by Alex Poletti
Photo by USA Today
It looks like the Jacksonville Jaguars have found exactly what they’re looking for in their new head coach. Just hours after reports surfaced that they will dismiss head coach Doug Marrone at the season’s end, Jaguars owner Shahid Khan turned on the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl to find the Oklahoma Sooners being completely demolished by the LSU offense. This was all he needed to see that Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was the perfect choice to fill Marrone’s shoes.
“Oklahoma had given up 49 points by half time,” Khan recalls. “I didn’t know that kind of defensive incompetence existed outside of Jacksonville. If Lincoln Riley can lead a team to that kind of disappointment, he’ll fit right in down here in Florida.”
Despite leading the Sooners to their third consecutive playoff berth, Riley’s squad was no match for the best college team in the nation. Heisman quarterback Joe Burrow shredded the Sooners’ secondary, shattering the bowl game record for touchdowns in a half with seven. By the time Burrow exited the game in the early fourth quarter, he had added a rushing touchdown as well.
“Riley was totally out of his element,” the Jaguars owner says of the Oklahoma head coach, “It’s like he had no idea how to handle a decent offense. If he can keep that up at the NFL level, he’ll do Jacksonville proud.”
Once dubbed “Sacksonville” by no one other than themselves, the Jaguars defense has become mediocre at best, ranking 22nd in yards against and 23rd in sacks. This is in part due to the departure of defensive stalwart Jalen Ramsey, but even that is considered a result of poor coaching and management.
Though Khan later rejected the claims that the Jaguars will part ways with Marrone, many in the league expect major shake ups in the coaching staff following a disappointing 5-10 season. Given the perfect match between Riley and Jacksonville, Marrone’s departure now seems imminent. Over the past couple of years, Riley has developed a reputation for churning out high-quality quarterbacks, with first overall draft picks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray both coming out of his system.
“He’s great with quarterbacks,” Khan continues. “That’s the one place where he loses us. We prefer the system where we just let a quarterback fend for himself until he gets benched or dies. It’s the only entertaining part of a football game in Jacksonville.”