Cowboys' Jerry Jones 'Impressed' with OU's Lincoln Riley, Baylor's Matt Rhule

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2019

Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones speaks with the media following an NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Chicago. Chicago won 31-24. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones still has a head coach. That doesn't mean he isn't appreciative of two names that have been regularly linked to potential vacancies. 

"Well I am impressed with [Lincoln Riley], but boy, I'm impressed with Baylor's [Matt] Rhule too," Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan on Friday, per Jori Epstein of USA Today. "Two outstanding coaches at the stadium this weekend and that's just that. They've done a great job positioning their teams, they're sound in the way they're approaching their teams. So that was a great chance to see a couple of great coaches out there."

Riley and Rhule are considered two of the smartest young minds in football. Riley, who took over for Bob Stoops in 2017, has coached two Heisman Trophy winners (Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray) and another finalist (Jalen Hurts). The Sooners are headed to their third straight College Football Playoff.

While Riley's name has been bandied about for the better part of two years, he's resisted the allure of coaching on Sundays.

Riley said of coaching in the NFL last December, per Howie Kussoy of the New York Post:

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"I can't tell you how I'm gonna feel in 10 years, but no, not right now. If I wasn't at one of the elite programs in the country, maybe, but no, I'm very happy where I'm at right now.

"If it was 20, 30 years ago, where there were some major differences, maybe. ... The way the college game has evolved, financially it's a lot better situation now when you compare it to NFL teams. We're at a place where we're happy, and we don't take that for granted. I love coaching at Oklahoma, love coaching college football."

Rhule has rebuilt a Baylor program that hit rock bottom before his arrival, leading the Bears from a 1-11 record during his first season to an 11-2 mark in 2019. He previously turned the Temple program around, going from 2-10 in his first season to back-to-back 10-win campaigns in 2015 and 2016.

Jason Garrett has coached the Cowboys for 10 seasons, including four winning seasons in the past five years heading into 2019. However, the Cowboys have vastly underperformed relative to their offensive talent this season, sitting at 6-7 and losers of three straight games.