a coincidence that Riley chose to use Georgia in his example instead of Nick Saban’s team. For one, Alabama won the national championship. Also, Oklahoma put up 48 points in its loss to Georgia in the Rose Bowl.
No one is going to deny that the styles of football in the Big 12 and SEC are a lot different. You can make the argument that Big 12 teams score so many points because they have so much offensive firepower, but others will say it’s because they don’t play defense the way SEC teams do. Riley’s point makes sense, but he probably regrets bringing Georgia into it.