Lincoln Riley Move leaves ECU in Major Transition


Almost a week ago, reports surfaced from Sports Illustrated’s Thayer Evans that East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley was headed to Oklahoma to take over the offensive coordinator position there. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had fired two offensive assistants earlier in the off season, and now we know what he was planning to do with at least one of those spots.

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Lincoln Riley’s Legacy

Riley is still pretty young for a coordinator at thirty-one. He came into the East Carolina program with Ruffin McNeil in order to accept an opportunity to lead an offense and install the Texas Tech style attack in East Carolina. He was considered a smart get by McNeil at the time and there was always the danger of a higher profile program coming to poach him. Now that has happened.

Riley brought the Pirates to unprecedented levels of offense and those Pirate teams enjoyed the most success against their in-state rivals in recent memory. His departure is a big blow to the program by itself.

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  • Lots of Key Turnover on Offense

    Riley’s departure is part of a theme this off-season as the pieces that made East Carolina so dangerous over the last couple seasons are walking out of the door. Besides play caller Riley, the Pirates are also losing senior quarterback Shane Carden and NCAA reception record setting wide receiver Justin Hardy. Also leaving is big receiver Cam Worthy, also a senior.

    The East Carolina offense will have to replace a lot of pieces to like it did this year. No doubt Coach McNeil will hire a replacement who will try to continue running the Air Raid attack. This system has been too successful for McNeil to abandon it now just because he is losing a heck of a senior class.

    Next year marks the entrance of Navy into the American Athletic Conference and the first conference title game. The Pirates will need to get building.