While Riley may want to take a phone call or two from an NFL team to leverage a raise for himself and or his assistants, unless coaching the pros is his dream he should remain at OU. He already has one of football’s true dream jobs.
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College football coaches love to preach the idea of parity in the sport, but their level features maybe a dozen programs that can win a national title. OU is one of those jobs.
You don’t voluntarily leave programs that can win a national title.
Riley makes plenty of money. He is the biggest show in the entire state. He works for a good school where he can do whatever he wants.
Those jobs are not exactly plentiful, and there are no guarantees if the NFL thing doesn’t work that he could find another Oklahoma again.
The college game is loaded with headaches, from wealthy boosters to over-reaching parents, to entitled and spoiled kids. But it’s a job where the coach still can control his roster.
The problem is Riley may not know just how good he has it at OU.
He’s only 35, and coaching at this level at a place like Oklahoma is what he knows. He spent time at Texas Tech and East Carolina as an assistant, so his climb is not exactly loaded with stops at Nowhere State.
For his first head coaching job he landed at one of the top positions in the nation where he can attract talent, and win all the time. Most people who coach football never land this sort of job, especially immediately.
But former OU coach Bob Stoops liked him, and picked him to be his successor. It’s not Riley’s fault he ascended quickly to a spot like Oklahoma.
From realignment to an eventual expansion of playoff teams, college football will always evolve. But Oklahoma’s status as one of the most attractive jobs in the nation will not. Regardless of the system, Norman will remain a destination.
While pro offenses continually adopt and look more like those played in college, the NFL will never be the NCAA.
With few exceptions, namely Jimmy Johnson, college coaches struggle with the transition not so much in scheme or the game, but rather the managing of the people. The college game is about the coach and the pro game is about the players.
Chip Kelly went to the NFL and it was a bomb. Mike Riley tried and it didn’t work. Steve Spurrier stole Dan Snyder’s money in Washington before he returned to the college game.
Nick Saban is the greatest college coach of the modern era, who was just another guy with a whistle in the NFL.
And the idea of Riley duplicating Barry Switzer’s “How I won a Super Bowl without working” success with the Cowboys is something out of a Philip K. Dick novel.
Lincoln Riley may be a “great offensive mind,” but he is so because he has players everywhere to run whatever play he wants. Give him the Kansas players and let’s see how great that offensive mind works.
As long as he’s at Oklahoma, there will never be a shortage of talent to make him look like a great offensive mind.
Stay where the players are, and want to go.
The NFL may look good on the TV, but right now nothing for you is better than Norman.