Lincoln Riley says OU coaching staff staying put

Kyle Phillips/The Norman TranscriptOklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has been the subject of criticism after OU’s most recent defensive performances. Sooner coach Lincoln Riley stood by the entire defensive staff Monday, saying any potential staff changes are “off the table.” 

NORMAN — With two disappointing defensive performances fresh on his mind, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley has a number of choices moving forward.

But firing defensive coordinator Mike Stoops or any other coaches on that unit is not an option, Riley said Monday, nearly 48 hours removed from OU’s 38-31 loss to 30-point underdog Iowa State.

“No, that’s not on the table,” he said. “We have a really good defensive staff, and that’s who we’re going to have.”

Ahead of Saturday’s game against border rival Texas (3-2, 2-0), No. 12 OU (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) is seeking answers after allowing 72 points and 831 passing yards in its past two outings.

With recent injuries popping up, Riley said it’s clear defensive depth isn’t where it needs to be and will continue to be a long-term focus.

Among other issues on that side of the ball, senior linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo felt there was lack of effort against Iowa State, enough so that an upperclassman called a players-only meeting for the entire defense Sunday.

Riley didn’t agree that effort has been lacking.

“We’ve got to play better, we’ve got to do some better things fundamentally, but no, I don’t think effort is an issue at all,” Riley said.

 

• Lamb, Adams update: Receiver CeeDee Lamb (shoulder) and running back Abdul Adams (lower leg) are both questionable for Saturday.

Riley didn’t rule out any injured player against the Longhorns, including senior safety Steven Parker, who was hobbled against Iowa State.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that are banged up. We’re gonna have to see how they progress through the week, some of those guys that came out of the game the other day,” Riley said. “I don’t think at this point that we could rule anybody 100 percent out, but some of these guys are gonna have to make some progress through the week to be ready to play.”

 

• Ehlinger or Buechele?: Texas is staying mum on its starting quarterback situation.

“I kind of like having the defense have to prepare for two,” Texas coach Tom Herman said.

True freshman QB Sam Ehlinger accounted for 487 yards of offense in a 40-34 double-overtime win Saturday over Kansas State and seems like the sure bet.

Sophomore Shane Buechele has struggled staying healthy. Herman will monitor Buechele’s recovery from an ankle sprain, and no announcement on a starter is expected before Saturday’s kickoff.

It’s possible both could play, since Iowa State had success against OU with dual QBs.

“I doubt if you’re going to hear anything from me throughout the course of the week, but you guys can keep asking,” Herman said.

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.