OU football: Lincoln Riley says he's 'not going to be the next head coach at LSU'

STILLWATER — The coaching carousel is a ride that stops for no one.

Apparently Lincoln Riley is ready to step off the ride.

When asked about the LSU opening after OU's 37-33 loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday, Riley did his best to put the rustling rumors to rest.

"I'm not going to be the next head coach at LSU," Riley said.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron agreed to part ways with the program at the end of this season, and Riley has been connected to the Tigers' soon-to-be coaching vacancy throughout the past few days in several creative — albeit shaky — ways.

From tracking various LSU commits who now follow Riley on Twitter to monitoring flights from Norman to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tigers fans have been relentless in the pursuit of their top coaching target.

Riley's response holds the same sentiment as the one he gave earlier in the week. When asked about the rumors during his weekly media session on Tuesday, Riley reinforced his allegiance to OU.

"There's nothing to handle," Riley said. "It's pretty easy. I coach the University of Oklahoma football team. You guys know how I feel about this place and this program. We've all been down this road many times before. You guys know where I stand on that, and that hasn't changed."

More:Five takeaways on how OU football's six-year Big 12 title streak came to an end in Bedlam

Then-OU coach Lincoln Riley talks with quarterback Caleb Williams (13) during a 37-33 loss at OSU on Nov. 27.

Weighing in on opt-outs

Even though the Sooners will likely compete in one of the more notable bowl games, the question becomes which players – if any – will opt out of the team’s final contest.

It’s an occurrence that has become common in the past few seasons, and each of OU’s players will face that decision in the coming days.

Redshirt junior running back Kennedy Brooks expects all his teammates to take to the field for one last hoorah, though.

“I don’t expect none of us (to opt-out),” Brooks said. “We love each other and we love this game too much. If a player opts out, anybody around the country, that’s crazy… I’m going to stick it out regardless.

“I hope everybody stays and everybody plays this last game because it’s going to be a special one.”

Redshirt senior Jeremiah Hall also confirmed that he will play in OU’s final game of the season, but the veteran leader sees both sides of the situation.

“If I’m given the opportunity to play football, I’m going to play,” Hall said. “But, really, to each their own. If they don’t want to play the last one, I won’t be mad or anything.”

Bedlam football:Brennan Presley ties OSU's record for longest kick return & more notable numbers

Trusty tight ends

OU quarterback Caleb Williams didn't have much time to think.

OU trailed 14-7 on the opening play of the second quarter when the freshman quarterback took a snap and got ambushed by a pair of black-and-orange jerseys.

The OSU linemen had gone untouched and were within striking distance of Williams before he could even drop back, so he hastily threw a prayer into the end zone.

The ball sailed through the air before crash-landing in the gloves of Austin Stogner, who outjumped Cowboys safety Tanner McCalister for a 29-yard touchdown reception.

Stogner's sensational snag highlighted a strong outing by the senior, but his fellow tight ends also got in on the action.

OU trailed 24-17 with 42 seconds left until halftime when Williams threw a similar fade route into the left corner of the end zone. This time Brayden Willis made a two-handed snag with his defender draped all over him and got both feet in bounds for the 10-yard touchdown.

Stogner finished with three catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Willis racked up three catches for 29 yards and a score. Hall tallied team-highs of four catches and 76 receiving yards.

The trio combined for a season-high 166 receiving yards.

"Great gameplan coming in for the (tight ends)," Hall said. "I'm glad we could execute well, and I think we did a pretty good job tonight."

More:Get to know Oklahoma State football's senior class who will be honored during Bedlam

Injury updates

Sophomore center Andrew Raym did not suit up for the Sooners on Saturday.

Riley said on Tuesday that he expected Raym to be available, but he was seen in a walking boot on his left foot before the game.

Riley also described D.J. Graham as questionable to play on Tuesday, but the sophomore cornerback took the field and finished with a tackle against Oklahoma State.

Justin Martinez can be reached at or @JTheSportsDude on Twitter. Make sure to subscribe to The Oklahoman to stay up to date with all local sports.