Happy Monday, friends and fans! It’s the final day of 2018!
The season didn’t end the way the Oklahoma Sooners wanted it to, but what an incredible run it was for a team that wasn’t expected to repeat last season’s successes.
Now that the offseason is officially underway (ugh, I know), the task at hand is for Oklahoma to hire a long-term solution at defensive coordinator. So what’s Lincoln Riley’s timeline for making a hire, and what kinds of qualities is he looking for in this search?
OU Football: Lincoln Riley’s decision to name a defensive coordinator won’t be made in haste.#Sooners coach also does not plan to move at a slow pace in making biggest hire of young career.
Riley addressed topic on Sunday, hours after Orange Bowl loss.https://t.co/2xN8BII0CV
— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) December 30, 2018
This will be the most important hire of his young career as a head coach, because it will ultimately determine if Oklahoma will improve on defense or simply stay the same.
Now, on to this New Year’s Eve edition of Hot Links! Lincoln Riley’s burning desire is to win a national championship, Baker Mayfield breaks a record, Marvin Lewis is finally out as the Bengals head coach and more!
- Basketball season started about two months ago, but now that football season is over, it’s officially feeling like hoops season. Oklahoma finally cracked the top 25 last week, and after not playing all week, the Sooners still managed to move up two more spots in the rankings to check in at No. 23 in the AP Poll.
- If it wasn’t clear before, Lincoln Riley reiterated his thoughts on someone from the NFL potentially coming to hire him away from Oklahoma. This should ease a lot more minds around here.
Riley understands his name will come up for NFL jobs.
“I don’t see that 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.”#Sooners
— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) December 30, 2018
- Marquise Brown battled through injuries throughout the season and in the Orange Bowl, but the setbacks ultimately kept him from being the contributor he wanted to be for the team. I echo the sentiments of those who have come forward and congratulated Hollywood for what he’s accomplished. The man has nothing to apologize for, and Sooner Nation will stand by him through whatever he chooses to do next.
Sooner Nation, Just want to say thank you for an amazing year I’m sorry I was not able to produce to the ability I know I am capable off but I’m glad I got a group of guys with so much fight and the will to never give up . I love you guys we will be back
— Marquise Hollywood Brown (@Primetime_jet) December 30, 2018
- Not having Brown at full strength was a major blow to Oklahoma’s chances in the semifinal, but Lincoln Riley knows Hollywood’s desire was in the right place. His body simply couldn’t overcome his injury in time.
- Replacing Austin Seibert will be one of the bigger challenges for this team in 2019. Oklahoma’s kicker and punter for the last four seasons was a steady and reliable element for the Sooners’ run of four consecutive Big 12 Championships. Some how, some way, I expect to see this man in the league in the near future.
- CeeDee Lamb for Heisman in 2019. Also, you can’t tell me there’s a better wide receiver in the nation. The Orange Bowl performance put the entire college football world on notice.
I finished 1 touchdown short of my goal, but i couldn’t be more proud of this team! The fight, adversity, and the belief we had in each other was unreal! Also, thank you Sooner Nation for all the support! Now, we just gotta rebuild, regroup and become stronger as a whole!
— CeeDee 2x (@_CeeDeeThree) December 30, 2018
- Team captain and MIKE linebacker Kenneth Murray just wrapped up his true sophomore season, and while it didn’t play out the way he and his teammates would have preferred, his love and leadership for this group is unfazed. I look forward to seeing the continuation of Murray’s evolution under a new defensive coordinator’s instruction.
Proud of this team, regardless of the outcome the fight this team has is special it’s was always about us and only us, back against the wall all we had was us. Proud to be apart of this team it’s truly a blessing. “Adversity defines true character.”Couldn’t ask for a better team.
— Kenneth Murray (@Kmurrayy_9) December 30, 2018
- For those who still doubt Baker Mayfield (sup, Colin?), he just broke the all-time record for passing TDs in a season for a rookie, and he didn’t even begin the year as a starter. The rest of the NFL should officially be put on notice in 2019, because Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns are going to be a problem.
- Tom Herman showed some respect Oklahoma’s way when asked about Georgia and how they look compared to teams the Longhorns have faced this season.
Asked if Georgia is the best opponent that he’s seen on tape this year, Tom Herman notes that “our rival to the north is pretty darn good too.”
— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) December 31, 2018
- Crimson & Cream Machiners, if you have a moment, I’d really appreciate it if you took some time to read my quick fanpost titled “Five Reasons Why I Love College Football”. It’s always been a great experience writing for this blog for the past year and a half, and if you didn’t know before, I also enjoy creative writing. Anyways, thanks for reading my work, and as always, Boomer! By the way — we always look forward to hearing your thoughts, so don’t hesitate to create a fanpost of your own.
- The big high school All-American games are this week, and here’s a quick rundown of the first one — the Under Armour All-America Game. OU also has signees and targets playing in the Army All-American Bowl, and we’ll have something on that later.
- Manny Diaz was recently hired by Temple to become the Owls’ next head coach, but when the Miami job opened up, the opportunity was too great for Diaz to pass up. Now, the Hurricanes welcome back their former defensive coordinator as their new head coach.
- The Cincinnati Bengals (finally) fired 16-year head coach Marvin Lewis. With what’s going on in Cleveland and Baltimore, and Big Ben soon to retire, the AFC North is going to look drastically different sooner rather than later.
- Saquon Barkley just went full Space Jam over everybody from just inside the five yard line. Now that his rookie season is officially in the books, his future in the league looks awfully bright.
- This is quite a stat. The top six highest-earning QBs in the league will be watching the NFL Playoffs from their couches. I mean, they’re probably very nice couches.
- Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu in the upcoming film Detective Pikachu is more than just a simple voice-over. The makers used motion capture technology to bring to life Reynolds’ facial expressions in the electrifying animated creature.
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