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#pounditSaturday, December 4, 2021

Articles tagged: Oklahoma Football

Bob Stoops to be paid huge sum by Oklahoma despite trying to refuse

Bob Stoops

Bob Stoops is returning as the head coach at Oklahoma for one game in the wake of Lincoln Riley’s departure, and the Sooners legend will be paid handsomely for his services.

Oklahoma president Joe Harroz said on Thursday that Stoops will be paid $325,000 to coach the team from now until its bowl game, which will likely be the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. That salary is based on Riley’s former contract with the school. Harroz says Stoops tried to refuse the money, but Oklahoma will pay him anyway.

That works out to more than $10,000 per day.

Stoops was making more than $5 million per year by the time he left Oklahoma in 2016. He has remained close to the program and helped out last year when Riley was short-staffed due to COVID-19 issues.

There has been a lot of talk about Stoops returning to Oklahoma as the team’s full-time head coach. He’s just 61, which is young by coaching standards. However, Stoops recently made it fairly clear that he is not interested.

Kyler Murray responds to rumors linking Kliff Kingsbury to Oklahoma

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray does not appear to be losing sleep over the possibility of losing head coach Kliff Kingsbury to his alma mater.

Kingsbury has been linked to the vacant Oklahoma head coach job, though there is no indication he has been directly approached. That topic on Wednesday was put to Murray, himself a former Sooner, and the Arizona Cardinals quarterback did not sound too worried about any potential Kingsbury exit.

Sure, Murray will want to see the Sooners land a quality head coach. He just doesn’t particularly want it to be his current one.

Kingsbury has been fairly evasive when it comes to discussing any possible interest in the Oklahoma job. That is more likely because he’s using the rumors as leverage for a raise from the Cardinals, a team he has led to a 9-2 record so far. Murray isn’t sweating things. For the moment, Cardinals fans probably shouldn’t be either.

Oklahoma players call out Lincoln Riley over USC quote

Lincoln Riley does Fight On sign

A few Oklahoma Sooners players called out Lincoln Riley via Instagram over a quote the coach offered about USC.

Riley was Oklahoma’s head coach from 2017-2021 and coached the Sooners to a heartbreaking loss in their Bedlam game against rival Oklahoma State on Saturday. Hours later, he was negotiating with USC to become their next head coach. You can see how that would be troubling to many of the Sooners players.

On Monday, Riley was introduced by USC as their next head coach. The Trojans’ football account on Instagram promoted the hiring with numerous graphics and postings. One post included a quote from Riley in which he declared, “this is going to be the mecca of college football.”

That quote, which USC Football’s Instagram page promoted, bothered some Sooners players.

Defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas called out Riley for being a snake, saying in a comment on USC’s post that the coach “told us that last week.”

Linebacker Nik Bonitto also replied to the post with a comment. He said “LOL,” which is an acronym for “laughing out loud,” likely because he thought the comment was B.S.

The anger from the Oklahoma players is completely understandable. They likely feel abandoned by their coach, and a report details how blindsided they were. As for Riley, maybe he feels his comment about the “mecca of college football” is less about the school where he’s coaching, and more about where he is coaching.

Photo: Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley poses with Fight on sign during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lincoln Riley shares timeline of his decision to leave Oklahoma for USC

Lincoln Riley at a press conference

Lincoln Riley stunned the college football world this week when he left Oklahoma for USC, and the coach insists the opportunity came together as quickly as it appears.

Riley shed some light on his decision to take the USC job during a Tuesday appearance on “The Herd w/ Colin Cowherd.” He said the move is something that was “very sudden” and that he was genuinely committed to Oklahoma before the Trojans approached him.

“It was very sudden. I was totally committed to our team as we made a championship and playoff run,” Riley said. “I made that very clear to anybody that was interested.

