It’s probably best never to get too attached to players.
Most of us learned that lesson this 4th of July when Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City, a place he had previously said he never wanted to leave. Instead, he bolted for Golden State, leaving behind the Thunder and thousands of fans who thought Durant owed them undying loyalty.
We now know, if we didn’t already, there’s really no such thing in sports.
And we should also know that extends to the college level, too. Bob Stoops has been at Oklahoma since the 1999 season. At this point, he’s probably considered a lifer, expected to stay in Norman for the rest of his days coaching and then until the sun sets.
But that’s not going to be the case for offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. He’s gone. No, not now, but maybe as soon as January. And why not? Riley has been both the architect and beneficiary of a great offense at Oklahoma. He’s heading into a second season with an established starting quarterback, two great running backs and never-ending resources to make sure that will always be the case.
Oklahoma is expected to achieve great things this season and if it happens, it will likely be because of the offense, designed by Riley and executed by Baker Mayfield, Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. And that means folks will come calling with offers way too good to pass up.
Riley isn’t Bob Stoops. He’s not entrenched in Norman. He’s not a head coach and he’s young. Meanwhile, there’s never a better time to leave than when things are going well – consider 2016 a sell-high situation for Riley and the Sooners.
The market should be busy, too. Consider, Texas, Baylor, maybe even Houston, could be open – all of which are great landing spots for Riley – and all will be wanting an offensive system.
Oklahoma is line for a good season. Riley is line for a payday. If one of those three schools comes calling, and if Houston does make the jump to the Big 12, Riley would be silly to turn any of them down. Yes, this is contingent on Oklahoma having a good season, and yes, that’s the expectation.
And no, now’s not the time to get attached.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK