Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
How does Oklahoma begin to pick up the pieces after dropping the ball, and where does it even start?
The week following an Oklahoma Sooners loss is always a long one around these parts. On Tuesday, Lincoln Riley voiced his belief that this team will be defined by how it responds going forward rather than how it performed over the weekend.
“The type of team you’re going to be is going to be defined by your response.”
https://t.co/XhOdfeJeYP | FSOK pic.twitter.com/kkbZPL4br0
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) September 29, 2020
In the past, OU has been rather remarkable in how it has responded to a loss. Since Riley has been in Norman in any capacity (2015), the Sooners are a perfect 6-0 following a regular season loss. Losing doesn’t happen often at Oklahoma, especially over the past five years, but when it has happened, there’s a proven track record that suggests the program knows what it has to do in order to rebound.
Riley will once again try to keep that streak alive this week when Oklahoma travels to Ames to take on Matt Campbell and his Iowa State Cyclones . If this game is anything like the last few meetings, it won’t be an easy victory. That said, if the Sooners want to maintain control of their own destiny in regards to a sixth consecutive Big 12 Championship, they’ll need to find a way to bounce back on Saturday night.
Riley on being both head coach and OC
Lincoln Riley has been calling plays for most of his young coaching career, but in 2017 he added being a head coach to his list of responsibilities. For the most part, he’s made it work, devising some of the most prolific offenses the game has ever seen, but on Tuesday he was asked if the weight of both roles is starting to become too much for him.
“I don’t think so. I don’t feel like I’m giving in that area (play calling), I don’t. Now, each and every week do I come back just like a player and say there’s things that I can do better? Yes, and a lot of times those things are in-game decisions, but most in-game decisions are made before you ever get to the game. And it’s the preparation, and it’s the overall mentality of a team going into it. There’s things there with this team that I need to do a better job. Now I don’t need to do a better job because I’m also the offensive coordinator. I need to do a better job because I need to do a better job.”
Riley on Jalen Redmond possibly opting back in
Before the season started, redshirt sophomore DL Jalen Redmond announced his decision to opt out of the 2020 season on account of coronavirus concerns. On Tuesday, Dean Blevins asked OU’s head coach about rumblings he heard that indicate the talented lineman’s possible return to the field as early as this fall. Sounds like it’s just smoke for now, according to Riley.
“I honestly don’t have any information on that. I’ve heard nothing on either side of that to be completely honest.”
Riley on where the team goes from here
As I previously stated, this program doesn’t experience losses as often as most others do, so it almost always feels like a soul-searching quest to right the ship is the logical next step. Riley addressed the state of the program now, and what needs to happen to bring it where it wants to go.
“The bottom line for us is we’ve got to play to our standard more consistently. That is the absolute bottom line for us, and we as coaches, staff, leaders, every player, every person in this program, we’ve got to do a better job of getting that message across to our players and executing that for as long as we possibly can on Saturdays. We can do better, there’s no question about that, and we will do better.”
Full press conference links
The offensive line definitely shoulders their share of the blame for the loss to Kansas State, and rightfully so. Not only was pass protection inconsistent, the holding penalties negated several big plays that could have led to an OU win. On Tuesday, redshirt junior OT Adrian Ealy admitted that the film session this week has been hard to stomach. For a group with so much game experience, it’s been a bit of a surprise to see the unit struggle as often as it has through two games.
OT Adrian Ealy: “I was sick watching the film.” #Sooners
— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) September 29, 2020
Junior RB T.J. Pledger made his 2020 debut on Saturday, and for a guy with so much rust to knock off, he moved fairly well with the ball in his clutches. On Tuesday, he gave credit to his new running backs coach — DeMarco Murray — and talked about the benefits of having such a prolific player to learn from.
T.J. Pledger became the first #OU RB we’ve talked to in 2020.
So asked about what #Sooners RB room is like with DeMarco Murray running the show?
Full answer attached. pic.twitter.com/xSbew1dFxi
— Bob Przybylo (@BPrzybylo) September 29, 2020
Redshirt junior H-back Jeremiah Hall believes junior Brayden Willis , sophomore Austin Stogner , freshman Mikey Henderson and himself collectively make up the nation’s top H-back/tight end group, and personally I would be hard-pressed to come up with one definitively better. The way Riley likes to utilize the position also helps amplify their impact, but even looking outside of that, there’s clearly a lot of talent in that room coached by Shane Beamer.
Jeremiah Hall: “I think we’re the best Tight End/H-Back group in the country.”
Mentions he thinks the depth makes them all better, the day-to-day competition for playing time #Sooners
— Josh Callaway (@JoshCallaway714) September 29, 2020
Any OU fan will tell you how frustrating or painful it is whenever Oklahoma loses a game, and Lincoln Riley admitted to having those same feelings on Tuesday during his media presser. In full, he stated that “This year’s different, you know, just that we’re into conference so quick and all that’s gone on. Honestly, the losses, they all suck, and they all hurt like hell and you really kind of test your insides to go fight back. Despite the disappointment, I’ve zero doubt in what we can be, and that we’ve just got to work harder and do better to get there.”
Lincoln Riley: “The losses, they all suck. They hurt like hell.”#Sooners
— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) September 29, 2020
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