“We got to Norman late Saturday night/early Sunday morning and had a conversation that USC had some serious interest. I slept for a couple of hours and woke up and had a conversation with the USC people, and you could feel their energy. You could feel that the leadership from the very top is willing to do the things that maybe haven’t been done here as of recent to get USC to where it needs to be.”

A lot of people will find Riley’s timeline hard to believe. The USC job has been vacant since Clay Helton was fired in September. It is highly unlikely that the discussions between Riley and USC only began on Saturday night. Even Oklahoma’s president seemed frustrated with Riley over the way he handled his exit.

Of course, that is how things work in college football. Coaches are sometimes in positions where they can’t risk having information leak. That said, Riley may have also misled people by emphatically shooting down another rumor less than 24 hours before his Oklahoma departure.

There are always going to be hard feelings when a coach leaves one top program for another. Riley probably could have done some things differently, but avoiding that altogether is impossible.

Photo: Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma president called out for quote about Lincoln Riley exit

Lincoln Riley at a press conference

University of Oklahoma president Joe Harroz is hearing it for a comment he made Monday in response to coach Lincoln Riley’s abrupt departure.

Riley’s decision to leave for USC on Sunday took Oklahoma by surprise. Harroz voiced that frustration in a Monday press conference, admitting that “we would’ve liked more notice” from Riley on his decision.

Harroz got very little sympathy for this stance. Numerous people on social media, including several reporters and commentators, pointed out the perceived hypocrisy in Harroz’s statement stemming from the Sooners’ move to the SEC. The announcement that Oklahoma and Texas had been secretly negotiating with the SEC blindsided the rest of the Big 12 and left the future of the conference uncertain when the story broke in July.

No, the situations are not exactly comparable. That said, given the grief both Oklahoma and Texas got over their SEC move, nobody will be feeling sorry for the Sooners here. If anything, given how arrogant and shady they came across during the SEC affair, a lot of people will be enjoying this.

Photo: Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Former Oklahoma players have clear pick for new head coach

Brent Venables in a Clemson hat

The abrupt departure of Lincoln Riley has left Oklahoma searching for a new head coach. For several Oklahoma alumni, the choice is an obvious one.

In the hours after Riley left for USC, there was a groundswell of support from ex-players for the Sooners to make a run at Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Venables has long been a highly-respected assistant coach, and served as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2011.

Among those publicly calling for Venables were former Oklahoma defensive standouts Dusty Dvoracek, Aaron Colvin, and Tony Jefferson II, all of whom played under the current Clemson assistant.

As of Monday, there were no indications that Venables and Oklahoma were in contact, despite rampant rumors on social media. However, given his history with the school and his stature in college football, he would make sense as a candidate.

The Sooners definitely appear likely to conduct a larger search, and one NFL coach has already been pressed into speaking about the position. It doesn’t sound like a new coach, be it Venables or someone else, will be announced quickly.

Photo: Oct 2, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables prior to the game against the Boston College Eagles at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Kliff Kingsbury has interesting response to Oklahoma rumors

Kliff Kingsbury

Kliff Kingsbury was quickly linked to the Oklahoma head coaching job after Lincoln Riley left for USC on Sunday, and his response to the report was somewhat surprising.

Shortly after the Riley news broke, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Oklahoma is targeting Kingsbury as a potential replacement. The Arizona Cardinals coach was asked about that on Monday, and he stopped well short of denying that he has interest.

Does that mean Kingsbury would actually entertain the idea of leaving his NFL head coaching job to take over at Oklahoma? Probably not.

What’s more likely is that Kingsbury is using the Oklahoma talk as leverage against the Cardinals. His contract with the team is set to expire after 2022, and there’s no way he wants to go into next season as a lame duck. If the Cardinals believe he is interested in the Oklahoma job, they might be more likely to offer him more money and/or work out an extension sooner.

Schefter was ruthlessly mocked on Twitter for his Kingsbury-Oklahoma report. The main reason for that is people believe the NFL insider is helping out Kingsbury and his agent. Unless you think Kingsbury would actually leave the Cardinals for Oklahoma, his responses on Monday are further evidence that he is trying to put pressure on his current employer.

