“There’s a good, young nucleus, a good young core there that we’re going to supplement even more here coming up,” Riley said. “That’s going to be fun to watch those guys in the next few years.”
Riley said he didn’t have a blank slate on the defensive staff after a new defensive coordinator is hired, although he’ll also give whoever he settles on as the new coach room to implement his system with some autonomy.
“We’ve got good people in that room,” Riley said. “We’ve got good coaches and good recruiters, people that are loyal to this place, people that have been great to me personally, people I trust,” Riley said. “So I don’t see this as all of a sudden we’re just gonna clean house and start from scratch here.”
Riley hearkened back to the fit that happened between he and Dennis Simmons when he brought Simmons aboard shortly after Riley was hired as offensive coordinator by Bob Stoops in early 2015.
“There were some right pieces and they fit, the people worked well together and you’ve seen four years of results there,” Riley said. “We’ve gotta get that same way on that side.”
In the locker room after the game, freshman defensive end Ronnie Perkins said he was already looking toward the future and was excited to see who Riley brought aboard.
“Getting to know him, getting to know his plans for the defense, rallying around him, getting the guys to rally around him and seeing his vision and getting to work,” Perkins said.