Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury Targeted for Major College Job: Report

Getty Images Kliff Kingsbury looks on against the Seattle Seahawks on November 21, 2021.

With no football on a Sunday due to the Week 12 bye, there’s still some news for the Arizona Cardinals on November 28.

According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the Oklahoma Sooners are targeting Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury for their opening head coach position.

Oklahoma lost highly-sought-out coach Lincoln Riley, who is reportedly set to be named head coach at USC. The transition from the Big 12 to the SEC could be a reason why Riley left Oklahoma.

Now, they’re interested in the former college head coach who posted a 35-40 record with Texas Tech before being hired by the Cardinals in 2019.

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Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley was one of the best scoring teams in the country, finishing in the top-six in points for four of the last five years. They want to continue the offensive run with Kingsbury.

But the only run right now is a playoff run for Kingsbury and the Cardinals.

Why Kingsbury Won’t Leave Arizona

Typically, college coaches work their way to the NFL. Not the other way around.

And in those cases of transitioning from the NFL to coaching college, it was due to being unsuccessful. Nick Saban and Chip Kelly are among the recent examples.

That’s not Kingsbury. He’s tied with the 9-2 Cardinals, and star quarterback Kyler Murray.

“We signed up together and as much as any duo probably in the history of the NFL the way this thing has played out,” Kingsbury said, “we know we’re tied to each other forever.”

Murray, who was drafted first overall a few months after hiring Kingsbury, has played MVP-level football in his third season. The Cardinals, despite injuries and COVID issues galore throughout the season, have one of the best odds to win the Super Bowl, according to most sportsbooks.

The Oklahoma job would come with a lot of money and the Cardinals aren’t paying Kingsbury a ton of money.

But this report will certainly help Kingsbury in talks for an extension in the offseason. And while Schefter pointed out Kingsbury has one year left on his current deal, he also has a fifth-year option.

Cardinals reporter Darren Urban also pointed out Kingsbury’s liking for the NFL, compared to the recruiting and competition level in college football.

The players love Kingsbury. Backup Colt McCoy has loved the connection the head coach has with everyone.

“One of the things I respect the most about Kliff is he’s going to do it his way,” McCoy said. “He’s going to listen to feedback from guys who are on the field and his coaches, but Kliff has a clear understanding of what he wants this offense to look like, and we all trust in that.

General manager Steve Keim can have a say in Kingsbury staying in Arizona long-term.

“At 9-2 in his third year, I think it’s pretty apparent his leadership, skill set and football acumen has led to a lot of our success,” said Keim.

Reactions Pour In

Nonetheless, Schefter makes it clear that whatever happens, Kingsbury is in a great situation currently.

Former NFL player and ESPN analyst Damien Woody brought to the table an opinion on the other side of the coin.

Sports analyst Doug Gottlieb finds the Kingsbury report from Schefter a little suspicious.

ESPN draft expert Matt Miller agrees with Schefter as well.

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