Skip to main content

Lincoln Riley shares his mission as OU's head coach with The Players Tribune

Lincoln Riley's media tour as Oklahoma's new head coach hit one of the most important stops here in 2017: The Players' Tribune.

The favorite place for athletes (and some coaches -- see: Harbaugh, Jim) to get their side of the story out, Riley wrote a letter explaining how he got to where he is at age 33 and the care he intends to take as the Sooners' new head coach. Every piece that ends up on The Players Tribune is sanitized, but he does share interesting stories on character traits he picked up from Mike Leach and Bob Stoops and express effusive praise for Ruffin McNeill.

Here's what I found most revealing about Lincoln Riley's Oklahoma:

A big part of that will involve recruiting the right talent. One of the questions I’ve been asked quite a bit is what I look for in a player.

You know, what I’ve found is that the easiest thing to evaluate in the recruiting process is athletic ability. And that’s getting easier all time, as the recruiting industry continues to grow, and to make players’ tapes and measurements more available than ever.

But what I’ve learned is just as important — though much more difficult to evaluate — is the type of person we’re recruiting. Who do they surround themselves with? What’s their motivation? What direction are they going?

Many people look back on when they were 17 and immediately think about all the mistakes they made, and their misplaced priorities. It’s very difficult to judge someone’s character when they’re at an age when they’re still very much figuring out who they are. So making that judgement is where our most important work needs to be done.

One of my biggest priorities as a head coach will be recruiting the right kind of football player. I want kids whose main goal isn’t to play at OU, but to achieve things far beyond that. We aren’t looking for guys who we’re going to have to hunt down for academic appointments or workouts. As a program, we simply don’t have time for that.

Height, weight and speed are all simple things to measure. They’re plainly visible. Willingness to grow? That’s trickier, but it’s the metric that is going to help OU football continue to thrive.

Read the full piece here.