Before today’s press availability, Lincoln Riley revealed that Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield had not practiced leading up to last Saturday’s game at Kansas State.
On Big 12 teleconference, OU's Lincoln Riley said Baker Mayfield (shoulder) didn't practice last week, one reason for Kyler Murray package.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) October 23, 2017
Naturally, he was asked plenty of questions about his shoulder and playing through the pain after putting on a gutsy performance against the Wildcats. When asked if injuries ever cross his mind during an individual play or if he simply plays his game, his answer was simple.
“Just play. I’m out there to win games. That’s my job is to put my team in the best position to win. Maybe if I wasn’t able to throw, I wouldn’t put myself out there if I wasn’t putting my team in the best situation to win. But like I said, when it comes down to it, it’s just a little injury here and there. It’s football. I’ve said it a million times — it’s a violent game. You’re going to have bumps and bruises. You’ve just got to suck it up and fight through.”
When asked about the performance of running back Rodney Anderson, who scored the game-winning touchdown to cap a 147-yard day, he replied, “I think that’s the first step for Rodney. I said it postgame that he hadn’t played the past two years. So he’s only going to get better, which is a pretty scary thought for other teams — the fact that he’s just now getting going. He’s just one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around, and he deserves everything recognition-wise that he’s got from Saturday. But for him moving forward, it’s only going to be better and better. Like I said, he works hard, and we’ve been an offense so far this season that we give the running backs touches when they’re hot and keep going, and right now Rodney’s got a hot hand. So I’m looking forward to seeing what he built on”.
On producing in the clutch:
“I think it shows our confidence — being focused enough in those big moments in crunch time that we can just go out and do our job. When it comes down to those moments, we have to carry that same mindset every time. It’s just about relaxing and going and doing your job”.
On being able to come out and perform well after halftime in Manhattan:
“I think we believed in our plan and believed in the coaches. I think part of it’s Coach Riley’s speech at halftime. Part of it’s the guys looking each other in the face and saying that we’re going to leave no doubt, that we’re going to come back in here with a victory and that’s the only option. So I think it’s just a mentality check at halftime that we had. It was realizing that we were moving the ball well but we just hadn’t capitalized. Then on defense they had momentum with two takeaways late in the first half. So we were gonna come out there and play lights-out to do whatever we needed to get the win.”
Justifiably, Lincoln Riley was quite complimentary of his QB on Monday:
“He probably doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves. People just kind of come to expect it each and every week. It’s such a hard position to play and he didn’t practice all week, and to be able to go out and play the way he did against another really, really good Kansas State defense that gives everybody problems — I don’t know what else you can say about it. It’s pretty remarkable, honestly.”
“People should take notice of that and not take it for granted. It’s hard to play it at the level he’s playing it, and he’s doing it with a new cast of skill guys. Show me somebody in the country who’s playing better.”
In addition to his praise of Baker Mayfield’s toughness, Riley didn’t forget to mention receiver Mykel Jones:
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are showing that kind of toughness. Mykel Jones was getting banged up in the game several times. His shoulder came out of place three or four times during the game and wen’t straight back in. We’ve got a lot of guys playing through a lot of stuff right now that’s not out. But there are a lot of guys persevering and fighting through some things, and you see that fight in our team all the way around. That’s how you’re able to come back and win in a place like that when you don’t start off well.”
Some may overlook the fact that Riley was a young assistant at Texas Tech when the Red Raiders came to Norman for the big showdown in 2008, which Oklahoma won by a score of 65-21. It wasn’t a environment that I’ll ever forget, and Riley is in the same boat.
“That was still to this day probably the best atmosphere I’ve ever played or coached or been a part of. That’s one of my lasting memories of it. Those who think a crowd or a great atmosphere can’t have an effect on the game, they weren’t at that game that night. I mean it was just... it was unbelievable.”
Riley’s injury update:
- According to Riley, CeeDee Lamb’s health continues to improve.
- He then mentioned that the team came out of the game fairly healthy, adding that OU was, “probably as healthy as we’ve come out of a game in a while”.
- OU “should” get Kahlil Haughton back this week.
- Abdul Adams was available and probably could have played on Saturday if he was needed, according to Riley.
- Matt Romar is still “questionable”.
Baker Mayfield, Lincoln Riley and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo had plenty of good things to say on Monday, but Orlando Brown may have stolen the show with his fashion accessory.
What is that, you ask? Well, I thought it was a big rabbit’s foot, but apparently I was wrong.
Full Presser Links:
Capital J Journalism happened at Baker Mayfield’s presser today pic.twitter.com/tYWpaFplad— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) October 23, 2017
Orlando Brown says encouragement happens between the offense and defense the entire game. "We're a team." pic.twitter.com/rjQtYxdJ63— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) October 23, 2017