Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley has a quarterback decision to make, and while he’d like to do it during fall camp, he won’t promise it.
Riley said Friday that it would be his preference to name the new starter during camp, but he’s going to leave his options open and make the decision when he feels ready to.
“You get a lot more accurate snapshot of where these guys are really at, as camp unfolds,” Riley said, via Edward Aschoff of ESPN. “I would prefer to [name a starter during camp] because then you’re able to get it out of the way, you’re able to start to focus your reps in on the starter and the team knows — everybody knows — and you can move on.”
Riley has gone to great lengths to emphasize that it’s an open competition at Oklahoma, even though transfer Jalen Hurts is widely considered the heavy favorite. Redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai is considered his primary competition, though Riley has also left the door open for highly-touted true freshman Spencer Rattler to earn some reps as well.
The Oklahoma Sooners have had back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners at quarterback, so it would only be logical to expect the offense to dip a bit. Lincoln Riley does not believe that will be the case, though.
Riley said he doesn’t anticipate any regression from the Oklahoma offense in 2019, adding that he expects the defense to improve as well.
We shouldn’t expect Riley to say anything negative about his offense publicly. Plus, he has an experienced quarterback in Jalen Hurts waiting to follow up Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, though Hurts will have to win the job in a competition.
The Sooners led the nation in scoring last year with 48.4 points per game. That will be a tough act to follow no matter who’s under center, but Riley isn’t backing down from the challenge.
The Oklahoma Sooners have reportedly backed down and will grant quarterback Austin Kendall an immediate graduate transfer.
According to George Schroeder of USA Today, the Sooners have agreed to grant Kendall a waiver that will allow him to transfer to Big 12 foe West Virginia and play immediately.
It ends a brief saga that saw the Sooners refuse to allow Kendall to move to their Big 12 rivals despite him seeking a transfer. That decision prompted significant outcry, but it’s likely that the real factor behind Oklahoma allowing the transfer is confirmation of the pending arrival of another quarterback who will almost certainly start for the Sooners.
Oklahoma is bringing in a new quarterback who will likely be their starter for the 2019 season, but they are apparently making it difficult for one of their current signal-callers to find immediate playing time elsewhere.
Former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts revealed on Wednesday that he has decided to transfer to Oklahoma. Prior to Hurts making his announcement, ESPN’s Jake Trotter reported that the Sooners are trying to block QB Austin Kendall — who is looking to transfer as a graduate student — from being able to play immediately at West Virginia.
Graduate transfers typically do not have to sit out a year before becoming eligible like undergrads would, but Trotter notes that Oklahoma reserves the right under NCAA rules to object to the player playing immediately at another school in the same conference. The SEC passed a rule last summer stating that all graduate transfers can transfer within the conference and be eligible to play immediately, but no such rule exists in the Big 12.
If Kendall transferred to West Virginia and was forced to sit out a year, he would have only one year of eligibility remaining. Trotter reports that he has withdrawn from classes at Oklahoma and is committed to leaving, and he visited Auburn in addition to West Virginia and has drawn interest from other programs.
Again, the report came out before Hurts announced he has committed to Oklahoma, so the Sooners may back off now that they have their quarterback. If not, Kendall will not be the only high-profile quarterback who is fighting to gain eligibility this offseason.
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley will be coaching his third starting quarterback in as many years when the Sooners open up camp later this year, and the latest has the potential to become the school’s third consecutive Heisman Trophy winner.
In a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune on Wednesday, Jalen Hurts announced he has decided to transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma. He said he is proud to have received his degree from the University of Alabama and thanked Nick Saban for changing his life. Hurts also admitted what happened during the 2018 National Championship Game — when he was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa — was tough for him.
“Was what happened in the 2018 National Championship Game bittersweet? Of course it was — it was a humbling experience. It was tough, man,” Hurts wrote.
“But I am even tougher for it. I AM BUILT FOR THIS.”
