Happy Friday, friends and fans! We’ve finally reached CFP Eve!
Nick Saban is the master at keeping the media hype and praise of his team, or ‘rat poison’, outside of his program. Unfortunately for him, there’s only so much that can be done to prepare his players on what to say and what not to say when addressing the Oklahoma Sooners. Perhaps Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams got that message a little too late.
Alabama DL Quinnen Williams looked like he was going to say something about Kyler Murray ... and then he thought better pic.twitter.com/ZXwn0CT5wl— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 28, 2018
Williams caught himself before he could finish his statement, but what he was about to say could be inferred. If he hadn’t cut himself off, his answer probably would have sounded something like “Kyler Murray is not what everybody hypes him up to be”. Something to that effect.
Okay, it’s one thing if he feels like his team’s quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, deserved to win the Heisman Trophy over Murray, but it’s another thing if that’s truly how he feels about K1’s ability. Williams is an outstanding football player in his own right and will likely be one of the the first off the board when he moves onto the next level, but the guy he’s referring to has been nothing short of sensational this season. Both the tape and the stats back it up, and he’s performed his best on some of the brightest stages and in the biggest moments.
We’ll see on Saturday night how Murray fares against the best defense he’ll have faced this year, but whether he admits it or not, something tells me Williams will eventually be singing a different tune, regardless of the outcome.
Now for this week’s Friday edition of Hot Links! Murray doesn’t plan on working out for NFL teams, Baker Mayfield is playing like an MVP, Tom Herman would totally lose in a fight with Mike Gundy and more!
- Sooner legend and six time Pro-Bowler Gerald McCoy has a question for this year’s Oklahoma team on the eve of the Orange Bowl — “Where my dogs at?”. My favorite part of this is how the Oklahoma City native acknowledges the fact that this state doesn’t truly fit into a particular region — or align itself with Texas — and instead has an identity unto itself.
- This is probably going to be an iconic picture down the road. Nick Saban, arguably the greatest of all time, and Lincoln Riley, the next big thing.
- Lincoln Riley has proven he’s more than just a great play caller since he was named the Sooners’ head coach. His ability to oversee the entire program and elevate the performance of everyone who’s part of it is why he can continue to have success at Oklahoma for however long he wants.
- The defensive staff at Oklahoma has enough on its plate just preparing for Alabama’s offensive assault, but once the season ends, those assistants’ futures will be up in the air.
- Brendan Radley-Hiles came to Oklahoma with a ton of expectations as a five-star recruit, but his 2018 season was a mixed bag of highs and lows. Nevertheless, Bookie has embraced the adversity, and is hungry for a big bounce-back.
- It would be tough for Kyler to do both when considering that his position is quarterback, but I suppose it’s not out of the question.
Lincoln Riley on Murray's decision: "He's either going to be a Major League All-Star or a Pro Bowler. Maybe both."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 28, 2018
- Currently, Murray does not plan on working out for NFL teams following Oklahoma’s run in the CFP. The talk of the Heisman winner playing both sports continues to stay hot, but if you ask him, right now he’s only concerned with winning the Orange Bowl semifinal.
- Creed Humphrey is country strong to the fullest degree, and according to Lincoln Riley, he’s been as important to the offense as any other single player, including Kyler Murray.
- With Tre Norwood remaining at safety, Ronnie Perkins growing more comfortable on defense, and Caleb Kelly boosting the linebacking corps, Oklahoma’s defense expects to see improvements in the near future.
- CeeDee Lamb is a great interview. With the SEC Network’s Dari Nowkhah, Marcus Spears and Tim Tebow, Lamb talked about who the fastest player on the team is, and his assessment of the Alabama defensive backs.
- Speaking of Lamb, his knack for making spectacular individual plays, whether it’s one-handed grabs or relentless downfield blocking, could be the key to Oklahoma’s chances of advancing in the College Football Playoff.
- Austin Seibert is close to wrapping up a prolific career as Oklahoma’s placekicker and punter, and while the accolades and records he’s received have been gratifying, his one and only goal that has guided him to this point was getting his education paid for and making it out of his hometown.
- Oklahoma Basketball has moved up to a No. 3 seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology report. This is obviously to be taken with a grain of salt (it’s not even January), but playing an NCAA Tournament game or two in Tulsa would be quite nice.
- Baker Mayfield has been having an MVP-caliber stretch over his last six games. Another top-flight performance on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens would give the Cleveland Browns’ QB a ton of momentum heading into the offseason.
- The locals in Hollywood, Florida are raving about Marquise Brown, or as they like to call him, “Jet Fuel”. When he was a youngster in Pop Warner football, his speed was apparent, but his size and his hands held him back. Now he’s reached his potential at Oklahoma, and the sizable cheering section at the Orange Bowl will hope to see him light it up once again.
- Speaking of Brown, he gave ESPN’s Laura Rutledge a look at his gold grill and “Holly5wood” chain. Tom Herman, I saw your grill back at Houston. Take notes.
Around the Sports World
- Speaking of Tom Herman — what the hell, man? I’m not even saying this because he’s the head coach of Texas, but he might be the strangest coach in the country, and not in a good way like Mike Leach. Also, I think he took a virtual blow to the kidney somewhere in that frenzy.
- Charlie Brewer was amazing against Vanderbilt in the Texas Bowl, leading Baylor to a nice 45-38 victory. The Big 12 is now 2-0 in bowl games this season.
- Jim Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker has announced he is skipping Georgia’s Sugar Bowl matchup against Texas to prepare for the 2019 NFL Draft. With Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey on the other side, this makes things interesting
- Damian Lillard put the team on his back and took down the Golden State Warriors in overtime with this game-winning three-point basket.
- In other clutch NBA news, Bogdan Bogdanovic stuck the Los Angeles Lakers through the heart with this dagger of a three-pointer for the buzzer beating win.
Down 2, Bogdan Bogdanovic for the win!!!— The Sports Quotient (@SportsQuotient) December 28, 2018
Name so nice, you gotta say it twice pic.twitter.com/qudwoapVeW
Stick to Sports!
- An explosion at a power plant in Queens, New York turned the night sky an eerie bright blue, causing many to question the cause for such a phenomenon. The scene looks to be straight out of a science fiction movie. Fortunately, nobody was hurt during the explosion.
No, it wasn't an alien invasion. A power plant explosion last night turned the NYC night sky an eerie blue and shut down one of the world's busiest airports. @GioBenitez has the story. https://t.co/C85wotrArF pic.twitter.com/aC7wCiZ0Gj— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 28, 2018
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