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The case for Lincoln Riley as Maryland's next head football coach

Oklahoma's young offensive coordinator is a serious coaching prospect.

We don't have any stock photos of Riley, so here's Okahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, whom Riley oversees as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
We don't have any stock photos of Riley, so here's Okahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, whom Riley oversees as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know (roughly) who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.

Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

Possibility scale: 4/10

The resume

After Riley played one season as a walk-on quarterback at Texas Tech, he started his coaching career there while he was still a student, serving as an assistant from 2003 to 2005 as an undergraduate before continuing there as a graduate assistant. He started coaching the Red Raiders' wide receivers in 2007 and coached there until getting hired as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at East Carolina in 2010. While with the Pirates, he led fast-paced offenses each season, racking up program-highs in several offensive categories in every season before moving to Oklahoma this offseason.

This season, his Sooners rank 11th in the country in offensive S&P+, and quarterback Baker Mayfield has improved his completion percentage and thrown for more yards and touchdowns under Riley. He's never held a head-coaching position at his young age (he's only 32), but he has been involved in coaching for 12 years. He's on the fast track to a head coaching job, and if he keeps leading offenses this good, he'll have one very soon.

The benefits

Kevin Anderson said he wants a high-powered offense, and he'd get one with Riley. His experience as a quarterbacks coach would would be perfect as the Terps will look to acclimate Dwayne Haskins to the starter role as soon as humanly possible. At Oklahoma he's been piling up quarterback recruits, which is always a good thing. Even though Haskins should be able to hold down the fort for a few years, Mayland's going to need a quarterback when he leaves.

If Riley can keep his connections from the South and also capitalize on some of Maryland's mild in-state recruiting momentum, he could have the Terps at or near the top of the Big Ten soon.

The drawbacks

This could be an advantage, but Riley is very young. At age 32, he'd be one of the youngest head coaches in the country. No matter how talented he's been as a coordinator, handing the keys of the program over to someone that green won't be easy. Also, he's only in his first year as offensive coordinator for a Power-5 school, so his experience in big-time college football is not extensive. He doesn't seem to have any connections to D.C., which isn't an irreparable problem when it comes to recruiting, but is worth noting.

In one sentence

Riley awfully young, but he might be exactly what Kevin Anderson is looking for in a head coach.