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Sooners' Lincoln Riley praises Bob Stoops at Big 12 media days

FRISCO, Texas - New Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley had plenty of praise for his predecessor, the recently retired Bob Stoops, as Riley made his Big 12 media days debut on Monday.

Facing the media at the conference's annual event at The Star -- headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys -- Riley spoke kindly of Stoops, who was a frequent topic of conversation even though he won't be stalking the sideline this fall.

Riley, 33, made sure to note that while he has learned much from his former boss, he isn't necessarily going to imitate everything Stoops did.

"I'm comfortable with myself and being myself," Riley said. "I don't have an ego in this, and say, 'Well, I've got to change things just because I'm the head coach.' And I don't want to seem like I'm just trying to be Bob Stoops 2.0 or whatever you want to call it. I want to use the things I think are right, and if there's a few things I think fit my personality better or can help us as a team, then I'm certainly not going to hesitate to do those."

Riley, who spent the past two seasons as OU's offensive coordinator, emphasized that much of what goes on in Norman will remain consistent with the Stoops era, "because I think he's really good, and I think it's kind of proven the test of time." Riley said he'll "definitely" seek counsel from Stoops as the season wears on.

Riley, the youngest current FBS head coach, was named head coach on June 7 after Stoops announced that he was stepping down following 18 seasons at the helm. Riley said Monday he isn't expecting the current Sooners to immediately put their faith in him simply because he's in charge now.

"I told them in our first meeting, you know, they signed up to come play for a different head coach. I wasn't the guy that came in and recruited them, and I don't feel like that they should have to accept me just because now I'm the head coach," Riley said. "I feel like that's something that I should have to earn, and I told them that I would give them every ounce I have to get that done."

The Sooners, who went 11-2 and won the Big 12 last season, were picked by the media to win the conference again this season.