Kliff Kingsbury on Oklahoma job: Not a topic I want to touch right now

USA TODAY Sports

With Lincoln Riley surprisingly leaving Oklahoma to become USC’s head coach on Sunday, there was one aftershock of the news that hit the NFL.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday night that Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is one of Oklahoma’s targets to replace Riley.

Arizona was on its bye for Week 12, but now the club is back in the building to prepare for a matchup with the Bears. So that gave reporters an opportunity to ask Kingsbury about the report on Monday.

Kingsbury wasn’t quite as forceful as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when issuing a denial of interest in a college job, instead generally declining to discuss the topic.

I don’t get into those things,” Kingsbury said, via Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ website. “My sole focus the last couple of weeks has been the Chicago Bears.”

Kingsbury was later asked why he didn’t flatly say he has no interest in the job.

“We’re in-season, we’re 9-and-2, just not a topic I want to touch right now,” Kingsbury said.

With as well as the Cardinals have played this year, it would be bizarre for Kingsbury to have any interest in heading back to college. It also wouldn’t necessarily make much sense for Oklahoma to have a strong interest, given that Kingsbury was fired after going 35-40 at Texas Tech from 2013-2018 — a program in Oklahoma’s conference.

But, as Schefter noted, Kingsbury has just one more year remaining on his Cardinals contract. So it would make sense for Kingsbury’s representation to try and parlay some external interest into a raise and extension, especially considering Arizona’s  success so far in 2021. And that, in turn, is why Kingsbury likely wouldn’t go full Tomlin in his Monday response.

20 responses to “Kliff Kingsbury on Oklahoma job: Not a topic I want to touch right now

  1. It’s not a bad idea. He would have it made in OK. Job security forever. They’d be just like Texas Tech was but with better recruiting.

  2. Translation: Arizona management, you better redo my contract for a significant pay increase or I’m out. P.S., I’m coach of the year for sure with this turnaround.

  3. The final paragraph of the post is the most important. Kingsbury isn’t issuing a flat out denial of interest because he can use it as leverage in negotiating his new deal with the Cardnials.

  4. Unlike Saban, who chose the wrong QB (culpepper over brees), Kingsbury has the QB. No reason for him to leave and go back to college.

  5. I’m not sure if his reaction is helpful to his current Cardinal’s locker room. They have a chance to make a strong playoff run, and now the players have to question if their coach is daydreaming about coaching “kids” again.

  6. It’s not a denial. It is nothing. The most likely reason that Kingsbury didn’t outright deny it is, as was mentioned in the article, it can be used as a bargaining chip to get more money from the Cardinals.

  7. Him going back to college would be no less bizarre than Arizona hiring him to begin with, without the benefit of knowing what would happen.

  8. People saying how easy the OU job is apparently aren’t aware of their coming move to the SEC. Their losses per year are going to at least double and OU fans are not going to just shrug that off. The second they hit SEC play their coach will be on the hot seat. If they were staying in the Big 12 Lincoln Riley would still be their coach.

  9. He should have just pulled a Lincoln Riley.

    “I will not be the head coach of the Detroit Tigers.”

  10. Yes, his response may be a way to get leverage with the Cardinals, but to me it sounds like he’s just dismissing it, as in “We’re 9-2, why would I care about the Oklahoma job?”.

    And, as someone said, they’re moving to the SEC – although I think the SEC has a couple of good teams to deal with, but overall is way overhyped. I think the Big 10 is a much tougher conference – or at least it has been this year.

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