Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has been pinned as a very likely candidate for the LSU head coaching position this season. After the program reached a separation agreement with Ed Orgeron, the search for the next man began. A few prominent names had been mentioned in the search, such as Michigan State head man Mel Tucker, Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, and even Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.
However, it appears that the LSU program has settled in on Riley. First reported by JBoy on the JBoy Show, he said that LSU had offered the outstanding quarterback guru an eight-year, $96M contract as the head coach with the football program.
I was unable to confirm any numbers when speaking with people close to the program, but every indication is indeed pointing to this conclusion. Let’s talk a little bit about what we know and what this would mean for LSU.
Reportedly, the agreement was reached over a month ago
One source that I spoke with about the situation mentioned that this agreement was reached a month and a half ago. The clock struck twelve for Coach Orgeron after the team’s tough opening week loss to UCLA. LSU officials began reaching out to people about potentially filling the position.
It was a little over a month ago when LSU boosters and staff managed to meet with Riley and reach a “verbal, handshake agreement” to make Riley the next head coach of LSU. It’s believed that they have a general number mutually agreed to.
All of this rings true mostly for two reasons. First, Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma team has been less than stellar this year. It’s not from a lack of talent, it looks like they’ve struggled to stay focused in football games. Could the preparation for games be swayed by the distraction of taking another job? Secondly, follow the money. Michigan State is closing on a ten-year, $95M extension with Mel Tucker who was firmly in the conversation for that job. Clearly, the program feels pressure to pay him to keep him around. That’s not just LSU threatening, mind you. That’s USC, potentially Penn State, and any other big-name school that might open its position.
Tampering the rumors
Blake Ruffino of Are You Serious Sports, a partner of Bleav Podcasts, spoke about the potential contract. He pointed out that LSU’s Athletic Director, Scott Woodward, has just about always landed the main person he’s gone after in any sport. When he was the Athletic Director at Texas A&M between 2016 and 2019, Woodward landed his main target pulling him from Florida State, Jimbo Fisher.
Ruffino in his live stream also went on to predict that a leak would come out that Riley would not be the next head coach of the LSU Tigers. After all, as mentioned before, USC is on the prowl, and Penn State potentially as well. Woodward certainly doesn’t want his handshake agreement to fall through.
Shortly after Ruffino’s live stream ended, FOX Sports and The Athletic reporter, Bruce Feldman, tweeted that he had heard Riley wouldn’t be the next head coach at LSU. Feldman is very close to Orgeron, whose heart and soul are in the LSU program. Ruffino’s prediction is that Orgeron is attempting to help keep the flames down with his buddy, Feldman.
The potential Lincoln Riley brings to LSU
This hire would make all the sense in the world to LSU. The position that they have struggled to develop and recruit, with one lone exception, has been quarterback. They’ve had all of the talents on both sides of the ball for years and struggled to develop consistent play at quarterback.
Lincoln Riley has made a reputation for himself as a quarterback whisperer. He has the resume to prove it. In fact, two of his quarterbacks at Oklahoma were selected first overall (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray), while Jalen Hurts, who started in 2020, was picked in the second round. All three quarterbacks are currently their team’s starting quarterback in the NFL.
His offensive prowess would be a welcome addition to the SEC and the LSU program. Perhaps LSU could even find its way back into the glory days of competing for championships annually. The signs all point to it, and I’m all here for it.