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#pounditFriday, January 21, 2022

Articles tagged: Oklahoma Football

Report: Oklahoma targeting prominent NFL coach as Lincoln Riley replacement

Lincoln Riley at a press conference

Oklahoma is searching for a new head coach after Lincoln Riley rocked the college football world by agreeing to a deal with USC on Sunday. The job should attract plenty of strong candidates, and apparently the Sooners are aiming incredibly high.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Sooners are targeting Kliff Kingsbury as a potential replacement for Riley.

As Schefter noted, Kingsbury’s current contract with the Cardinals only runs through 2022. It is incredibly unlikely that he would leave his NFL coaching job for college, but he may act like he has interest in Oklahoma for leverage.

The Cardinals have improved in each of Kingsbury’s three seasons with the team and are 9-2 this year. They’re one of the best teams in the NFC and have a young franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray. Kingsbury would be insane to leave that job for Oklahoma or any other college coaching job, even if he still likes to stir the pot with college fans.

Photo: Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma upset with reporter taking video of sad Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams dejected

Some Oklahoma personnel were upset with a reporter who tried to record video of Caleb Williams sulking after the Sooners’ 37-33 loss to rival Oklahoma State in the Bedlam game on Saturday night.

247 Sports reporter Brandon Marcello went over to Oklahoma’s bench to record video of a dejected Williams after the game. Marcello was quickly met by some personnel that tried to push him away and prevent him from filming the young quarterback.

After the incident with Marcello, some staffers formed a bit of a protective wall around Williams to block the QB from being recorded.

Williams is a freshman who became Oklahoma’s starting quarterback midway through the season. He went 20/39 for 252 yards and three touchdown passes. He also rushed for 36 yards. But it wasn’t enough as his Sooners fell to their rivals.

Not only did the loss hit Williams hard, but he was probably extra upset over the ending. He threw three straight incompletions and was sacked to end Oklahoma’s comeback effort.

Lincoln Riley upset with referees, Dave Aranda

Lincoln Riley in a hat and headset

Lincoln Riley was upset with both the referees and Baylor coach Dave Aranda over the ending of Saturday’s Oklahoma-Baylor game.

The Bears beat Riley’s Sooners 27-14. Baylor was leading 24-14 and the clock was running, meaning they could have taken knees to end the game. But Baylor oddly decided to call a timeout with three seconds left so they could add a field goal.

The fans stormed the field with three seconds left, wrongly thinking the game was over (video here).

Baylor was not assessed a 15-yard penalty for the fan storming, which bothered Riley. He said after the game that he did not get an explanation for that missed penalty.

Riley was also upset that Aranda opted to kick a field goal even though the game was already out of hand.

The complaint about the officials not calling a penalty is completely legitimate. But Riley probably isn’t one to talk about sportsmanship given all the times he hung huge offensive numbers on his opponents, such as their 76-0 win over Western Carolina.

As far as the reason, Aranda kicked the field goal for tiebreaker purposes.

Photo: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Baylor, Oklahoma game had incredibly odd finish

Baylor field storm

Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Baylor had an incredibly bizarre ending that featured a premature field storm and a little bit of running up the score.

The Bears had a 24-14 lead over the Sooners in Saturday’s game. They had possession of the ball and less than a minute left, so the game was effectively over. That was especially true with the clock running after a run play.

Instead of taking a knee, however, Baylor called timeout with three seconds left. The fans wrongly assumed that was the end of the game and made their way onto the field to celebrate, prompting a strange scene as they were herded back into the stands.

As that happened, a furious Lincoln Riley was letting the referees have it.

It got weirder. It turns out Baylor called timeout because they wanted to kick a field goal. They did so once order was restored, clinching a 27-14 win.

Bears coach Dave Aranda insisted there was a reason for the kick — he was thinking Big 12 tiebreaker scenarios.

Aranda did actually think this through. You have to go pretty far down the list of tiebreakers to find it, but the Big 12 does actually consider scoring differential if the options including head-to-head records are exhausted.

It was a miserable day all around for Oklahoma, as their unbeaten season came to an end. They might also have a reignited quarterback controversy on their hands.

Spencer Rattler replaces struggling Caleb Williams as Oklahoma QB

Spencer Rattler holds a ball

When Spencer Rattler was struggling earlier in the season, he was benched and replaced by Caleb Williams. The tables have now turned several weeks later.

Oklahoma’s offense struggled mightily on Saturday against Baylor, with Williams in particular shouldering the blame. The freshman was just 8-for-17 for 84 yards with two interceptions well into the second half of the game.

Williams’ struggles were such that they inspired a “we want Rattler” chant from Sooners fans.

Those fans soon got their wish, as Rattler replaced Williams at quarterback late in the third quarter. Ultimately, it didn’t really jumpstart the struggling Oklahoma offense.

Williams has made some remarkable plays for Oklahoma this season. With an unbeaten season on the line and Williams struggling mightily, coach Lincoln Riley wasn’t left with much choice but to hope for something better from Rattler.

Rattler, a former five-star recruit, had been expected to leave Oklahoma at the end of the season. This is unlikely to change that, but it’s worth paying attention to.

Photo: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (7) warms up before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Lx14071

Video: Oklahoma-Kansas game briefly halted due to power outage

Kansas power outage

Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Kansas was halted due to a brief power outage in Lawrence.

With just over ten minutes to go in the first quarter, Kansas Memorial Stadium lost power. All the scoreboards went down, prompting an official timeout. The succinctly stated reason was that “everything is off.”

The Oklahoman’s Ryan Aber, covering the game from the press box, said everything except the stadium lights went down.

The delay was a brief one, lasting less than ten minutes. Kansas wound up scoring a touchdown on the drive to take a 7-0 lead.

