Oklahoma is 3-0 and enters Big 12 play as the favorite to win the conference, and the first three games have gone about as well as Lincoln Riley could have possibly hoped. Baker Mayfield has continued to be phenomenal, the defense looks much improved from a year ago and OU is getting some key contributions from new players.
Riley has said several times that he wants his team looking forward, not dwelling on the past. While that may generally be a good mantra, sometimes there are certain things that simply need to be addressed. Mayfield took the opportunity to address one of those issues when he was asked about OU’s lackluster 2014 season.
Today in sentences I didn't expect to hear:— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 18, 2017
Baker Mayfield, explaining OU's 2014 season: "I blame Katy Perry"
The Sooners were 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in the country before Katy Perry told then-quarterback Trevor Knight to give her a call during the College GameDay broadcast. OU sputtered to a 4-5 finish that season, so Mayfield’s logic seems pretty sound if you ask me. I’d say it’s a combination of Katy Perry, injuries and Josh Heupel’s play-calling abilities (or lack thereof).
He went on to make it extremely clear where he stands on the ongoing Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift feud.
In addition to this very important topic, Steven Parker, Mark Andrews and Lincoln Riley took the podium to field questions about less pressing matters such as football and the Sooners’ upcoming game against Baylor. Here are the highlights from Riley’s session with the media.
Riley on Baylor HC Matt Rhule
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Matt Rhule. We were on the east coast together for awhile. The transformation job he did at Temple was really incredible. He’s a really really great football coach. He’s had a lot of great experience in his career.”
“(Rhule and his staff) are going to do a really good job at Baylor. They’ve gotten off to a bit of a tough start. They’ve had several close games, but when you turn the film on, you see the potential and you see the growth from game one to game three. They’ve had a lot of guys out, they’re starting to get some good players back.”
Riley on the targeting call against CeeDee Lamb
Riley said he’d spoken with NFL official Walt Anderson about the hit. Anderson told him that he saw the play the same as the official on the field, despite the fact that the replay did not show any head-to-head contact.
“(Anderson) said they agreed with the call on the field, that he hit him in the head. When I watched it, I honestly had a hard time seeing that. I’ve watched it a bunch of times over and over. I understand that those things are close, and I understand that they’re going to error on the side of safety, and I don’t disagree with that at all. But we’re gonna have some more discussions to make sure that we are coaching our players the right way and that we totally understand how it’s going to be called, so hopefully we can avoid that kind of situation.”
Riley on injury updates
Riley said there are no new injuries from the Tulane game. He said there are still a few looming injuries from early in the season. Riley claimed that Robert Barnes, Will Johnson and Cody Ford all remained questionable to play this week against Baylor.
Riley also announced that sophomore defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin will be available to play against Baylor following a one-game suspension for an “academic situation.”
Riley on how Orlando Brown has matured as a leader
“He’s matured a lot. In the beginning he was almost like a wild stallion. He’s always had the aggressiveness, but I think his confidence has really grown. As he started to play well kind of later in his freshman year, he started to become more of a leader. He’s grown a ton. He’s changed his body, he’s changed his outlook. He’s done a good job this year, I know last year he had a bunch of personal fouls. You love the aggressiveness, but he’s even grown a lot in that regard. He just continues to do the things that we challenge him to do, and because of that he’s an impactful guy. He’s a great player, but he also brings such and edge and such a mentality to this team. We get some of it from Baker, we get some of it from our other guys, but you’ve got to have your guys in the trenches that have that mentality. He brings it as well as any offensive lineman I’ve ever been around.”
Riley on what’s changed for Parnell Motley this season
Motley’s pick-six against Tulane was his second interception in the last two games, and his hot start to the season has been a bright spot for a secondary that has been decimated by injuries to several key players so far this season. Riley noted one major difference in Motley’s play from last season to this one.
“Confidence. He’s confident. He’s physically better, mentally he’s more comfortable with what we’re doing. He’s not thinking, he’s just kind of letting his natural abilities and his instincts take over. As a defensive back, there’s probably nothing more important than that.”
Baylor coach Matt Rhule confirms running back Terence Williams will play against Oklahoma after being out so far... https://t.co/jg8uhElADP— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 18, 2017
Click on the names to view the full press conference sessions!
It's after Labor Day & Steven Parker is wearing white glasses.— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) September 18, 2017
"Hi haters," - Steven, probably. pic.twitter.com/TSmCujdTBq
Shots fired from Mark Andrews— Spenser Davis (@Davis_Spenser) September 18, 2017
"(Orlando Brown) doesn't have any fashion sense."
We want to a national title. The first step is to win the Big 12 and that starts Saturday.— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) September 18, 2017
Baker Mayfield now at the podium. pic.twitter.com/plJ55zSO57