Riley On Decision To Fire Mike Stoops: 'We Just Needed Spark'
NORMAN, Oklahoma - Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley talked to the media Monday afternoon about the Sunday dismissal of defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, a day after the Sooners lost to Texas 48-45, giving up more than 500 yards to the Longhorns.
Riley said the dismissal of the long-time coordinator was his decision and his decision only, adding that pressure from the president's office is "not how Oklahoma works."
"That's why this place has been so good for so long," Riley said.
Likewise, he said it wasn't one game that caused him to change direction. Riley also said he didn't consider a change at defensive coordinator after the 54-48 loss to Georgia in the national semifinal game at the Rose Bowl in January.
What it came down to was believing this current incarnation of the Oklahoma Sooners still has a chance to win the national title.
"We just needed spark," Riley said.
"You owe it to this team to do the very best you can right now," he said.
Riley addressed suggestions that Curtis Bolton had an emotional outburst at halftime of the game versus Texas, with some saying that he threatened to quit the team. He said that while it's not uncommon for players to have emotional outbursts during a game as heated as OU-Texas, the talk surrounding Bolton is "blown out of proportion a little bit."
Ruffin McNeill was named interim defensive coordinator for the rest of the year, and Bob Diaco was moved from an analysts role to a coaching position. The hope, Riley said, was that McNeill could unite the defensive unit.
"New sometimes can give you that spark, give you that lift -- and that's what we're counting on right now," he said.