Hurts, who assured Crimson Tide fans he is “Bama for LIFE,” will be eligible to play immediately at Oklahoma as a graduate transfer. Riley is, of course, in search of another starting quarterback with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray having declared for the NFL Draft. Murray took over for Baker Mayfield, who won the Heisman with the Sooners the year prior before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns.
Many considered Miami the favorite to land Hurts, especially after the Hurricanes made their new offensive coordinator hire. Former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell, who will have two years of eligibility remaining when he is cleared, announced on Tuesday that he is heading to Miami. Oklahoma should be a great fit for Hurts.
While it’s unclear how history will judge the Clemson Tigers in the context of the sport’s greatest ever teams, it’s enough to know that they went 15-0 and are going to be great again next year. Knocking them off their perch is going to be a real challenge, and only a handful of teams will be able to enter the season saying they have a chance to do it.
So who are those elite few? Clemson will be the early favorite to claim the title again, but here are ten teams capable of taking it from them in 2019.
Mario Cristobal’s decision to stay with the Ducks, coupled with Justin Herbert’s return, ensures that Oregon will be Pac-12 contenders in 2019. Add in top recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux’s arrival to create havoc in opposing backfields, plus a Pac-12 there for the taking, and you have a potential playoff team. They’re still raw and have a ways to go, but anyone who gets in the playoff at least has a chance to knock off Clemson, and Oregon might just get there.
The Lincoln Riley to the NFL rumors might cool down some.
Oklahoma announced on Tuesday that they have agreed to a contract extension and pay raise for Riley, who just completed his second season as the Sooners’ head football coach. The deal still needs to be finalized by the OU Board of Regents, which will meet later in the month.
Riley took over for Bob Stoops ahead of the 2017 season and has gone 12-2 in each of his first two years as the Sooners’ head coach. He has taken the team to the College Football Playoff both years, where they lost in the semis each time. His quarterbacks have also won consecutive Heisman Trophies — first Baker Mayfield, and then Kyler Murray.
Riley had been linked to some NFL jobs, even one prominent NFC gig, but things have changed greatly since then.
Even when the Oklahoma Sooners were finding some success in the College Football Playoff semifinal, they couldn’t seem to get out of their own way.
The Sooners got on the board with a touchdown early in the second quarter to bring the score to 28-7. However, thanks to some shoving in the end zone, they took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the score, and then took an unnecessary roughness penalty after converting the extra point.
That meant Oklahoma was forced to take the ensuing kickoff from their own 10-yard line.
Ultimately, Oklahoma forced Alabama to punt on the ensuing drive, as they rather oddly called for a fair catch at their own 20. The kickoff location didn’t end up harming them. It certainly created a hilarious visual that we don’t see often, though.
The Oklahoma Sooners have done all they can to make their case for a College Football Playoff bid, and now it’s up to coach Lincoln Riley to do some campaigning.
The primary criticism aimed at Oklahoma is their defense. The Sooners allow nearly 33 points and roughly 450 yards per game, the worst marks of any playoff contender by some margin. Riley was quick to address that point after his team’s 39-27 win over Texas, saying the defense was still improving — and good enough as is to win a championship.
Riley’s job now is to publicly campaign for his team, whether anyone is listening or not. He has at least one big defensive play to point toward as evidence that his team can get it done when it needs to.
The Oklahoma Sooners effectively clinched the Big 12 title with an incredible touchdown pass and catch from Kyler Murray to Grant Calcaterra.
On 3rd and 10 from the Texas 18 with the Sooners already up five, Murray floated a perfect pass to Calcaterra, who reeled it in with one hand to put the Sooners up 12 with just two minutes left in the Big 12 Championship.
Murray essentially has to make a perfect throw here to avoid the Texas defensive back while keeping it catchable, and Calcaterra has to make an incredible play to reel it in. It had to be perfect on both ends, and it was.
The drive that essentially finished off Texas was set up by a huge play by the Oklahoma defense. The entire team came up big when it mattered in the most important game of their season to date.