NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s been a wild 48 or more hours for the University of Oklahoma football team. A bedlam loss, a head coach leaves and now multiple decommits and transfers are happening among recruits and current players.
“Were we disappointed? Absolutely,” said University President Joseph Harroz.
“I’m just in a state of shock right now,” said Sam Soule, a freshman at the university. “I couldn’t believe it really happened.”
It was a consensus among the students and administration alike.
Everyone said they were shocked in some form or fashion Monday, just about 24 hours after the announcement was made that Lincoln Riley would be heading to the University of Southern California to be their head football coach.
From then on, the shockwaves of the departure have rattled through all levels of the school.
“I don’t think that was the best move by Lincoln,” said Cole Petering, a freshman student at the university.
Riley and some of his assistants were seen in a video filmed by Soonerscoop.com’s Eddie Radosevich at Will Rogers Airport Monday morning preparing for departure to Los Angeles.
Just hours later, the backlash began. Traitor signs were posted on campus in different areas, including the seed sower statue. A university facilities truck came by and cleaned it up Monday morning.
“It kind of sucks to be honest,” Soule said.
The dominoes began to fall Sunday night and into Monday morning. Numerous high profile recruits from the 2022 and 2023 classes decommitted from the program. Former starting quarterback and starting wide receiver Jadon Haselwood also hopped into the transfer portal.
Now, interim head coach Bob Stoops is taking the reins for the Sooners bowl game. He and athletic director Joe Castiglione tried to resurge some optimism into the program. They said they have had talks with current players, recruits and all their families. Stoops also said he plans to start recruiting on Monday night.
“It’s an easy sell,” Stoops said in a Monday afternoon news conference. “You sell the university, you sell the leadership here that’s in front of you. You sell the history of success, not just over in the last 23 years. Decades of success. OU football has been here a long time and it isn’t going anywhere else. It’s going to be here and it’s going to be in the top of college football and it’s going to continue that way.”
Students echoed the same sentiment, hoping to breathe some optimism into the program as well.
“I think OU has stood the test of time and I think really, it’s not going to be the end of OU football,” Soule said.
Despite the university not normally being in a situation like this, Castiglione said they do understand the situation and are moving quickly to hire a new head football coach.