The No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners took care of business on Saturday against South Dakota, and in the midst of OU’s 70-14 win over the Coyotes, 10 different players recorded touchdowns, including a number of true freshmen from the 2019 recruiting class. Now it’s time to hit the road for the first time this season and wrap up the non-conference slate with the winless UCLA Bruins.
Jalen Hurts began his Week 3 preparation just moments after Saturday night’s game concluded by hitting the gym and getting a workout in with strength coach Bennie Wylie.
From Bennie Wylie’s Instagram:— George Stoia III (@GeorgeStoia) September 8, 2019
Jalen Hurts going through a workout after the game. Dude doesn’t stop. pic.twitter.com/PGPyUOdSf3
Of course, that became a talking point during Monday’s presser, and Hurts succinctly explained why he decided to work out right after playing in a game.
Immediately after OU's 70-14 win over South Dakota Saturday night, #Sooners QB Jalen Hurts went to the weight room. He said he had something on his mind. When asked what that was: "Getting more work in."— Caleb McCourry (@CalebMac21) September 9, 2019
Whatever was on his mind, Hurts seemed his usual, hyper-focused self in front of the media. Speaking of which, joining the senior QB behind the podium was sophomore S Patrick Fields, redshirt sophomore WR Charleston Rambo and of course, Lincoln Riley to answer questions for this week’s press conference.
Riley on Bookie taking the next step
On Monday, Brendan Radley-Hiles was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after recovering a fumble, returning an INT for a TD, and recording a tackle-for-loss against South Dakota. Lincoln Riley was asked about ‘Bookie’ looking much more comfortable on the field in year two versus an up-and-down freshman season.
“I would say (struggling’s) pretty typical for a freshman. A lot of times you can get in position to make some of the plays, but you don’t always make all of them as a true freshman. I think he’s a little more clear-minded right now. I think Alex (Grinch) has done a good job with him, and I think he’s a little more mentally ready to make the plays and to finish them.”
Riley on moving Jalen Redmond inside
After being sidelined with blood clotting issues as a true freshman in 2018, Jalen Redmond is finally healthy enough to contribute to the team, but not in the way most expected. At 6’3” and 264 pounds, he has a unique blend of size and athleticism that Grinch has found a special use for in his defense. Instead of standing him up to rush the passer from the outside edge, he’s been moved inside with his hand on the ground. Lincoln Riley was asked about the move and why that decision was made.
“As we watched him on the field, I think part of it was continuing to try to get our best 11 out there and put him in a position to potentially be one of those guys. I think with the way that we’re playing right now we can play with a guy like that just because he’s strong enough. Even though he’s not a 300-pounder, he’s got the strength of a 300-plus pounder, so you don’t really lose anything with the size, but then you gain so much in athleticism inside. He’s a tough matchup for any interior offensive lineman.”
Riley on what makes OU successful on the road
Dating back to the 2014 season, Oklahoma has won its last 20 true road games, which is the longest streak of its kind in the FBS. Coming up this Saturday, the Sooners will put that streak to the test for the first time in 2019 against UCLA. Lincoln Riley talked about what has made OU perform so well on the road over the last four plus seasons.
“Just a mindset, you know? We’ve done it with different players, different coaches, different everything. It’s just a mindset, a mentality that those teams have had, those players and coaches have had in the past. For us, it’s something to learn from, but we got to understand that none of those count for right now. We’ve got to go earn that ourselves with this group.”
Riley on how long Jalen Hurts can stay hot
Jalen Hurts is putting up the kind of numbers one might expect from Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray, but because Oklahoma hasn’t played an above average defense yet, the question exists about how long he can keep up these highly efficient numbers. Lincoln Riley was asked about this very question.
“It seems like same question, different year. The stats don’t always reflect everything, but they do tell some. We expect him to continue to play well. I know he does. I know he can continue to improve. Might he have some games that he plays better but maybe doesn’t have the exact same stats he’s had here in Week 1, Week 2? I think that’s very possible, but we’ve got high expectations for him and our offense. We’ve done some good things first couple weeks, but I mean, I would say ‘why can it not?’”
Full press conference links
Through two games, free safety Patrick Fields is second on the team in total tackles (11) and has been a key part of bolstering Alex Grinch’s secondary. The Tulsa native spoke with the media on Monday about his growth and development in his second year in the program.
After connecting with redshirt sophomore HB Jeremiah Hall on two touchdowns in Oklahoma’s first two games, Jalen Hurts is finding out firsthand how multiple Lincoln Riley’s offense can be with that position on the field.
Jalen Hurts says Jeremiah Hall is playing a pivotal role in the #Sooners offense. Hall has two touchdown receptions in two weeks.— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) September 9, 2019
After Marquise Brown began his NFL career with two big touchdowns on Sunday, and with Charleston Rambo having been around ‘Hollywood’ since 2017, he was asked about his former teammate’s successful debut with Baltimore.
Among all the points Riley addressed during his presser appearance, one of the things he touched on was how this team features a number of leaders who are helping show the ropes to the younger players. He trusts his veterans to pass down their knowledge and experience to the next wave of Sooners, and so far it’s been fruitful for the program.
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