Happy Friday, friends and fans!
The Oklahoma Sooners’ season opener offered a first look at how their COVID-related safety measures within the stadium would be followed, and upon further review it was clear that a large contingent of OU’s student section was not adhering to the masking and social distancing requirements. Who woulda thunk?
On Friday, those rules were updated to re-emphasize the university’s guidelines.
OU announces COVID-related changes to student seating ➡️ https://t.co/GrLsKkWyh7#TogetherAsOne #BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/6HhK71yaJ9— Oklahoma Sooners (@OU_Athletics) September 18, 2020
For Oklahoma’s next home game against Kansas State on Sept. 26, students will have a more defined area for seating, as well as simpler signage throughout the concourse to increase the likelihood that this designation is followed.
The other major (yet unsurprising) announcement in this release is the possibility of a reduction or outright elimination of student tickets for the rest of the season. Even with increased security personnel, it’ll be nearly impossible to successfully monitor hundreds if not thousands of people in a given area. I’ll be interested in seeing how many more changes there are between next weekend’s home game and the one after that, which won’t happen until Nov. 7.
Now onto this week’s Friday edition of Hot Links! ‘Speed D’ aims to force at least two turnovers per game, Baker’s Browns best the Bengals, Giannis wins his second MVP Award and more!
- Lincoln Riley dropped the first episode of ‘The Standard’ on Thursday night, giving an inside look at how the Sooners dealt with the turbulent spring and summer periods leading up to the 2020 season opener. You’ll also see highlights from the sideline during Oklahoma’s win over Missouri State. For any college football head, this is some A-1 quality content.
Embrace every challenge we face, together -— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) September 17, 2020
Episode 1: Let's Begin #TheStandard | #OUDNA pic.twitter.com/phoYQyECul
- Second-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s magic number for takeaways he wants to see from his defense this season is 26, and the Norman Transcript’s Joe Buettner explains why that number isn’t as arbitrary as one might initially think.
- Sophomore WR Theo Wease has the talent, the physical tools and the ability to become Spencer Rattler’s go-to target on the outside. In the wake of some key departures from last season’s group, this former five-star now has the opportunity as well, writes SI Sooners’ John Hoover.
- SI Sooners’ Parker Thune relays what several defensive players are saying about stepping up in the absence of guys like Kenneth Murray, Neville Gallimore and Parnell Motley. Now that those three defenders are collecting NFL paychecks, it’s up to some newer faces to take the lead on ‘Speed D’.
- The first official Thursday Night Football game of the NFL season featured Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns grabbing their first win in 2020 over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. The former OU gunslinger was simply on fire, completing 16 of 21 passes for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns en route to a 35-30 victory over a division rival.
Troy Aikman on Baker Mayfield's performance against the Bengals.— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) September 18, 2020
"I like what I saw of this guy right here — Baker Mayfield. Good to see his swagger back tonight."
Mayfield finished the game 16-of-23 for 219 yards and two touchdown passes.#OUDNA | #Browns pic.twitter.com/dnHFr99nYk
- Hey Sooner fans, in case you missed it, the brilliant designers over at BreakingT recently released this hot-off-the-press, OU-themed ‘Quick-Strike Offense’ t-shirt just for you. Since Lincoln Riley began calling plays for Oklahoma five seasons ago, the offense in Norman has been among the most lethal attacks in FBS history. After last Saturday, it appears this year’s group has the potential to be even better than the rest. Now go ahead and check out this sweet tee for yourself right away!
The first four drives of the Oklahoma #Sooners’ season:— C&C Machine (@CCMachine) September 15, 2020
5 plays, 58 yards, 2:13
1 play, 58 yards, 0:10
5 plays, 65 yards, 2:40
1 play, 37 yards, 0:11
Our friends at @BreakingT have created a t-shirt to reflect this very fact, and you can get one here: https://t.co/1HdPeV5nLk pic.twitter.com/LKY0ZC1SV2
Around the Sports World
- On Friday, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. Although his team was unable to make it past the second round of the playoffs, the ‘Greek Freak’ was fifth in the league in scoring (29.5) and second in rebounding (13.6). Earlier this postseason, he also earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Congratulations, @Giannis_An34!! pic.twitter.com/CG03CFsq3n— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) September 18, 2020
- The Virginia Cavaliers’ game against its in-state rival — the Virginia Tech Hokies — has officially been rescheduled for Dec. 12 after it was originally set to take place last Saturday.
- Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2020 NFL season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon on Thursday night in a 35-30 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
- Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson was feeling himself after swatting a dinger against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, and as he rounded the bases, he purposely kicked dirt onto home plate, causing the umpire to immediately toss him from the game. The Sox would come back to win, 4-3. I say this to everybody involved: c’mon man.
Chill out, Josh Donaldson pic.twitter.com/Fgfhrd768X— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) September 17, 2020
- Also on the diamond yesterday, the New York Yankees achieved something that’s never before happened in franchise history. In the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yanks sent a whopping five pitches out of the park. This is also just the second time in MLB history that a team has scored at least five homers in one inning against the same pitcher. I’m not sure if this is more of a ‘wow’ or ‘yikes’ moment, but no matter where you stand, that’s crazy.
These @Yankees bats are insane right now. pic.twitter.com/Yt0WlzNgs2— MLB (@MLB) September 18, 2020
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