Lincoln Riley: Loss to ‘Bama ‘makes me even hungrier’ to stay at Oklahoma

By Jesse Reed

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley has been one of the hot names thrown around whenever anyone discusses NFL head coaching vacancies.

However, he’s already made it clear that he has no desire to leave Oklahoma for the NFL. Saturday night’s loss to Alabama in the Orange Bowl has only made his will to stay stronger.

On Sunday morning, Riley sent a strong message to his team and all the talented recruits that might be wondering about his commitment to OU.

“It’s been a question and I get it,” Riley said, per SoonerScoop.com. “If I were them and their families, I would ask it too. But I don’t think it’s changed. If anything, last night just makes me hungrier. We’ve gotten a lot done here. You don’t sit there and say we didn’t get done. We’ve got a lot done but we know there’s a little more left to get done. I feel like we’re about to do it.

“It just makes me even hungrier to keep going what we’ve got going here. I think just honestly and, like I’ve said, I don’t see that [coaching in the NFL] as a step up, not in this profession. It’s not a burning desire of mine by any stretch right now. Not even close. It doesn’t even compare to my burning desire to win a national championship here.”

The one thing Riley must do if he’s going to see his dream of bringing a championship to Norman is find a way to bring elite talent to the defensive side of the ball. He needs an elite defensive coordinator, and he needs NFL-caliber talent on the field.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how the young coach — Riley is still just 35 — builds his program in the coming years. He has a chance to establish one of the greatest legacies in Big 12 history, and of course bringing a title home would be a legendary accomplishment in this day and age.