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Hot Links: Klieman impressed by Rattler, Riley looking for more offensive balance

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Also, Lincoln Riley detailed the challenges that come with contact tracing and having adequate roster numbers.

Happy Tuesday, friends and fans!

Meeting the minimum number of available student-athletes (at least 53 total players, including seven O-Linemen, four D-Linemen and one QB) in today’s college football is proving to be a serious ordeal for many programs, and the Oklahoma Sooners are no exception. Recently, Lincoln Riley spoke about the challenges of keeping his team safe from COVID-19, as well as difficulty of overcoming contact tracing measures. In particular, health along the offensive line is an area that can either make or break a team in one fell swoop if attrition strikes. SI Sooners’ Parker Thune has more details.

SI Sooners: Lincoln Riley on potential of offensive line attrition: “That’s… a big deal” #Sooners https://t.co/pcoOBEw1hw via @All_Sooners

— Oklahoma Sooners on SI (@All_Sooners) September 22, 2020

In the season opener, OU was notably without starting left tackle Anton Harrison. If all protocols have been followed correctly since then, Oklahoma should have its starting unit up front this Saturday. Meanwhile, K-State continues to deal with its own uncertainty of meeting the required threshold . For now, only time will tell.

Now onto today’s Hot Links! Lincoln Riley knows Oklahoma must work on improving its running game, OU hoops could be adding another verbal to its 2021 class tonight, MJ has his own NASCAR team and more!

OU Links

Spencer Rattler dropped to No. 3 in ESPN’s latest Heisman Watch update. Clemson Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence still leads the way, and with the Big Ten officially coming back into the mix this fall, Ohio State Buckeyes QB Justin Fields supplanted Oklahoma’s signal caller for the No. 2 spot.

Speaking of Rattler, Kansas State Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman was impressed with what he saw from his debut start against Missouri State. If this weekend’s game kicks-off as planned, KSU could be coming to Norman with a severely depleted secondary, which could mean another big day for the young Sooner QB, writes the Tulsa World’s Eric Bailey.

With several players missing from the two-deep and inexperience across the board, Oklahoma’s running game was overshadowed by the passing attack in the season opener. Because of that, Lincoln Riley is actively working on a plan to give more balance to OU’s offense , writes SI Sooners’ John Hoover.

OU Insider’s RJ Young offered three questions that OU needs to answer this Saturday against K-State in the Big 12 opener.

It was nice to see Skip Johnson and the OU baseball team back on the diamond on Monday. It’s really too bad that last season was cut short due to the pandemic, because that sure looked like a special team. Perhaps it was only the beginning, and more success is on the way in the near future. Boomer!

Good day 1️⃣. It’s great to be back. #Sooners pic.twitter.com/ChKJzuLIO8

— Oklahoma Baseball (@OU_Baseball) September 21, 2020

In recruiting news, 2021 four-star shooting guard CJ Noland out of Waxahachie, Texas will be announcing his commitment tonight at 5 p.m. CT. He’s deciding between Oklahoma and Kansas State, with the Sooners being the odds-on favorite. Stay tuned, because Lon Kruger could be adding a good to this upcoming class very soon.

5pm cst⏰

— TheCJNoland©️ (@CjNoland1) September 22, 2020

Around the Sports World

Texas Tech Red Raiders starting RB SaRodorick Thompson was arrested earlier this week for street racing . Reportedly, he is still expected to play against the Texas Longhorns this Saturday.

On Monday, the NFL issued fines for three head coaches — the Denver Broncos ’ Vic Fangio, the Seattle Seahawks ’ Pete Carroll and the San Francisco 49ers ’ Kyle Shanahan — $100,000 each for not following the league’s strict masking policies on the sideline. In addition to the individual fines, each of their teams were also fined $250,000. In total, that’s $1.05 million. Mask up, y’all.

Speaking of Denver, with Drew Lock officially being ruled out for the next three to five weeks due to a strained rotator cuff, the team is set to sign seventh-year veteran Blake Bortles , who last played for the Los Angeles Rams in 2019 after a five-year run with the Jacksonville Jaguars .

The one and only Michael Jordan has officially teamed up with NASCAR vet Denny Hamlin to form a new Cup Series team starting in 2021. Also, it was announced that Bubba Wallace would be featured as their driver. That’s quite the trinamic trio developing in the racing world.

BREAKING NEWS: Michael Jordan, @dennyhamlin announce new NASCAR Cup Series team in 2021, featuring @BubbaWallace as their driver.

Details: https://t.co/EwR56T9Xez pic.twitter.com/A4rvWXdGZ2

— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 22, 2020

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