Bedlam Week is finally here, friends and fans. This Saturday, the No. 18 Oklahoma Sooners will host the No. 14 Oklahoma State Cowboys in a clash between rivals that will go a long way in determining the participants in the 2020 Big 12 Championship Game. Will Lincoln Riley improve to 4-0 over OSU as a head coach, or will Mike Gundy earn his third win in the series since taking over in Stillwater 15 years ago? Stay tuned.
Before the festivities begin, there are a few things that need to be addressed. Now, the last time anybody saw OU on a football field, the top headline concerned the status of redshirt QB Spencer Rattler. He suffered a pretty serious bruise on his left hip upon colliding with a Kansas defender in the end zone. Although he eventually returned to the game after sitting out a possession, he was in some noticeable pain, so much so that it started to affect his passing ability. On Tuesday, Riley was asked about an update on his starting quarterback’s health.
Lincoln Riley on Spencer Rattler's health status, "Yep. He's 100 percent." #Sooners— Kegan Reneau (@KeganReneau) November 17, 2020
That’s actually the entirety of Riley’s response. If succinct was what he was going for, he certainly achieved it. It has now been more than a week since the hit heard around Norman, and if we are to take the Oklahoma coach at his word, Rattler should have had plenty of time to bounce back from his bruise by the time 115th edition of Bedlam kicks off.
On Tuesday, Lincoln Riley fielded questions from reporters for his weekly press conference. He addressed the upcoming matchup with the Cowboys, the state of his program in regards to COVID-19 and more.
Riley on Oklahoma State’s offensive playmakers
The Cowboys boast an explosive three-headed-monster on offense that few others can rival. RB Chuba Hubbard, WR Tylan Wallace and QB Spencer Sanders can all beat defenses with their innate playmaking ability, and containing all three of them is something no team has yet to successfully accomplish this season. Riley shared his thoughts on what his defense will face when going up against this trinamic trio.
“Those guys are all really, really good players. They’re all dynamic. I think where they present problems is just those three guys can all win. The only way you can get a lot of people around all of them is to have 13 or 14 players out there, and I don’t think they’re going to let us do that. It’s tough, it’s a tough matchup. Tylan coming back, he’s obviously one of the best receivers in the country. Chuba, making the decision to come back, is absolutely one of the best running backs in the country. And we see the talent that Spencer Sanders is and how he’s grown and matured and made a lot of big plays in big games for them. That trio is as talented and as good as anybody in the country.”
Riley on COVID possibly affecting Bedlam
To date, there have been approximately 70 college football games around the nation that have either been postponed or canceled outright due to COVID-19 related issues since the 2020 season kicked off. Last weekend, a record number of games were unable to kick off because of rising positives within various programs. On Tuesday, Riley was asked if he felt this Saturday’s game between the Sooners and Cowboys could be in jeopardy for similar reasons.
“For us in the last several weeks (COVID-19) has not had a huge impact, but again we’re kind of just living day-to-day. We’ve got to keep our guard up and keep doing the best we can.”
Riley on how much the series’ history impacts this game
Since Lincoln Riley joined Oklahoma’s staff as offensive coordinator in 2015, the Sooners have beaten the Cowboys in five consecutive meetings. The overall history of the Bedlam series isn’t much more competitive than that, with OU owning an 89-18-7 advantage all-time over OSU. Certainly, each season presents new variables, from coaches to players to venues and more, but there are also some things that can carry over from year-to-year. During his presser meeting, Riley discussed whether or not he believes history plays much of a role in a game like this.
“I honestly don’t know that it does. The games are so different, and the matchups are so different, and there have been different coaches, different coordinators, different guys at key positions. There’s just so much that changes year to year. I mean, certainly I guess if you sat there and you had to choose ‘Do I want more guys on my roster that have had experience winning this game vs. losing?’ Of course that, but do you go into that as something like that’s the difference? I have a hard time seeing that. I just think it comes down to how the team’s playing at that point and the matchups on that particular Saturday and who executes the best and makes the big plays in the big moments.”
Full press conference links
Redshirt junior center Creed Humphrey will be starting in the third Bedlam game of his collegiate career this Saturday. For the Shawnee, Oklahoma native, this rivalry game holds a special place in his heart, and he expects a hard-fought contest from both sides.
Creed Humphrey's expectations for Saturday:— Josh Callaway (@JoshCallaway714) November 17, 2020
"I know it's going to be a competitive game, I know it's going to be a physical game...it's going to be fun." #Sooners
Redshirt junior H-back Jeremiah Hall has had the privilege of being teammates with some of the best quarterbacks to ever come through Norman. Namely, Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, not to mention the 2019 runner-up in Jalen Hurts. Using his own familiarity with OU QBs, Hall likened Spencer Rattler’s attitude most closely with K1.
"Spencer is pretty level headed... he kind of reminds me of Kyler."— Ryan Chapman (@RadiosRyan) November 17, 2020
Jeremiah Hall said Rattler never really gets too high or too low through the course of the game. #Sooners
Senior running back Rhamondre Stevenson has only been active for two games, but he’s already making a major difference for Oklahoma’s run game. This season, he’s being coached up by former OU great DeMarco Murray, and he credits his new teacher for some of the improvements he’s made since last year. In fact, Stevenson admitted to being star struck by Murray when he first met him. That’s because he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan, and DeMarco was his favorite RB in the league while he was a pro.
Rhamondre Stevenson says OU RB— MYRON PATTON (@myron_patton) November 17, 2020
Coach Demarco Murray was his favorite RB. Stevenson a big Dallas Cowboy fan.
This weekend, Oklahoma’s secondary will be tasked with defending OSU’s Tylan Wallace. He’s not the biggest nor the fastest receiver, but he plays like a giant and is as difficult to contain as anybody in the FBS. Meanwhile, the Sooners do not have a player who fits that description on the field, but Lincoln Riley did make a comparison between Wallace and the currently suspended Trejan Bridges. If that’s even 75 percent accurate, that has to excite OU fans everywhere.
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