Let’s face it, Oklahoma has a stud quarterback. Haters are going to hate but two conference championships and nearly 7,700 yards with 76 touchdowns over the last two seasons prove the haters are mostly just disgruntled Texas Tech fans and, more importantly, absolutely wrong.
With Mayfield having been granted another year of eligibility not only are the Sooners going to be conference favorites once again, but they are also going to be set at quarterback. So, as spring football has progressed, much of the attention has been placed on the position battles at running back, wide receiver, and defensive line. However, here are three reasons to pay attention to the quarterbacks on Saturday.
1) There’s a lot of talent at the quarterback position | The quarterback talent in Norman isn’t just isolated to the starting position though. Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray is eligible to play this year and Austin Kendall is another year older, wiser, and stronger. Both are young and both have strong skill sets. Kendall was the backup, as a true freshman, last season while Murray was sitting out due to the transfer rule but both are participating in their second spring football campaigns at OU and both have much to prove.
Kendall has the advantage of entering the spring as QB #2, be it by default, and confidence has never been something that he lacks. He saw limited action in 2016 but he showed a bunch of promise in completing nearly 73% of his passes while throwing two touchdowns with no interceptions.
Murray jumps in as the top contender for the backup spot this spring. He had the opportunity to show off his speed during last year’s spring game and you can’t help but think that Lincoln Riley is going to try and figure out a way to get him on the field in some capacity this fall. Murray appeared in seven games for the Aggies in 2015 so he comes into his second spring at Oklahoma with a little more experience and a little less youth than Kendall.
2) Someone has to back up Mayfield | You know how the old cliche goes, you’re only one play away from a backup becoming a starter. Baker plays with reckless abandon and has, on more than one occasion, suffered from the consequences.
Speaking of consequences, there’s still potential of Mayfield facing a suspension of sorts for his late February arrest. It could be one play, one series, one quarter, one game, or nothing at all. The point is, there may be the need for Oklahoma’s backup quarterback to be ready to lead the charge when the Sooners take the field against UTEP on September 2nd.
3) The battle for the starting job in 2018 is happening right now | Mayfield won’t have anymore tricks left up his sleeve, as far as eligibility goes, following this season. That means this time next year OU will be replacing a Heisman contender with the next, “up and comer.” Don’t think that these guys aren’t jockeying for position right now either.
Earning the backup position means the opportunity to star in mop-up duty and, heaven forbid, take the reigns of the offense should something happen to Mayfield. Even more so, it also means being just a step ahead of the competition in the spring of 2018 when evaluations begin on who becomes Oklahoma’s next starting quarterback.
That’s three reasons why I’m looking at the quarterbacks on Saturday. Let us know what, and why, you’re looking at.