The No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners opened Big 12 play on Saturday with a 55-16 clinic over Texas Tech. Now OU is preparing for this season’s first conference road game against Kansas. On Monday, Lincoln Riley, junior LB Kenneth Murray, redshirt sophomore FB Jeremiah Hall and senior QB Jalen Hurts caught up with the media to answer questions in the weekly presser.
Speaking of Hurts, the Heisman Trophy candidate began his time at the podium by sharing some unexpected news on his health status. It’s nothing major, but it turns out he’s feeling a bit under the weather.
#Sooners QB Jalen Hurts, with a sly smile, answering a question about sustaining their record offense:— Sam Brown (@SamBrownOU) September 30, 2019
"I’m a little under the weather right now, and that rat poison just made it worse. I’m trying to get better here."
By my assessment, it seems as though he’s slowly coming out of his shell in front of the media as the season rolls along. This isn’t a knock on him by any means, but he’ll probably never reach Baker Mayfield levels in that regard. Really, he may not even reach Kyler Murray’s, but in his own unique way, he’s beginning to show a bit more of his playful side.
By the way, you should totally buy this shirt!
Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts is on a mission, and that entails fending off all distractions and praise. Fortunately, BreakingT is here to help you join him in solidarity.— C&C Machine (@CCMachine) September 20, 2019
Get your #RatPoison shirt today! #Sooners https://t.co/czfIXtFUSI
At the end of the day (s/o Bob Stoops), the Sooners are back to business as they prep for the road trip to KU. Lincoln Riley addressed questions from the media during this week’s Monday press conference.
Riley on if the defense has been truly tested
Oklahoma’s defense has shown remarkable improvement on the field from both a statistical standpoint and the old fashioned eye test. For some, there’s a natural reluctance or hesitance to believe in the results due to the level of competition up to this point. Riley shared his thoughts on that and offered his counter-take.
“We’ve played some teams I think that have some very good offensive players. Will we play better offenses going forward? Yes, but we’re planning on getting better too.”
Riley on Adrian Ealy’s absence
Starting right tackle Adrian Ealy was a notable scratch from Saturday’s game against Texas Tech. Right guard Tyrese Robinson moved over to the edge with Brey Walker stepping up to fill the vacant guard spot. Without disclosing the nature of his absence, Riley addressed Ealy’s status going forward.
“Ealy is still day-to-day, week-to-week. I think it’s a possibility for this week, but it’s not a certainty right now.”
Riley on Kennedy Brooks’ injury status
Redshirt sophomore RB Kennedy Brooks was on the receiving end of a nasty and illegal hit against Texas Tech that left him down and clutching his knee for a period of time. He eventually walked off the field under his own power, but he never returned to the game after that point. Riley was straight to the point with an update for the star running back.
“[Brooks] is doing good, yeah all good. He’ll play this week.”
Riley on the starting kicker competition
Gabe Brkic received the start at placekicker for Oklahoma against the Red Raiders after starter Calum Sutherland was apparently benched following a public intoxication arrest. Riley was asked if that change would continue this week or if the kicking competition has re-opened altogether.
“As far as re-opening it, I mean to me it’s kind of always open. If you think somebody’s doing a better job than the person you’re playing with at any position we’re going to make that change. Obviously this situation presented Gabe an opportunity, and Gabe did well with it. There’s no question about it. We’ll evaluate it as we go through the week, and just put the best guy out there that we think’s ready to help us beat Kansas.”
Full press conference links
Oklahoma’s starting MIKE LB was the preseason pick for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and through four games he has not disappointed in that aspect. In Alex Grinch’s hyper-aggressive defense, K9 has been able to attack opposing offenses in a multitude of ways, particularly in the backfield.
In a similar mould to Trey Millard and Dimitri Flowers, Jeremiah Hall has steadily risen to playmaker status in the Sooners’ offense as a do-it-all fullback. He spoke about those past greats at the position and what his goals are for continuing to tradition of the unique role in his own way.
Having a bye after only three games was unusual for the majority of the team, especially Jalen Hurts. The senior QB talked about how the team used the off week to get better, and while he wasn’t completely singing their praises, he did acknowledge the positives that translated onto the field against Texas Tech.
Jalen Hurts on bye week: The bye week came early and was very different ... we took the right approach with it. It wasn't perfect, but beneficial for us and we came out with the right energy going into the Texas Tech game. #Sooners— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) September 30, 2019
Not only is this whole experience at Oklahoma new for Jalen Hurts given he hasn’t been in Norman for even 10 months, it’s also uncommon for Lincoln Riley, who typically has multiple years to groom his QBs. So far, the quick connection has worked seamlessly, and is only continuing to strengthen by the week.
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