As reported previously, several Oklahoma players and coaches remain in consideration as semifinalists for postseason honors. Sooner head coach Lincoln Riley is among them.
The Oklahoma head coach, now in his second season leading the Sooner football program, recently was named one of 18 semifinalists for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award. The list also includes Nick Saban of Alabama, Dabo Swinney of Clemson, Brian Kelly of Notre Dame and last year’s recipient, Kirby Smart of Georgia.
Riley is 23-3 in two seasons as head coach of the Sooners and is credited with the winningest record of any Oklahoma head coach in the first two seasons. Riley has led OU to an 11-1 record in 2018, the No. 5 ranking and the top-seed in this weekend’s Big 12 Championship.
Before being named head coach in 2017, replacing Bob Stoops, Riley served as OU’s offensive coordinator. Riley still calls the offensive plays for Oklahoma’s top-ranked offensive unit, which has averaged 50.3 points a and 583.8 yards of offense per game.
According to stats reported by Ryan Aber, the OU beat writer for the Oklahoma City Oklahoman, Oklahoma leads all FBS teams with 6.9 yards per rushing attempt this season and currently stands second with 11.9 yards per pass attempt. No FBS team has ever finished first or second in both categories in the same season.
In addition, the Sooner offense leads the nation, averaging 8.8 yards per offensive play in 2018, That would set a new NCAA record if it holds up for OU’s remaining two games.
Riley is the only Big 12 coach among the 18 semifinalists for this year’s George Munger Award. There several other names familiar to Sooner fans, however. Josh Heupel, the first-year head coach at the University of Central Florida is also a semifinalist, as is Mark Stoops of Kentucky.
The award, named after former University of Pennsylvania head coach George Munger, will be presented at the Maxwell Football Club’s National Awards Gala on March 8, 2019, in Atlantic City, N.J. Bob Stoops, the 2000 recipient, is among the previous award winners.