Steve Spurrier: That's why Lincoln Riley got hired, and this is what he needs

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday June 14, 2017

Steve Spurrier heard a radio conversation on whether or not Lincoln Riley should give up play-calling as head coach, so the HBC decided to call in.

Riley has said he will continue to run the offense and call plays after promotion in place of Bob Stoops. Spurrier himself was a head coach who called plays, and he called into SiriusXM College Sports Nation to share his thoughts on the coach replacing his former assistant.

“Why in the world do you think he got hired?” Spurrier said of Riley. “Why did Joe Castiglione hire Lincoln to be the head coach? Because what he does best is get the ball going up and down the field with regularity, scoring touchdowns and helping Oklahoma win. That’s why he got hired.”

It’s why Spurrier got hired, after all.

“It reminds me of 1987, I got hired at Duke University,’ Spurrier said. “Tom Butters said, ‘You know why we’re hiring you, don’t ya?’ Well, I’m supposed to win, right? (He said), ‘We want the ball going up and down the field, and we want to score touchdowns and we want to win. We’re not hiring you for your good looks or your ability to recruit or your organization skill or the way you talk to the fans or media. We want offense and we want wins.’

“I said, yes, sir, I understand why I got hired. And that’s why Lincoln got hired. They want offense, and they want wins.”

Riley is only 33 years old, though he’s been in coaching for more than a decade. Spurrier’s other piece of advice: have someone alongside him to take some duties. As it turns out, Riley hired Ruffin McNeill as defensive tackles / assistant head coach on Wednesday.

Here’s what’s a good idea: If he has a strong assistant head coach that can do a lot of that busy work. This that and the other,” Spurrier said. “An older guy that’s been around can do some of the assistant head coach duties. That’s what we needed when we were coaching.”

At a school like Oklahoma with its resources, Riley should have some help.

“Think about how many people work around football now compared to 10-20 years ago,” Spurrier said. “There’s 20 guys running around the office looking for things to do. They’ve got all these analysts, grad assistants, volunteers. There’ a ton of guys that can do a lot of work. Lincoln’s specialty is offense. You have to do what you do best to help your team. I think he will continue calling the plays and running the offense. That’s why he’s the head coach right now.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to