Power outages can be a fact of life during games, and are uncommon but not unprecedented. It’s kind of an awkward look for Kansas, but there were no real problems as a result, so they can more or less laugh it off.

Did Spencer Rattler hint at transfer with Instagram bio change?

Spencer Rattler

Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, who was once considered a Heisman Trophy front runner and a potential top-5 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, now finds himself riding the pine.

Rattler was benched last week in favor of true freshman Caleb Williams, who has now been named the team’s starting quarterback. And not co-quarterback, mind you, but QB1. Beyond just that, Williams is already now considered a Heisman contender.

That, understandably, does not sit well with Rattler. And although he’s stayed quiet and not made waves in the media, he did stir the post a bit this week after briefly changing his Instagram bio.

As part of the change, Rattler altered his bio from “Quarterback @ OU” to “Quarterback” before quickly reversing course and returning it to its original form.

Rattler could enter the transfer portal, which ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. believes he should do rather than declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft.

“I don’t think it makes sense for Rattler to enter the 2022 draft if he plays sparingly the rest of the season,” Kiper said. “He’s not going to want this tape being the last thing NFL scouts see. Rattler is probably going to have to transfer next year and find a new school, and I think he can reestablish himself there. If he can get back to the basics, he can still have an NFL future.

Rattler’s dad, Mike, recently told OU Daily that no decision on a potential transfer has been made.

“For right now, [Spencer] is focused on working for this team, and we’ll see what happens after Jan. 10,” Mike Rattler said. “Hopefully he’ll be playing in the national championship on Jan. 10, and then after that we’ll evaluate where he is as far as if any teams are interested in him in the NFL. If we think, ‘Hey, you know what, we may ought to do another year or something at Oklahoma, wherever’ … we’re leaving our options open. But for the most part, right now, we don’t even talk about it, because he’s got a task at hand to deal with.”

On Saturday, Rattler will remain on the sideline as QB2 when the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners visit the unranked Kansas Jayhawks.

Oklahoma bans media over student newspaper spying on practice?

Lincoln Riley

The University of Oklahoma’s student newspaper went to great lengths this week to gather information about what Lincoln Riley plans to do at the quarterback position, and the ambitious reporting may have led to a media ban.

Oklahoma abruptly canceled all of its media availabilities on Wednesday and announced that there will be no more media access until after Saturday’s game against TCU. No reason was provided.

Most people believe the reason is fairly obvious. On Tuesday, The Oklahoma Daily published a story that included information from the Sooners’ practice and quotes from Spencer Rattler’s father. The second paragraph of the piece stated that reporters observed practice without permission.

“The Daily watched the offensive practice regimen from a public building near the OU football practice field, with no athletics employees discouraging observation,” the story reads. “The Daily does not observe practice regularly, but did so Tuesday under heightened interest given the situation.”

Rattler was benched during Saturday’s Red River Showdown against Texas and replaced by freshman Caleb Williams. The Sooners were trailing 38-20 at halftime, but they came all the way back to beat their rival in dramatic fashion. Naturally, that has led to speculation that Rattler will lose his starting job going forward.

There were rumblings on Monday that Rattler missed practice due to an illness. His father, Mike Rattler, told The Daily that the absence was cleared through Riley and that Rattler remains committed to the program.

Riley is almost certainly unhappy that the student paper watched practice without permission. If you remember, the Sooners took a drastic measure last year just to prevent students from spying on practice. That’s one of the reasons Wednesday’s news was not shocking.

Watch: Oklahoma beats Texas on improbable touchdown with 3 seconds left

Kennedy Brooks touchdown

The 2021 edition of the Red River Shootout was one to remember on Saturday.

Texas jumped out to an early lead on Oklahoma, going up 14-0 before you knew it. The Longhorns led 28-7 in the first quarter and 38-20 at halftime. Oklahoma even benched quarterback Spencer Rattler in the first half.

But the story didn’t end there.

The Sooners started coming back in the second half and took a 48-41 lead late. Texas scored with just over a minute left to tie the game. At that point, the game going to overtime seemed likely. But Oklahoma said not so fast.

They tried to move the ball with just over a minute left and were successful getting it into Texas territory. Then with 10 seconds left in the game, Kennedy Brooks took a direct snap, faked to the right, then ran left for a 33-yard touchdown to win the game.

What a game and what a comeback!

The game was a thriller … unless you are a Texas fan, in which case, sorry.

Brooks finished with 25 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns, including the winner.

Spencer Rattler benched after awful first half against Texas

Spencer Rattler

The Oklahoma Sooners appear to have made a quarterback change against the Texas Longhorns after another poor showing from Spencer Rattler.

Rattler was benched during Saturday’s Red River Showdown, with the final straw coming in the form of a fumble midway through the second quarter. It was Rattler’s second turnover of the day, with the Sooners already trailing 28-17. That became 35-17 as the Longhorns scored off the fumble.

Rattler was replaced by Caleb Williams for the ensuing Oklahoma drive, which ended with a field goal. Williams remained the quarterback when the second half began as well.

Prior to his benching, Rattler was 8-of-15 for 111 yards and no touchdowns. The lone interception arguably wasn’t his fault, and appeared to be the result of some miscommunication with his wide receiver.

To say Rattler’s season has been a disappointment would be an understatement. Talked about as a preseason Heisman candidate and potential top draft pick, he has thrown five interceptions on the season, has only one 300-yard passing game, and half of his passing touchdowns came in one game against FCS opposition in Western Carolina. It’s been bad enough that some Sooners fans have been clamoring for Rattler to be benched long before Saturday.

Rattler was replaced by Williams, a true freshman who was a five-star recruit. Williams had already scored on a 66-yard touchdown run prior to Rattler’s benching, which may have helped accelerate the process.