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.