Spencer Rattler enters transfer portal after Lincoln Riley’s exit

Spencer Rattler holds a ball

Oklahoma lost its head coach on Sunday when Lincoln Riley shockingly left for USC, and the Sooners are now out at least one quarterback as well.

Former five-star recruit Spencer Rattler announced on Monday that he will enter the transfer portal. He thanked Oklahoma and said his time in Norman is something he will “cherish forever.”

Things did not go as planned for Rattler at Oklahoma even with Riley. Many expected him to follow in the footsteps of the other great quarterbacks that played under Riley, but Rattler took a big step back this season. He was benched earlier in the year, though he did briefly got his job back two weeks ago.

Rattler had been expected to leave Oklahoma even if Riley stayed. The bigger problem for the Sooners is that freshman Caleb Williams, who took over for Rattler midway through the season, may also be thinking about transferring.

Photo: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (7) warms up before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021

Report details how much Lincoln Riley blindsided Oklahoma in exit

Lincoln Riley at a press conference

Lincoln Riley’s decision to leave Oklahoma for USC stunned the college football world on Sunday. It turns out that those inside the Oklahoma program weren’t any more aware of what was coming than the public was.

A new report from Jason Kersey of The Athletic details how those around the Oklahoma program learned of Riley’s decision. Assistant coaches and players essentially found out at the same time as public did.

Staffers and players were described as “angry” and “shocked” not just by Riley’s departure, but the manner he left.

Riley apparently told his coaching staff that he was leaving for USC just before meeting with his players. All of this reportedly happened around the same time the news was publicly reported. The abruptness of Riley’s departure even left players unsure of whether they were practicing this week.

One staffer remarked that he “(didn’t) have a job right now.” Some around the program attributed Riley’s move to seeking an easier path to the College Football Playoff, which may become tougher for Oklahoma when they join the SEC.

Riley’s departure even caught local TV off-guard. Riley was scheduled to tape his weekly replay show on Sunday, but word did not come through until just before taping that the coach would be “delayed.” Riley ultimately didn’t show up at all for the taping.

There have been surprising coaching moves before, but few have been this shocking. Even the biggest hires usually have some sort of rumor associated with them. There was absolutely nothing linking Riley to USC. There was some chatter about him going to another school, but he firmly shot that down less than 24 hours before leaving.

The Sooners will now have to embark on a coaching search they clearly didn’t expect to have to undertake. Only one name has surfaced so far, and it seems pretty far-fetched.

Photo: Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Could Sonny Dykes ditch TCU for Oklahoma?

Sonny Dykes during pregame

Oklahoma is scrambling for a head coach after losing Lincoln Riley to USC. Numerous names have been mentioned as potential candidates for the Sooners job, including Mark Stoops and Josh Heupel. But one reporter added another name to the mix: Sonny Dykes.

Dykes just completed his fifth season at SMU and went 8-4 (he’s 30-18 overall at SMU). He was an extremely hot candidate following a 7-0 start to the season, which led Texas Tech and TCU to compete for him. TCU won out, and Dykes is set to be introduced as the Horned Frogs’ head coach on Tuesday.

But the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel says there is mutual interest between Dykes and Oklahoma. Engel says that is a situation to watch out for.

It would be hard to imagine Dykes screwing over both SMU and TCU in the same month, but Engel says that’s a possibility.

I doubt it.

It would be incredibly poor form for Dykes to ditch TCU. He also should know better than to go to a school that’s headed to the SEC. Dykes’ tenure in the Pac-12 at Cal went poorly (19-30 over four seasons). It would be much worse for him in the SEC, and at Oklahoma, where expectations to win are much higher.

Stay at TCU, Sonny.

Photo: Dec 20, 2017; Frisco, TX, United States; Southern Methodist Mustangs head coach Sonny Dykes on the field before the game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the 2017 Frisco Bowl at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports