Oklahoma teaching search: Mario Cristobal, Josh Heupel, Brent Venables high candidates to interchange Lincoln Riley

Oklahoma goes to be fantastic. Do not take my phrase for it. Inform it to a freaking out Sooner Nation. Lincoln Riley bolted on Sunday, leaving one of many jewel teaching jobs within the nation for one more in USC.

That is why OU athletic director Joe Castiglione is probably going going to have a proficient group of finalists compiled by Sunday night time. Joe C is nice to work for and OU is nice to work at. The primary order of enterprise is to rent somebody who can leap in and re-recruit quarterback Caleb Williams whereas finishing the 2022 recruiting class.

That may counsel somebody younger and completed, ideally a sitting head coach.

Listed here are the very best suits for the Sooners, which went from Faculty Soccer Playoff contenders to top-two job within the teaching carousel in a span of lower than 24 hours.

Josh Heupel, Tennessee coach: Knoxville would soften down if Heupel pulled a Lane Kiffin and left after one season, however Heupel continues to be beloved in Norman, having quarterbacked the final Oklahoma nationwide championship crew in 2000. He lower his teaching enamel because the Sooners’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach serving to develop Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. Nevertheless, Heupel was finally fired by Bob Stoops in 2014 and changed by Riley. There may be believed to be some dangerous blood stemming from that transfer, and given Stoops is serving as interim coach, that may very well be a hiccup. That firing set Heupel on his course to UCF the place he succeeded earlier than finally making it to the SEC and immediately changing into a sizzling commodity once more. The Volunteers went 4-4 in SEC play this yr, however all of their losses have been to groups ranked on the time of kickoff.

Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator: You have learn Venables’ identify on this house earlier than, however this may be the one job that might spurn veteran away from Clemson regardless of him beforehand turning down curiosity from a number of faculties. Venables was Stoops’ defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2011 and likewise has a championship ring from the 2000 season. He’s solely 50. With Clemson “slipping” to 9-3 this season, it may be time for Venables to bounce.

Mario Cristobal, Oregon coach: It’s important to name the Pac-12’s greatest coach whose trajectory is pointing approach up. Cristobal’s identify already has surfaced at Florida and LSU. He had the Geese within the playoff hunt for a lot of the season and nonetheless owns one of the crucial important wins of 2021 (at Ohio State). Cristobal recruits like a madman and is accountable for taking some big-time expertise out of Southern California. A 3rd consecutive Pac-12 title is feasible this week.

Dave Aranda, Baylor coach: Aranda is meant to signal an extension at some point after Saturday’s Massive 12 Championship Recreation. However does Riley’s departure change the maths for a Massive 12 Coach of the Yr candidate? 

Mark Stoops, Kentucky coach: Bob’s brother is smart. What Mark has completed within the brutal SEC is admirable (58-53 in 9 seasons). Mark has a defensive sensibility like his brother. It will be fascinating to see what sort of offensive gamers he may deliver with OU transitioning to the SEC.

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati coach: One other name you have to make for those who’re Castiglione. Fickell has the Bearcats one win away from a CFP berth. He’s extra of a developmental coach, which could hinder him on the recruiting path, however how do you not contact the favourite to grow to be the nationwide coach of the yr? There’s speak that Fickell is planning to remain at Cincinnati, however as a midwest man, Oklahoma could also be extra enticing as an choice than USC ever would have been.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State coach: Who is aware of how a lot Campbell was concerned at USC? It’s important to assume Campbell may be motivated to go away after the very best crew he is had at Iowa State has gone 7-5 so far. One query: Might Campbell hold these big-time West Coast quarterbacks at house?

Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss coach: Look, every little thing is on the desk. Kiffin left Tennessee after one yr. Why not depart Ole Miss after two? Kiffin coached and recruited in Southern California, so he may doubtlessly retain a few of the recruits that Riley would possibly swipe. Bonus: Lane can be staying within the SEC. Ultimately.

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals coach: Please inform me why a longtime NFL coach with (arguably) the league’s greatest participant (Kyler Murray, from Oklahoma by the way in which) would go away now? Kingsbury is aware of the NFL higher than he is aware of what recruiting has grow to be with identify, picture and likeness and the switch portal. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that OU has “focused” Kingsbury as a candidate. I suppose it’s a must to make that decision for those who’re the Sooners, however the Cardinals coach doubtless is not answering it, and the report was most likely Kingsbury’s approach of getting a elevate.

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