The No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners are one of 10 unbeatens remaining in the FBS after dominating West Virginia on Homecoming. Now OU’s sights are set on Chris Klieman and the Kansas State Wildcats as Lincoln Riley prepares his team for its second trip to the Sunflower State this month.
Speaking of Riley, the third-year head coach was feeling good on Monday during his weekly press conference. When asked about how things change with recruits when they arrive on campus and are coached up in practice, he offered this funny comparison:
“It’s like dating your girlfriend, right? All of a sudden you move in, it’s a little bit different deal. It’s kind of the same thing. Yeah, you get to know them, then all of a sudden they’re here every single day, and you’re coaching [the players] and demanding all these things. It’s a little bit different, too.”
After letting the media members soak in what he just said, he asked, “You liked that comparison, didn’t you?” *throws on shades, drops mic*
I think it’s safe to say Riley has settled in quite nicely as the face of this program, and he’s finding ways to enjoy the success this 2019 group is having with every test they pass.
It was a big day for college football analogies across the state today, as Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy compared players messing up on the field to a kid getting caught smoking behind the school (in that it’s sometimes neither an indictment of the kid’s parents/coaches nor of the kids themselves).
"We live in a society today where people want to b*tch and complain about everything instead of putting their pants on and go fix it. We're going to fix it."#OKState's Mike Gundy on his team's two-game skid and his message to those who might be frustrated with the program. pic.twitter.com/LqTC7NnRfC— Luke Slabaugh (@LukeSlabaugh) October 21, 2019
Below, you can find out what else was discussed during Oklahoma’s Monday press conference. Lincoln Riley, Kenneth Murray, Jeremiah Hall and Jalen Hurts addressed questions about Kansas State, the unique bond within this team and more.
Riley on LB Jon-Michael Terry’s status
Lincoln Riley opened up Monday’s presser by ruling out redshirt junior LB Jon-Michael Terry for the remainder of the season after sustaining a lower leg injury. The Tulsa native started the first six games of the year before missing the West Virginia contest, but fortunately the Sooners have developed quality depth among their front seven.
“Jon-Michael Terry suffered a lower leg injury last week in practice. He’ll have to have surgery, he’ll miss the rest of the season. Tough loss for us, he was playing extremely well. He had been really one of the key breakthrough players for us this year moving to the RUSH LB spot. […] Just a non-contact injury that makes your stomach turn when you see it.”
Riley on preparing for Kansas State
Kansas State is in the first year of a new era as a football program now that Bill Snyder has retired for the second and final time. Today, the Wildcats are led by Chris Klieman, who made a name for himself at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. Riley talked about what makes this K-State dangerous bunch a formidable opponent for his Sooners.
“They’re definitely a threat. You first look at what they’ve done defensively through the year. They’ve played extremely well defensively. They’ve got a very talented front, a couple really good defensive ends, a couple linebackers that we played against, and a couple secondary guys that feel like they’ve been there forever. […] Offensively, the quarterback’s back. (Skylar Thompson) really makes them go. He’s certainly a dual-threat guy, we’ve seen him before. So yeah, they’re absolutely a threat.”
Riley on opponents shortening games against OU
In 2018, Army provided a blueprint for how to limit Oklahoma’s high-powered offense. Unfortunately for other teams, they’re not as adept at running the triple option as the Black Knights are, so dominating time of possession like that isn’t easy. Still, it hasn’t stopped them from trying. Riley was asked about if he feels like limiting the Sooners’ possessions is part of the game plan for other teams since that Army game.
“It’s been fairly common I’d say over the last few years. It’s hard to say if after Army it’s more or not. Army’s a little bit in its own world. It’s something we’ve gotten used to seeing here in the last couple years.”
Riley on where the offensive line is
Coming into the season, Oklahoma was breaking in four new starters along the offensive line. Since then, that unit has shuffled around with some untimely injuries, but the past two weeks have provided a bit of continuity. Riley talked about where he sees the O-line now as the Sooners gear up for Week 9 of the college football season.
“We still got a ways to go, but we took some big steps (last week), and just simply having the same lineup and being able to work the guys at those spots and having just a little bit of continuity for a couple weeks in a row made a huge difference. So we’re excited to get another week under our belt and keep taking the steps like we did last week.”
Full press conference links
Through the first seven games, junior LB Kenneth Murray leads the team in total tackles (51), tackles-for-loss (7.5), and is second in sacks (2.5). If there’s one thing this Butkus Award candidate understands, it’s how to play sound and physical defense.
Redshirt sophomore FB Jeremiah Hall hauled in his third receiving touchdown of the season against West Virginia, and on Monday he echoed Lincoln Riley’s sentiments from Big 12 Media Days when he says there’s no limit to how prolific Oklahoma’s offense can be going forward.
Senior QB Jalen Hurts was business as usual for his weekly presser period on Monday. This week, he’s taking notice of how the team is responding to playing as one. In order to play for a national championship, the Sooners will have to continue this trend and follow their captain’s lead.
There’s only one ball, and with Oklahoma running just 50-to-60 plays in some games, the opportunities for everyone to shine on the field are limited. WR CeeDee Lamb went through a stretch where he didn’t receive a ton of passes, and RB Trey Sermon is currently going through a bit of a quiet period as far as him amassing carries. Lincoln Riley talked about that and what the bigger picture should be for anybody who isn’t blowing up the stat sheet.
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