AP Photo/Ben VanHouten
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury was not interested in discussing any possibility he could be the next head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners.
“I don’t get into those things,” he told reporters Monday while also saying his “sole focus” is on the upcoming game against the Chicago Bears.
The comments come after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Kingbury could be a potential candidate for the Sooners, especially since he has just one year left on his current contract following the 2021 campaign.
The Oklahoma job is open after USC announced it hired Lincoln Riley as its next head coach.
While USC is a major job and brings the recruiting advantages of Southern California, it was still somewhat surprising to see Riley leave the Sooners. After all, he helped maintain their position as one of the best programs in the country by going 55-10 during his tenure and reaching the College Football Playoff three times.
Meanwhile, USC is just 4-7 this season and has struggled to replicate some of its past success in recent years.
Kingsbury is certainly familiar with the Big 12 and Oklahoma’s recruiting territory from his days as a player and the head coach at Texas Tech. He was the coach of the Red Raiders from 2013 through 2018 and went 35-40 while struggling to keep pace with some of the conference’s best programs.
That familiarity with the Big 12 would also only go so far if he was the next Sooners head coach since they are primed to join the SEC in the near future.
Still, Kingsbury is in a favorable position with the Cardinals.
Not only do they have the best record in the NFL at 9-2 this season, but they also have 24-year-old Kyler Murray as the franchise quarterback. If things go according to plan, Arizona will continue building around Murray as it competes for Super Bowls during his prime.
That would be a difficult position for Kingsbury to leave, especially since he has been a key component of the team’s development as the head coach since the 2019 campaign. The Cardinals have shown steady improvement during his tenure and went 5-10-1 in his first year before an 8-8 mark last season.
It isn’t a stretch to suggest Kingsbury’s name being attached to high-profile college openings like Oklahoma’s could be a leverage play given his contract status, but it would be a surprise to see him leave the Cardinals at this point.
Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury on Oklahoma Rumors: ‘I Don’t Get Into Those Things’