Lincoln Riley

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Oklahoma loses starting DB Tre Norwood to season-ending injury

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One of Oklahoma’s full-time starters from the defense last season is already lost for the upcoming 2019 season. Tre Norwood, a junior defensive back, is out for the season due to an injury suffered in fall camp. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley announced the injury today.

The injury is reported to be to Norwood’s knee, which was reported a couple days ago. Riley just now confirmed the status. Various reports noted the injury was a knee injury.

The loss of a full-time starter from last year’s defense is certainly a blow to the depth chart, especially for a team that had some concerns about the defense a year ago and hoped to improve this fall. Norwood started all 14 games for the Sooners last season, including the Big 12 championship game and College Football Playoff semifinal against SEC champion Alabama. Norwood had just one interception last year, but it was a big one. Norwood’s lone interception came in the final minute of the Big 12 championship game to help seal a conference title against rival Texas, thus helping Oklahoma punch their second straight ticket to the College Football Playoff.

Oklahoma’s defensive secondary will still be able to rely on some returning starters this fall, but the loss of Norwood will open up a starting spot. Among those who may be ready to compete for the vacancy include Jeremiah Criddell, Chanse Sylvie, and Brendan Radley-Hiler.

Lincoln Riley not losing any sleep over Big 12 competition

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Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is entering his third season as head coach of the Sooners this fall. After coaching the program to two straight big 12 titles in his first two seasons and seeing his quarterback win the Heisman Trophy in back-to-back seasons, Riley has every right to be feeling confident in what his team will do in 2019. And if you needed an example of just how confident Riley is, his quote about the Big 12 competition will certainly prove to you just how much this guy is oozing in confidence.

Asked at a coaches luncheon about what teams in the Big 12 give him “sleepless nights,” Riley was open and honest about it. Nobody in the big 12 is causing Riley to scramble for some extra sleep.

“Every now and then you get asked these questions,” Riley responded. “In your mind, you go politically correct or tell the truth. So, the truth is none of ’em.”

Oklahoma is 18-2 against Big 12 opponents under Riley, including two victories in the Big 12 championship game. Only Iowa State (2017) and Texas (2018) have topped the Sooners, and they did so by a combined total of 10 points. Riley’s program is once again considered the team to beat in the Big 12 even though Texas appears to be closing in on being ready to make a run for a Big 12 title in the coming years.

Now, if the question was about what teams overall cause Riley to lose some sleep, perhaps the question might have been different. Oklahoma’s two playoff trips under Riley have not gone well with an overtime loss to Georgia in the Rose Bowl in the 2017 season and last year’s loss to Alabama. Will Riley be well-rested when the College Football Playoff begins this upcoming season? Or will any team in the Big 12 manage to give him the case of the night terrors?

Oklahoma could pull off rare feat in 2019 NFL Draft

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On Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee, the NFL Draft will kick off a three-day event that bridges the gap between college football and the NFL on an annual basis. The Arizona Cardinals will have the No. 1 pick in the draft and there is a possibility Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray could be the top pick of the draft. If that proves to be the case, then the Sooners will pull off one of the rarest feats in the NFL Draft by having the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft two years in a row.

Last year saw Baker Mayfield leave Oklahoma to be the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft of the Cleveland Browns. If Murray is selected as the first player overall by the Cardinals (or any other team that moves up to the top spot), it will mark the first time since 1968 and 1969 when the top pick in the draft was selected out of the same school in consecutive seasons. USC’s Ron Yary was the top pick of the 1968 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, and running back O.J. Simpson was the top pick of the draft by the Buffalo Bills the following season. That remains the first and only time the top picks in consecutive drafts have come from the same school.

If Murray does go first overall, some history will also be made that will separate this feat from the one previously accomplished by USC. This would also mark the first time two Heisman Trophy winners from the same school have been selected with the top pick in the draft in consecutive seasons. Granted, it hasn’t been too often the same school had back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners, to begin with, not to mention having two within the same four or five-year period, but it’s been a good couple of years for the Sooners with Mayfield and Murray.

It’s also worth a reminder both Mayfield and Murray were transfer players as well, adding another layer to the improbability of the rare milestone Oklahoma is potentially in line to pull off this week. Naturally, this would be quite a piece of recruiting propaganda for Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, who was named head coach of the Sooners just two years ago following the retirement of Bob Stoops.

