Lincoln Riley appeared to be in a particularly good mood during his Monday press conference as he previewed the upcoming rivalry game between the Sooners and the Cowboys.
On Monday, OU’s Lincoln Riley, Creed Humphrey, Neville Gallimore and Jalen Hurts addressed the media’s questions on surviving TCU’s upset bid over the weekend and preparing for the regular season finale against OSU.
Riley on the defense’s gradual improvement
Over the last six quarters, Oklahoma’s defense has held opposing offenses to 24 total points and 303 yards from scrimmage. It’s quite an impressive run, especially compared to how the unit has looked down the stretch in years past. Lincoln Riley discussed the steady growth he’s observed from the revitalized group.
“Guys have flown around, made a lot of big plays. I think our front has been very active which has certainly been a big key. We played very well in the secondary the other night, too. This is when you should be at your best. We’ve worked hard and the guys continue to have great attitudes and a great approach each week. I think that’s why we’re getting better.”
Riley on Chuba Hubbard
Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard is in the discussion for being a Heisman Trophy finalist with the sensational season he’s had in 2019. Through 11 games, the Cowboys’ star playmaker has amassed an FBS-leading 1,832 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on 285 carries. Riley talked about the special talent that his defense will try to contain this Saturday in Stillwater.
“(Hubbard’s) fantastic. He’s had an elite year. They’ve done a great job using him, the line’s done a great job blocking for him, and he’s got a great combination. He’s got breakaway speed, he’s got power, he’s caught the ball well all year, made several plays in the passing game, had a bunch of big ones last week against West Virginia in the throw game. And he’s had a lot of attention on him each and every week and has still continued to produce. He seems like a great kid and he’s playing his tail off. He’s certainly one of the best backs we’ve had in the league in a while.”
Riley on Jalen Hurts’ rushing volume
By the end of the season, Jalen Hurts may set a rushing mark no future Lincoln Riley-coached QB will ever surpass when it comes to sheer volume of attempts and yards. Through 11 games, Hurts has totaled 180 carries for 1,156 yards and 17 TDs. So far it’s been the strength of Oklahoma’s offense, but it hasn’t come without it’s flaws. Riley was asked how he feels about this development.
“I always felt like (Hurts) would run it more for us this year and probably a little more than what we have done with the other guys. That wasn’t a surprise. And some of it’s a little skewed early because our backfield was pretty deep and we just had so many games where we played such a few amount of plays. Really, the high volume carry games have been the last couple of weeks, and so I always felt like it was going to be a good weapon for us and be pretty tough to stop.”
Riley on assessing Hurts’ play as of late
Jalen Hurts has continued to fill up the box score throughout the month of November, but unfortunately that also means he’s piling on the turnover statistics, too. In just the last three games (Iowa State, Baylor and TCU), he’s either thrown an interception or lost a fumble a total of six times. Riley was asked about this concerning trend with his starting QB.
“Every part of this is new for him. Every single part. Every opponent is new, the offense is new, living in a new place, new program, new coaches, new teammates. Doing it with a basically completely new offensive line. It’s all new. I think he’s done a great job, I really do. He’s been very productive, he’s been durable, he’s ran the ball extremely well, he’s having a passing season right now that’s one of the tops in the history of this game. For he and I, as we go through it, there’s always things that I can do better coaching him with and he can do better, playing-wise, and that’s always the case. It was that way with the other guys, too. I’m excited how far he’s come, and I think he’s primed to play his very best here at the very end, I really do.”
Full press conference links
Redshirt sophomore C Creed Humphrey has been a key component in Oklahoma’s powerful running game throughout 2019. For him and his offensive line teammates, establishing a strong ground attack is just another part of the job description. His answer to this question isn’t quite as great as Ben Powers’ quote on crushing a man’s dreams, but the spirit of it is similar.
When asked about playing the run game Creed smiled and said “Any offensive lineman enjoys the physicality of it and just imposing your will on people.”— ChristineButterfield (@CBonsports) November 25, 2019
Redshirt senior DT Neville Gallimore is originally from Ontario, and this week he’ll have to defend fellow Canadian Chuba Hubbard out of Alberta. Oklahoma’s defensive Don Key Award winner doesn’t have a pre-existing relationship with Oklahoma State’s star RB, but he admits that there is a common a bond between them.
Neville Gallimore hasn't ever met OSU's Chuba Hubbard, but he's always rooting for fellow Canadians to succeed in the sport of football. pic.twitter.com/3e1usBFMip— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) November 25, 2019
Senior QB Jalen Hurts talked about how the adjusted game plan against the Horned Frogs was slanted towards leaning more heavily on the running game. That turned out to be true looking at the box score, as well, as Oklahoma ran the ball 64 times compared to 21 passing attempts.
BREAKING: When asked about Eskimo Joe’s Jalen Hurts revealed that he doesn’t like cheese fries.
Hurts’ full answer regarding cheese fries and how we got here. pic.twitter.com/gzpd4JZnL8— Joe Buettner (@ByJoeBuettner) November 25, 2019
The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel had a little fun asking Lincoln Riley about Jalen Hurts’ fumbling issues possibly being attributed to playing in a more physical conference than the SEC.
Q, "Can you attribute Jalen Hurts' fumbles to playing in a more physical conference?"— Kegan Reneau (@KeganReneau) November 25, 2019
Lincoln Riley, "I like where you are going with this."
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