On Monday, the Oklahoma Sooners officially announced the hire of Lincoln Riley as their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“My family and I are tremendously enthusiastic about the opportunity to join Coach Stoops and the University of Oklahoma,” said Riley following the announcement. “Oklahoma is one of those programs you dream of working for as a coach, especially for a head coach as respected and as successful as Bob Stoops.”
Riley spent five years with the Pirates as their offensive coordinator, and in 2014 alone, ECU was No. 5 in the nation in total offense at 533-yards per game, and the nation’s third ranked team in passing, averaging 371.9-yards per game.
“Lincoln brings a fresh perspective to our program that I believe will help us maximize our potential offensively,” said Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops in a statement. “He owns a consistent track record of implementing innovative offensive concepts during his career and has a history of developing productive offensive players. He has been mentored by a number of successful offensive coaches during his career, while developing his own unique offensive approach.”
While the Sooners struggled last season to maintain or even establish an identity, Riley certainly brings back a nostalgic nod to Oklahoma, as he was Texas Tech’s wide receivers’ coach during the infamous Michael Crabtree era in Lubbock, Texas. With Tech’s uptempo, Air Raid offense remaining under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, Riley should also be able to assist the Sooners’ defense in learning different ways to contain similar offenses, such as TCU.
It should also be noted that in 2010 following Mike Leach’s abrupt firing, current ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill was named the Red Raiders’ interim head coach against Michigan State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Subsequently, Riley was promoted up as Tech’s interim offensive coordinator in a game Tech dominated with 579-yards of offense in its 41-31 win over the Spartans.
In 2014, the Sooners finished 5-4 in the Big 12, 8-5 overall, and 0-4 against Top 25 teams. Following Oklahoma’s 45-31 victory over the No. 3 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the Jan. 2, 2014 Sugar Bowl, the 2014 season was lackluster at best, and perhaps was a significant factor in why Stoops let go of his co-offensive coordinators, Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell.
The Sooners also ranked No. 85 in the nation in passing last season, averaging 203.5-yards per game.
*Section Photo credit to Rob Goldberg, East Carolina Pirates; Featured Photo (above) credit to Rob Kinnan, USA Today Sports