Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley held the team's first press conference of the year on Wednesday. The conference mainly served as an introduction to the two newest hires on the OU coaching staff: running backs coach DeMarco Murray and outside linebackers/defensive ends coach Jamar Cain. However, Riley also addressed other topics surrounding the Sooners this offseason.
Here's what Riley said:
On hiring Jamar Cain and DeMarco Murray
Riley has added two new additions to his coaching staff so far this offseason. The first of the two is a familiar face to Sooner faithful, as newly-hired running backs coach Murray served as OU's feature running back from 2007-10. The second is Cain, who spent the last two seasons coaching the defensive line at Arizona State.
"With both DeMarco and Jamar, I don’t think we could’ve done any better. Both are just the right guys, the right kind of people, right kinds of recruiters and coaches — all at the right time. Just exactly what our program needed."
On hiring former Sooners coaches
The hiring of Murray on Jan. 26 made him the third OU coach on Riley's coaching staff to have once played for the team, joining defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux and co-offensive coordinator and inside receivers coach Cale Gundy.
"To me it's never the reason why you hire somebody, but it's certainly a nice advantage. Guys that have lived here. Know what this place is about, they're guys that chose to be here. They can kind of share their journey, certainly with our current players with our recruits. They have history with our fans. I think it's a really, really nice bonus but the key is finding the right individual, and if they happen to match up, then all the better."
On DeMarco adding NFL experience to the RB room
The former Sooner rushed for 7,174 yards and 49 touchdowns during his time in the NFL from 2011-17. He played for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans in his career.
"It's a great thing. You know him playing in the NFL, having the kind of career he did, having the name recognition, all that's great but that in itself, to me, is never the reason to hire somebody. You got to see somebody that’s the kind of person, that kind of worker, the kind of coach, the kind of recruiter that you want, and then if they have (the previous) to me, it's just an added bonus."
On having the 2020 Spring Game at night
Due to weather conditions, the 2019 OU Spring Game was rescheduled to a kickoff in the evening opposed to its usual daytime kickoff. Riley addressed the likelihood of Oklahoma revisiting this move for the 2020 OU Spring Game on April 18.
"It’s a possibility. We’re going to have a couple of cool things happening around it and there’s certainly a lot of organization. Hopefully we don’t have to change it three days out, but we’ll adjust if needed. That’s certainly a factor, there’s no question the night atmosphere last year brought a unique kind of buzz into the stadium for a spring game. We talked a lot about how our fans are so great to handle the change, the administration and everybody. It’s a factor, but there’s a couple other things that are very important that day too we gotta work around."
On the suspended players from the 2019 Peach Bowl
Junior defensive end Ronnie Perkins, senior running back Rhamondre Stevenson and sophomore wide receiver Trejan Bridges did not participate in the Sooners' 63-28 College Football Playoff loss to LSU on Dec. 28 due to suspensions. Riley could not provide an update on their suspension.
"As far as (those) guys, we'll get into that at a later date. There’s processes on going so I don't have anything further right now."