What college football coaches are attending the 2019 NFL Draft?

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The NFL draft is rapidly approaching on the football offseason calendar. The time when college football fans and NFL fans can come together in one single football event is always a fun time of the year for a variety of reasons. For college football fans, the bragging rights about having more players drafted than your rivals is something that is given close attention, and don’t think the coaches aren’t eager to cash in on the NFL draft buzz either.

This year, as is typically the case, a handful of coaches from the college game will be heading to the draft to send off some of their most recent success stories. Among those attending the event this year in Nashville will be some familiar faces. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be the headliners at the draft among the college football coaching fraternity. Other head coaches attending the event will include David Cutcliffe of Duke, Matt Luke of Ole Miss, Ed Orgeron of LSU, Mark Stoops of Kentucky, Willie Taggart of Florida State, Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State, and Lincoln Riley of Nebraska.

Although not a head coach, Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson will also reportedly be in attendance.

These are coaches of schools that are either well-represented at the NFL Draft on a regular basis and/or have some key players who may be going in the first round. Unfortunately, the NFL Draft being held in Nashville will not include either head coach from Tennessee or Vanderbilt unless there is a change in the plans.

For those keeping score at home, and there is unquestionably at least one of you doing so, that is five coaches from the SEC, three from the ACC, and one each from the Big Ten the Big 12.

The 2019 NFL Draft will run from April 25-27. The Arizona Cardinals currently own the top pick, which could end up being used for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma, Kyler Murray.

Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?

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On Monday night, Virginia and Texas Tech will battle for the men’s basketball national championship. A victory will clinch the first national championship as a head coach for either Virginia head coach Tony Bennett or Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard. But if you want college basketball coverage, our friends over at College Basketball Talk have you taken care of. Here, we’ll take the football angle and try to determine what college football coach will be the next to win his first national championship.

First, a refresher of the recent history of championship head coaches. Unless you’ve been sleeping under Howard’s Rock, you know the last four national titles have been split evenly by Nick Saban of Alabama and Dabo Swinney of Clemson. Swinney is the most recent coach to win his first national championship, having done so three seasons ago with a victory over Saban’s Crimson Tide in the 2016 season. Before Swinney, the most recent coach to win his first national title was Jimbo Fisher, then at Florida State, in the 2013 season in the final BCS Championship Game before the College Football Playoff took over. Since the 2010 season, the only other coach to win his first national title was Gene Chizik at Auburn, doing so in the 2010 season with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton topping the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship Game.

There are certainly some obvious candidates to be the next coach to win his first national title. The conversation likely has to begin with Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma. In his first two seasons as head coach of the Sooners, Riley has taken two Big 12 championship teams into the College Football Playoff with a Heisman Trophy quarterback, although the Sooners have yet to win a playoff game. Each time, Oklahoma was eliminated by the national title runner-up. It doesn’t look as though Oklahoma is going to be slowing down any time soon, although the competition just in the conference may improve and make a playoff run a tad more difficult. Tom Herman at Texas could be the most likely coach out of the Big 12 not named Riley to win his first national title.

There are still some coaches to watch in the SEC as well. Kirby Smart has already taken Georgia to the national title game, where they lost in overtime against Alabama two seasons ago. He will certainly be in the mix to win his first national title. He’s even taken out Riley and Oklahoma! Dan Mullen at Florida could be a coach in the running as well, although there may still be some work to do in Gainesville before Florida can crack the four-team playoff field. Or will the football gods align the fates just right for Ed Orgeron to take LSU the distance?

The ACC is tough to find a coach you can feel has a great shot to be the next coach to win his first national title, especially with Clemson continuing to roll for the foreseeable future. The Pac-12 looks like a difficult spot too considering the quality of play in the conference recently. The thought of Mike Leach being the next to win his first national title is fun to dream about though.

But what about the Big Ten? Ryan Day is taking over as head coach of a playoff-worthy candidate at Ohio State this season. Jim Harbaugh should have another strong Big Ten contender to work with this upcoming season. James Franklin and Penn State have a couple hurdles they need to prove they can clear again before making their case, but all three coaches would certainly be on the radar.

Or, if you dare to do so, do you think there is a Group of Five coach out there ready to make the jump to a power conference program and guide them to a national title in the next few years while Saban and Swinney go another couple of championship rounds? Call your shot in the comment section or on Twitter.