Nobody — not even Bob Stoops — knows what Joe Castiglione is going to do.
But Oklahoma’s new interim football coach is connected enough to his athletic director that he can confidently offer what almost looks like a timetable for hiring the Sooners’ new coach.
“I would anticipate this weekend sometime,” Stoops said Thursday on his YouTube channel. “The latest, maybe Monday.”
As he does each week, Stoops sat down for an online studio show with former TV anchor Brad McMullan and shed a little light on Lincoln Riley, the OU job and Castiglione’s search for a new coach.
(Stoops launched the program on Aug. 3 and his channel “Coach Bob Stoops” has posted 29 episodes. They range from 6 to 25 minutes, and usually address Stoops’ insight during the week. Thursday’s show ran 17 minutes and took on what Sunday suddenly became one of the hottest topics in American sports.)
Here’s a recap of some of the topics Stoops covered:
On the entire situation:
“Makes things in disarray here this past week with current players as well as recruiting. There’s a little bit of uncertainty for everybody and understandably so. But we’ll find a great head coach and I’m sure it won’t take long. I would anticipate this weekend sometime, the latest maybe Monday. And things will settle in and people will realize we’re fine.”
On the sudden change at OU after Bedlam:
“Just unexpected news. Life happens. Everybody’s got their life to live. And Lincoln Riley decided for his future and his family he wanted to be in Los Angeles at USC.”
On his feelings toward Riley:
“Disappointed and somewhat shocked to some degree, you know, with all the university has laid out and tried to improve here for him. Everybody’s life is different. I’m careful of ever criticizing someone else for living their life and doing what they need to do. … I wish him the best. He did a really good job here. And again, this program isn’t going away. So that’s fine. There will be another lucky coach to be here.”
On if he believes that Riley didn’t talk to USC before Saturday night/Sunday morning:
“Oh, uh, you know ... Who am I to say? In the end, if he wasn’t talking to them, somebody was — his agent was, you know — to work out all those fine details in an hour or two. He can say what he needs to say, and it isn’t for me to — you know, I’m not going to be out here broadcasting whether I believe it or not.”
On if Riley possibly being distracted by job offers led to the Sooners playing uneven from week to week:
“I don’t speculate. We obviously, through the year, weren’t our usual thorough self. Especially, you know, we sputtered in different spots offensively. Whether that’s the reason why or not, it doesn’t matter. That’s what’s happened. That’s where we are.”
On if he had any inkling Riley was thinking about leaving:
“Well, again, any conversations we have are private conversations between us. Lincoln Riley, he has his life to live and he’s gonna go do it. We’re gonna move forward and we’re gonna be great. So move on.”
On the positives a coaching change can bring:
“Things can get stagnant sometimes. I’m not saying they were. But that happens. It happens subtly sometimes in the program, you don’t even realize it. So a new outsider with different vision, a new way of doing things can energize people.”
“Who’s to say it couldn’t be better?”
“I’m excited about maybe something new. Some new ideas.”
On his crazy schedule on the recruiting trail since taking over as interim head coach:
“I was in Tulsa Monday night, I can’t remember, next day I was in three places, Texas and different spots in Texas, all through Texas. Today I was in Florida. This is Thursday, today. Last night I was in Colorado as well as Texas. Tomorrow, Friday, I’m going to — anyway, I can’t — East Texas, I believe. No, West Texas. I’ve been to Lubbock as well. I can’t remember all of it.
“And on the weekend I have to be on Big Noon Kickoff … in Indianapolis. Then the next morning I take a 6 a.m. flight direct to Las Vegas for the College Hall of Fame. So anyway, I’m just trying to keep it together. When I’m packing to go somewhere, I’m sure I’m gonna miss something.”
On his interactions with recruits and their families so far:
“Everybody was very understanding in that, little by little, this is settling down. Give it a little bit of time.”
On the potential controversy of Roy Manning recruiting alongside him for Oklahoma while also talking to recruits on behalf of USC (Manning is still on OU’s coaching roster):
“Yeah, I’ve heard about it. There’s differing views on how that actually happened. Listen, through this week it’s going to be this way. Everything’s a little bit in flux. Recruiting, current players, staff not knowing whether they have a job or don’t have a job, where is that job or not having one. There’s no good way to go through it. You’ve just got to put your head down and plow through it and the dust will settle and it’ll all be fine.”
On OU’s 77-14 record and six Big 12 championships during Riley’s seven seasons in Norman:
“In the end, this program’s always ready to go — at least in the last 23 years. We’ll find somebody to step in and move forward and maybe even improve us.”
On all the rumors about LSU and claims on social media:
“I don’t listen to rumors. Too many have been said about me that are totally untrue. Still happens, even.”
“There’s so much foolishness out on social media. A coach never pays any attention to that.”
On what’s next for OU:
“We’re not going away. This program is built to last. It’s bigger than any one person. You get the right guy in here with the right methods with the talent around us, we’re going to continue to move forward winning championships. It may improve. That can happen. We’ll see.
“I’m excited for the future. I’m excited to see who we hire and support whoever that is in the best way. We’re too good of a program to — all of a sudden we can’t win? What’s that about? That’s ridiculous.”