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Oklahoma football: Lincoln Riley looking to potentially add help

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Lincoln Riley

Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley watches Oklahoma players warm up before the Oct. 22 game at Texas Tech.

With Bob Stoops’ departure, new Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has a coaching position to fill, and there are multiple scenarios he could choose from.

Riley is going to need all the help he can get in his first year as the Sooners’ head coach. In his first two years at OU, he was in charge of quarterbacks and offensive play calling. He plans to continue to do that.

“I will continue to call plays,” Riley said. “We’ll figure out the staff structure as we move on. I thing I’ve been blessed over the last years, is even with the success we’ve had offensively, is that we’ve been able to keep that offensive staff intact, which has not been easy to do.”

Now, as the head coach, Riley will have more responsibilities. Even though he will continue to call plays, Riley will more than likely name an offensive coordinator from his current staff. The top two candidates would probably be wide receivers' coach Cale Gundy and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

“The fact that I’ve got some guys there to lean on, and give more to—I’ve got a lot of great trust in them, and I know they’ll be there to support me and do a great job just like they have the last two years.”

If Riley were to move either Gundy or Bedenbaugh to offensive coordinator, he may also add a quarterbacks coach. A name to keep an eye on would be Graham Harrell, who Riley coached at Texas Tech, and is currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks' coach at North Texas.

On the other side of the ball, Riley will most likely not move defensive coaches around. If he were to make a move, he may add another secondary coach to help out defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks.

Since Riley is an offense-minded coach, he may look to get as much help as possible on the defensive side of the ball.

“He’s still going to be coaching the offense, calling plays, so it’s a bigger role for him on the defensive side of things and more responsibility,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “But he’s still going handle everything the best he can which is, to me, it’s pretty much perfect, so I’m excited for it and I think that it really is a seamless decision.”

Defensive of coordinator Mike Stoops is confident that no matter what Riley does, the team will continue to be successful.

“It’s a new way of doing things and we’ll all adjust to Lincoln and his style,” Stoops said. “He’s smart beyond his years and he brings confidence to our football team and our program.”

The players believe Riley is the right man for the job, and trust he will make the right decisions.

“I told the guys after, Coach Riley is the perfect man for the job,” Mayfield said. “He’s a great guy, great family man, and he knows what he’s doing when it comes to football. He’s going to be a great head coach, always will be, and I’m excited I do get one year with him as a head coach and for his first year.”

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George Stoia joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore and has covered the soccer team, both men's and women's basketball, as well as the football team for the past three years. He graduates in May 2020.

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