The Oklahoma Sooners passed their biggest test of the season with flying colors last Saturday in a 34-27 win over Texas. Now it’s back to business as usual with the West Virginia Mountaineers coming to Norman.
Before Lincoln Riley took the podium, Jalen Hurts addressed questions from the local media. Upon walking into the presser room, it was apparent that the QB’s throwing hand was significantly wrapped up.
Jalen Hurts comes to the podium with a fairly bandaged up throwing hand. Said it swelled up on him early in the Texas game. pic.twitter.com/MbZVLb5Yyk— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) October 14, 2019
Hurts spoke about his hand, what happened, and how it was affected during the Texas game.
“Earlier in the game I kind of jammed it up and my whole hand kind of swelled up so I wasn’t really able to grip the ball like I wanted to. I wasn’t able to control the ball like I wanted to.”
It’s unclear when Hurts’ hand was afflicted, but knowing that it was serious enough to warrant a wrap days later says a lot about his toughness and will to win.
During Monday’s press conference, Lincoln Riley addressed questions about Oklahoma’s win over Texas, the West Virginia matchup, and provided an update on the status of a few players.
Riley on Trey Sermon’s low usage against Texas
On Saturday, eight different Sooners either rushed the ball or received a pass, and none of them were named Trey Sermon. The junior RB has looked like a new and improved player in Oklahoma’s backfield, but his number surprisingly went uncalled during the Texas game. Riley was asked about Sermon’s status and the factors that led to this result.
“Some of it’s the way the game went. He played, I think, the second-most snaps of any running back that we have. Just kind of how it went, you know? Jalen’s eating up some of the carries from those backs this year. […] It happens when you’ve got other good players. He’ll have his big moments for us. Trey’s fine.”
Riley on the lack of takeaways
One of the aspects of Alex Grinch’s ‘Speed D’ is forcing a high number of turnovers, but Oklahoma hasn’t been able to steal a possession in the last two games. While the defense as a whole is largely improved, the next step forward for the group is to make good on all of that aggression and pressure. Riley talked about what the possible issue could be in regards to creating turnovers.
“It’s a couple games now we haven’t had one. We created a lot of havoc the other day, and a lot of times when you do that, you’re going to force a quarterback into bad decisions. We didn’t force (Sam) Ehlinger into too many bad decisions, but we did force him to hang onto the ball and ended up sacking him a lot. […] I’m confident if we continue to create havoc like we did that we will (force more turnovers), but at the end of the day you either do or you don’t.”
Riley on injury updates
A week ago, it seemed unlikely that starting offensive tackles Erik Swenson and Adrian Ealy would even suit up, but both ended up starting and playing fairly well all things considered. Also, junior TE Grant Calcaterra was an unexpected late scratch from last Saturday’s game. Riley was asked about each of their statuses going forward.
“Grant won’t play this week, got an injury. Won’t play this week, we’ll evaluate him after. Ealy and Swenson were doing pretty well after the game. They’re still not a hundred percent. We’re going to do our best to get them as close as we can and anticipate being able to work them a little bit more this week.”
Riley on preparing for Austin Kendall
Former Oklahoma QB Austin Kendall transferred to West Virginia in the spring before winning the starting job for the Mountaineers. On Saturday, Kendall was injured early and did not return to the game, and now he’s listed as questionable for this weekend’s game at Oklahoma. Riley talked about possibly facing his former pupil.
“I’ve got to see bits and pieces of him (at WVU), have a chance to study him a little bit more this week. He’s had some games where he played really, really well. […] I certainly hope he’s healthy. Always wish him the best.”
Full press conference links
DT Neville Gallimore had one of his best games as a Sooner this past Saturday with two momentous sacks, but as a senior, he understands that his team’s performance against Texas is a testament to how strong they can be on a weekly basis.
Junior WR CeeDee Lamb was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for his 171 yards and three touchdowns on 10 receptions. The future NFL pass-catcher credits Lincoln Riley for helping him receive the ball in a number of creative ways.
CeeDee Lamb said that Lincoln Riley did a great job of “keeping me active” and putting him in different spots on Saturday.— Sam Brown (@SamBrownOU) October 14, 2019
“He’s playing chess, not checkers.” #Sooners
At the end of the presser, SoonerScoop’s Eddie Radosevich asked Hurts if felt snubbed for not being nominated as Homecoming King.
“No, I’ve never been Homecoming King, not even in high school. Never.”
Let the campaign begin.
Lincoln Riley is now 3-1 against Texas as a head coach, and with the first half of the 2019 season officially in the books, he understands the challenges that await his championship caliber team in the coming months.
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