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Oklahoma Sooners Football Press Conference Notes: Baker Mayfield steals the show

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley also gave some injury updates.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield stole the show at Monday’s press conference when discussing a number of different topics. He grabbed our attention by throwing some light shade at one of his favorite weapons:

Baker is never a boring person to listen to, and he had plenty of things to say to those who dislike the way he conducts himself.

“If it was a different fan base, I would definitely say they wouldn’t like me and I don’t blame them. But at the same time, if I’m in the program I earn that respect from the people around it. That’s what matters to me. It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside.”

When asked about the purists who aren’t a fan of his behavior, he replied, “If they’re being soft, they can come on the field. This game’s not soft. It’s not meant for soft people. It’s a violent game, and it’s meant to be played with an edge.”

When asked about bulletin-board material:

“I don’t think that that could motivate their team better than I could. That’s not something I worry about. I watch what I say. I’m not trying to put poster-board material on there because I know how teams can react with that. At the same time, it’s my job in the position I’m in to motivate my team to be more ready than them.”

I just love the fact that Baker doesn’t placate to his detractors. He could easily downplay everything he’s said or done in the past, but instead he doubles down and speaks his mind.

Like Mayfield, Lincoln Riley did take some time to compliment Iowa State. He was complementary of Iowa State’s secondary. It’s worth noting that the Cyclones have picked off opposing quarterbacks five times through their first four games. Mayfield has yet to throw an interception this season, so that will be a matchup worth keeping an eye on. Riley also praised ISU receiver Allen Lazard, who has been the Cyclones best offensive weapon so far with 24 catches for 241 yards and three touchdowns. Here are the highlights from the rest of Riley’s Monday remarks.

Riley on injuries

The biggest announcement of the day is that linebacker Curtis Bolton will have surgery on his ankle and miss the rest of the season. Bolton had five tackles through the first four games and had worked his way into the linebacker rotation prior to his injury. The loss is a serious hit to OU’s depth at the position, especially when considering his versatility.

Riley said he expected Will Johnson, Robert Barnes and Cody Ford to all be available this weekend. Matt Romar will be a gametime decision. Defensive end Amani Bledsoe will also be available to play against Iowa State following his year-long suspension for violating the NCAA’s substance abuse policy. When asked how much Bledsoe would play on Saturday, Riley said, “He’s going to be in the rotation, no question about that. After that, it will be based on production.”

Riley on how the secondary responded in practice to a poor performance against Baylor

The bye week could not have come at a more opportune time for OU’s secondary after being torched for 463 yards and four touchdowns through the air against Baylor. Several major lapses in coverage resulted in a pair of 70+ yard touchdown Baylor touchdown catches. Riley said when asked how his secondary responded in practice last week, “They responded good, they see it. A lot of those guys have played a lot of ball, they understand it. They were up to the challenge, and it was really very competitive within our whole team, especially between our wide-outs and defensive backs. They were very competitive during the bye week, and I think we took some big steps.”

Riley on the running back rotation

When asked if Abdul Adams and Trey Sermon would continue to get the majority of reps Riley responded, “It’s kind of week-to-week there. I think (Adams and Sermon) have performed the best in games so far, there’s no doubt about it. So they’ll get first crack at it. We still continue to see bright spots from Marcelias Sutton and Rodney Anderson, so that’s definitely not set in stone.” Riley pointed to Adams’ and Sermon’s versatility as a key reason why they’re taking the majority of snaps.

Riley on how true freshman middle linebacker Kenneth Murray has stepped up this season

The decision to name Murray the starter came as a surprise to some prior to the season, but Murray’s play through the first four games has certainly justified the coaching staff’s faith in him. The true freshman has tallied 24 tackles through the first four games including a team-high eight in OU’s win over Baylor. Riley says that Murray has only scratched the surface of what he will become as his career progresses. “He’s one of those guys, he puts everything he’s got into it. As long as he keeps that mentality, he’s going to continue taking steps forward like he did in the bye week.”

Full press conference links

Dimitri Flowers

Baker Mayfield

Lincoln Riley