Some off-the-cuff reactions to the news that Bob Stoops has hired East Carolina's Lincoln Riley as his new offensive coordinator:
*The upshot: This is a sink-or-swim move for Stoops. Riley won't be asking OU's players to do anything that's completely foreign to them. The Sooners shouldn't have to completely overhaul their personnel to fit the new scheme.
Could the Sooners incur some short-term transition costs? Of course. They should be minimal, though. We're talking about a phase-in period that lasts a couple games, not a couple seasons.
Sooner fans should see signs pretty quickly as to whether or not the change is working. If not, it would probably be fair to conclude that Stoops' time in Norman has run its course.
*This tweet sums up which way the wind was blowing on Monday when news started to spread that Riley was the pick:
As I noted last week, this kind of response was pretty predictable as soon as the media latched on to the Scott Frost fairy tale.
*I understand the trepidation about hiring an Air Raid specialist. A historically pass-first scheme doesn't exactly play to OU's stable of running backs. More importantly, Air Raid fatigue seems to have set in around Sooner Nation.
Yet, I'd caution against assuming that Riley won't play to the roster's strengths. That's what good offensive coordinators do.
(Presumably this came up during the interview process, ya know?)
*On the other hand, I don't understand why the similarities in the pedigrees of Josh Heupel and Riley supposedly matter. It's possible for two coaches to run the same scheme and one just be much better at doing it.
*Riley's work with his quarterbacks at ECU probably put him over the top during the vetting process. Juco transfer Dominique Davis arrived in Greenville a month before the 2010 season started and began breaking school records almost immediately. Riley also helped turn Shane Carden from a two-star afterthought in high school into a potential mid-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
(Conversely, I think the lack of development among OU's signal callers in recent years under Heupel played a bigger part in his ouster than many realize.)
*This crystallizes my thoughts on the hire:
Riley doesn't have the name recognition of Frost or some of the higher-profile offensive masterminds who populate coaching booths around the country. He does have a strong track record from his five years overseeing ECU's offense.
Stoops picked an accomplished candidate for a make-or-break hire. I don't know how much more you can ask of him.
And if he didn't get it right, chances are that someone else will be hiring the next offensive coordinator.