Kliff Kingsbury sidesteps questions about Oklahoma vacancy, says focus is on Cardinals

Dana Scott
Arizona Republic

Kliff Kingsbury dodged questions about his name in the mix of Oklahoma's search to replace Lincoln Riley.

The Cardinals coach said he doesn't "want to get into those things" as the team returns to practice this week following their rest last week when they had their bye through Thanksgiving.

ESPN reported Kingsbury is among the coaches the Sooners are interested in to replace Riley.

But Kingsbury's tunnel vision is on Arizona's next road game at the Chicago Bears (4-7), who beat the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, 16-14.

"My sole focus the last couple weeks has been the Chicago Bears," Kingsbury said. After watching them on Thanksgiving, it needs to be because they're a really good football team and had a big win, and so that's where my focus has been."

MORE:32 things we learned from Week 12 of 2021 NFL season

NFL WEEK 12 WINNERS, LOSERS:Bill Belichick has Patriots rolling. Wounded Titans are in a freefall.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury looks at his play sheet against the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter in Glendale, Ariz. Oct. 28, 2021.

Kingsbury said he was in the "movie room" on Sunday reviewing his NFL game films and binge-watched USA Network TV series "Queen Of The South" when he initially heard his name brought up in Oklahoma's search.

"I tried to get up to the office everyday except Thanksgiving, at least in the morning and just stay locked in and stay dialed in," Kingsbury said. "Them (Chicago Bears) playing on (Thursday) was nice because Friday we had the film in and break it down and get ahead as much as we could, which will allow us to install a lot today and try to have a bonus day with our players, actually having a game plan installed."

Kingsbury did not overtly deny interest in returning to being a college coach at Oklahoma.

"We’re in season, we’re 9-2, just not a topic I wanna touch on right now," Kingsbury said about the Cardinals.

He also said he's "hopeful" about the returns of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins for Sunday's game at Chicago. The Cardinals' top quarterback and wide receiver have missed their past three games since Nov. 5 at San Francisco 49ers because of their ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively.