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Oklahoma Sooners Football Press Conference Notes: Lincoln Riley on injuries, the defense, and players returning to campus

Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma will face off against Garrett Riley and Kansas this week.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In a mega matchup between the nation’s best offense against one of the nation’s top defenses, the Oklahoma Sooners looked like a complete team and a solid contender for the College Football Playoff after trouncing the TCU Horned Frogs. Earlier in the week, Baker Mayfield asked the crowd to be loud and the fans responded emphatically. Now the challenge is to keep their momentum going for the final true road game of the season as OU travels to Lawrence, Kansas to take on the 1-9 Jayhawks.

This week it’s also Riley Bowl, pitting Lincoln Riley against his brother Garrett, the QB coach for KU.

With this being Kansas week, there was naturally a lot of talk about games outside of this one. Riley was his usual focused self, answering questions about coaching against his brother, the TCU game, and dealing with some of the media noise. Here are some of the highlights from Coach Riley’s press conference on Monday:

Riley on the injury situation

Coach Riley announced that safety Kahlil Haughton will likely remain sidelined with an injury, but he expects everybody else who was available during the TCU game to be available moving forward. Cornerback Jordan Thomas, who is still questionable this week, was absent from the sideline and Riley said that was due to medical purposes. Defensive tackle Matt Romar has missed the last few games and Riley is not counting on his return, but he also has not ruled out the possibility of a return.

Riley on the strong play from the defensive front

Last Saturday, the Sooner defense looked as strong as they have since the Ohio State game, especially up front. Going forward, Oklahoma will need the strong play to continue as the games get bigger and the challenges become greater. Here’s what Riley had to say about the defensive front:

“They’re playing good, they are. Especially in the second half of the season we’ve done a much better job of consistently getting pressure on the quarterback, I think that’s been a big part of it. I think guys like Que Overton, Lampkin, Dillon, those guys have really improved, they’ve just gotten better. Amani Bledsoe, getting him back and getting him going. It was good having Neville Gallimore back the other night. We’ve been able to build a nice little rotation, those guys have gotten some experience and they’re playing pretty well for us.”

Riley on former student-athletes returning to OU

Last week, former Oklahoma basketball star and current Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin returned to campus to announce the partnership between OU athletics and the Jordan brand. Also, it has been the norm for past players to return to OU to support the teams, and Coach Riley spoke about how important that is for both the current players and recruiting.

“It’s a neat culture, it’s unique. It’s certainly different than any one I’ve ever been in.”

“Being able to show these recruits and their families this is the culture here, these people do come back, they don’t have to come back. A lot of them don’t live here, but they want to be here because this place meant that much to them.”

Riley on Du’Vonta Lampkin’s progression

Coach Riley was pretty straightforward about the progress of Du’Vonta Lampkin. It is clear to see how talented and special Lampkin is, but consistency and maturity are the keys to unlocking that fully. He played perhaps his best games against TCU, and that’s definitely something to build on.

“He’s progressed a lot. He and Ruffin have really hit it off, it’s been a positive relationship. His deal has totally fit along with him growing and maturing just as a person. As he’s grown and matured, as he’s eliminated some of the distractions off the field, his play has kind of mirrored that. If he can continue to grow up and continue to mature then his ceiling is so high. There’s flashes of dominance with him. It’s going to be fun to see him progress.”

Full Press Conference Links:

Steven Parker

Parker was asked about his experience of playing teams twice in the same season in high school and how that relates to OU having to play a team for a second time in the conference championship game.

“I was always more fired up the second time than I was the first time, so I believe it’s going to be the same exact way.”

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield was asked about his vast knowledge of high school football teams in the state of Texas and was also compared to Switzer in that light.

“There’s a lot of them I know, and a lot of them took an ‘L’ to Lake Travis. That’s what I do know.”

Lincoln Riley

Coach Riley has been firm on this from day one, and after the season Austin Seibert is having, it’s a little hard to argue. Seibert doesn’t get as many attempts as other kickers, but he has definitely made the most out of his opportunities lately, on top of being an outstanding kickoff man and an exceptional punter. On Saturday, Seibert set a new career long with a 49-yard field goal that looked good from 55+.

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