“I think it’s a different team on the same mission.”
That’s how Jalen Hurts described his new college football home to reporters on Wednesday afternoo
“This is a different place,” Hurts said. “You think about coaches, an older coach in coach Saban, a younger coach in coach Riley. But they’re both great, dang good coaches. They both kind of want nothing but that standard of play. We have an expectation of doing what we’re supposed to do at Oklahoma. The biggest thing is meshing together as a team like I said, holding each other accountable to do those things.”
After wasting away national championship caliber offenses the last two years with the inability to play defense, Hurts has come to Oklahoma as a one-year stopgap. His presence in Norman is mutually beneficial.
Lincoln Riley’s offensive genius gives Hurts a legitimate shot at the College Football Playoff, the Heisman Trophy, and a high NFL draft grade.
Hurts’ experience and maturity gives Oklahoma yet another high-caliber/high profile quarterback to lead the offensive charge while Alex Grinch lays a foundation for the defensive rebuild.
“I think we’re trying to make a big step, make a massive improvement every day so we can better ourselves.”Jalen Hurts
The truth is, Jalen Hurts is going to be pretty great for Oklahoma. Barring injury, he’ll pass for a ton of yards, make a trip to New York City in December, and have pro scouts drooling over him, all while building a brand that sets him up for financial gain a year from now.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles and challenges though. Kyler Murray ran into a buzzsaw at the Cotton Bowl in October and Baker Mayfield had a front row seat to Kyle Kempt’s coming out party. They both experienced the heartache of defensive shortcomings in the playoffs.
So the Sooners find themselves in a very familiar situation as they head into their final week of spring ball. Loaded at the skill position, they’ve got potentially the most potent offense in the nation and with a ton of question marks, they’ve got a defense that is hoping to make significant strides to improve.
The key difference this year is there’s a new general leading the defense and Riley will have the most experienced quarterback he’s ever had taking the helm of his offense.
Jalen Hurts has seen firsthand what it takes to play at a championship level of both sides of the ball. You can’t place a value on what his leadership and experience brings to the Oklahoma football program. Without even playing a snap on the defensive side of the ball, if the Sooners are able to get over the hump in 2019 there will be a lion’s share of the credit placed on Hurts’ shoulders, and Sooner Nation should be just fine with that.
“I’m not your average Joe,” Hurts said. “Kind of built for these type of situations. There’s never been really anything that’s been in my way that I couldn’t overcome or see through. I’m here. I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team in whatever way to achieve the things we want to achieve as a team.”