It’s been nearly six weeks since the Oklahoma Sooners last played a home game, but the time has finally come as college football enters the month of November. Up next on the schedule are the Kansas Jayhawks, led by second year head coach Les Miles. For more than a decade, the KU program has struggled mightily on the field, but on paper, this winless 2020 squad may be one of the worst groups to come out of Lawrence in years. It’ll be up to Lincoln Riley, Alex Grinch and the leaders of this OU team to take care of business and not fall victim to the rat poison.
On Tuesday, both Lincoln Riley and Alex Grinch fielded questions from the media on topic ranging from individual player growth, voting and more.
Riley on Spencer Rattler’s growth
Through Spencer Rattler’s first 89 passes of Big 12 play, he threw a total of five interceptions. Since that stretch of play, the redshirt freshman QB is currently riding an active streak of 75 pass attempts without a pick going into this weekend’s game against Kansas. On Tuesday, Lincoln Riley was asked about his young signal caller’s growth during his first season as Oklahoma’s starter.
“He’s definitely improved. I think he’s certainly learned more the difference between being aggressive but also doing it in a calculated way, learning to manage games a little bit better, when we can afford to take risks, when we cannot. He’s certainly put more of a premium on that. I think seeing that we can make some explosive plays, and that we don’t have to hit the home run every single time, he’s getting better. I think it’s maturity and I think some of it is when you come back and play well in a game like he did (against Texas) at the end, it adds to the confidence and belief of what you’re doing.”
Riley on OU improving with penalties
After the win over Texas, Oklahoma was statistically one of the nation’s most heavily penalized teams, but in the two games since then, the Sooners have shown significant improvement in regards to being flagged. Against TCU, OU was called for a then-season low seven penalties for 65 yards, and followed up that showing by earning just two calls for 15 yards against Texas Tech. Lincoln Riley spoke about his team cleaning up the number of calls it’s been receiving in recent weeks.
“We’re just playing smarter. I think we’re growing. We really try to emphasize how much winning football that we put on tape, and we really try to do a good job of illustrating to our guys and the difference that that makes in games.”
Riley on status of Trejan Bridges
Last Saturday, Oklahoma welcomed back senior RB Rhamondre Stevenson and junior DE Ronnie Perkins to the fold after each Sooner served a six-game suspension. Notably, sophomore WR Trejan Bridges did not make his debut alongside his re-activated teammates, leaving some to wonder about the current status of the talented pass catcher. On Tuesday, Lincoln Riley succinctly addressed his player’s absence.
“Trejan, kind of like we’ve said a bunch, his process is not quite as clear-cut or as easy as it could or should be. I’d say Trejan is still in that process right now, so we’ll see how that unfolds.”
Full press conference links
Second year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch exercised his right to vote today, as did many members of the OU family. On Tuesday, he briefly spoke about why setting aside football for the team on this day is so important in the grand scheme of life outside the sport.
Senior DL LaRon Stokes made the trip to Lubbock but ultimately missed the Texas Tech game last Saturday for an undisclosed reason. During Tuesday’s presser, Lincoln Riley listed the 2019 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year as ‘questionable’ for this weekend’s upcoming game against Kansas.
Lincoln Riley says LaRon Stokes is "questionable" after missing Texas Tech game.— Joe Buettner (@ByJoeBuettner) November 3, 2020
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