Lincoln Riley finds comfort in OU line

Sooners new OC leans on extended relationship with Bill Bedenbaugh

Coming to a historic program wasn’t the only part of the allure of coaching at Oklahoma for Lincoln Riley, who jumped over to become the Sooners’ offensive coordinator in the offseason.

Riley had the chance to work with an old friend as well. Coaching with Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh once again might have been a major selling point for Riley picking the Sooners.

“There’s not a better guy to work with in this offense than him,” Riley said.

Riley and Bedenbaugh first coached together more than a decade ago when Riley was a student assistant at Texas Tech and Bedenbaugh was coaching running backs for the Red Raiders.

No surprise, Bedenbaugh brought a toughness even then.

“They are going to be the toughest, baddest group out there all the time,” Riley said. “He was even like that when I was young, and he was the running backs coach at Texas Tech. He could those guys like they were O-Linemen.”

Bedenbaugh eventually graduated to offensive line coach, a much more suitable place for him, and led the lines at Texas Tech, West Virginia and Arizona before coming to Oklahoma a reuniting with Riley.

Riley knows that the Sooners’ offense needs a stable offensive line, something his old friend provides.

“With all the skills guys coming up, you quickly learn that you’d better have a damn good offensive line coach or you have no chance,” he said. “. . . It’s critical, and there’s a lot to it. And to have a guy who has coached in it with a lot of different coordinators and a lot of different places, a guy that’s played in it, there’s probably not a more experienced offensive line coach for this system than him.

“It’s as big as it gets.”

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