Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is not going to publicly identify a beginning quarterback for Saturday’s sport in opposition to TCU.
“Don’t plan on naming a starting quarterback here this week,” Riley stated at his press convention Tuesday. “We’ll see how the week plays out, and see where we are when we get to Saturday. … We’ll see you Saturday at 6:30 p.m.”
The speculative guess is straightforward. Freshman Caleb Williams, who led the comeback in opposition to Texas final week within the Red River Showdown, probably will take over because the starter for preseason Heisman Trophy favourite Spencer Rattler in one of many more-stunning storylines of the 2021 season.
Is it actually that gorgeous, although? We have seen this earlier than.
On Jan. 8, 2018, Alabama coach Nick Saban changed Jalen Hurts with freshman Tua Tagovailoa within the CFP championship sport. The Crimson Tide gained 26-23 on Tagovailoa’s now-legendary game-winning TD cross on second-and-26.
The following season, Dabo Swinney changed Kelly Bryant, who led the Tigers to the CFP the earlier season, with freshman Trevor Lawrence after 4 video games. Bryant transferred to Missouri throughout the season, and Lawrence led a nationwide championship run.
Riley can be taught from these two conditions to maintain the Sooners on the same-old CFP path in an effort to win this system’s first nationwide championship since 2000. The short-term outlook is Riley has to decide earlier than Saturday’s prime-time matchup in opposition to the Horned Frogs, the place the main target might be on that fast alternative.
Williams must be that alternative. The Sooners’ offense unleashed its big-play potential with Williams to rally from a 28-7 deficit in opposition to Texas. Running again Kennedy Brooks and receiver Marvin Mims had their finest video games of the season.
Remember, as soon as Saban put Tagovailoa in, that was it. Tagovailoa gained the beginning job the next season, however Hurts was a task participant within the offense all year long.
So, what about Rattler? Riley stated the sophomore quarterback was given the time without work Monday earlier than returning to apply.
“Considering the circumstances he’s doing well,” Riley stated. “It’s not easy for a young guy. This guy gets painted a different way publicly than what he really is.”
Rattler was thought of the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy and the potential No. 1 choose within the 2022 NFL Draft. He earned NIL offers, too, and like Hurts he didn’t lose because the beginning quarterback within the season he was changed. It’s simply that Oklahoma had a number of one-score video games in opposition to FBS competitors, and Williams was the suitable spark on the proper time.
Riley reiterated that Rattler gained the competitors in fall camp, however the dynamics have modified.
So will Rattler instantly switch like Bryant did? Riley addressed that query, too, figuring out that the switch portal is extra lively than it was in 2018.
“There are never any guarantees, but I would fully expect to have both of those guys the entire season,” Riley stated. “Both those guys are pretty committed to this football team.”
Rattler’s father echoed these ideas to the OUDaily on Wednesday , saying the household will make a decsion on his future after Oklahoma’s season.
The best-case situation? Rattler maintains a task, even when he’s the backup, for the rest of the season. After all, he did re-enter the sport and hit the game-tying two-point conversion in opposition to Texas final week.
Look again at these conditions at Alabama and Clemson to see the worth of a backup quarterback. Hurts changed an injured Tagovailoa and led a 35-28 comeback victory in opposition to Georgia within the 2018 SEC championship sport. Lawrence was knocked out with a concussion within the first sport after Bryant transferred, and Chase Brice performed the hero in a 27-23 comeback in opposition to Syracuse on Sept. 29, 2018. Those have been key moments in that season, which ended with Clemson beating Alabama within the CFP championship sport.
Oklahoma has but to succeed in the championship sport regardless of 4 playoff appearances. They’ve had the suitable quarterback every time, too, with a pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray together with Hurts, who transferred from Alabama after the 2018 season.
That’s one other best-case situation for Riley. That the quarterback state of affairs resolves after the season. Remember, the Sooners have gained 14 consecutive video games.
“The sky is not quite falling,” Riley stated. “We keep it in perspective.”
RIley can handle this case, even with the switch portal and NIL, on this CFP race. Penn State misplaced beginning quarterback Sean Clifford final week, and the dropoff at QB was catastrophic in a 23-20 loss to Iowa. Oklahoma nonetheless has half a season left within the Big 12, the place the Sooners are gunning for a seventh straight convention championship.
“This has typically been the time for us when we surge and play some of our best ball,” Riley stated. “That’s absolutely our intent right now.”
To do this, Riley should begin Willliams and see the place it goes. He might emerge as a Heisman Trophy-candidate and the difference-maker for a program that has been itching to point out that to its future SEC friends on the CFP stage. But Rattler should keep engaged and concerned, whether or not it is in sure packages for every sport or in a backup position, for this to work out.
That is the win-win Riley should hope for. Maybe that plan leads the Sooners to an elusive nationwide championship.
“For me, I feel like I have two really good players,” Riley stated. “I don’t see it as a problem or an issue. You gotta choose between two great options, and that’s a good position to be in. I know both of those kids will respond no matter what position they are in.”