Lincoln Riley said in Friday’s media session that he may wait to announce the starting quarterback until after the end of fall camp. A different way to look at that is he’d like to confirm that Jalen Hurts is the starting quarterback by the time camp wraps up.
Hurts becoming Oklahoma’s next starting quarterback is the worst kept secret in all of college football. The “competition” between him and Tanner Mordecai isn’t anywhere near as close as what we saw between Kyler Murray and Austin Kendall a year ago. Yet, Riley is sticking to his guns that no decision has been made as of yet.
“I’m not super experienced, but I’m experienced enough to know I’m darn sure not nailing it down right now,” Riley said on Friday. “We’ll see how it unfolds.”
“It’s one of those things that when you know, you know. We evaluate stats, but it’s off a feel. It’s more than just the numbers. It’s the feel of the guy that’s gonna not only produce and play the best but also lead the best as well.”Lincoln Riley on the quarterback competition
Hurts is the favorite over redshirt freshman Tanner Mordicai and true freshman Spencer Rattler, and for good reason. He’s better!
That’s not a knock against either Mordicai or Rattler. Those guys are both super talented and, are going to have a great quarterback battle a year from now, but they aren’t as seasoned, developed, and talented as Hurts is at this point of his collegiate career.
It’s not what Riley is, or isn’t, saying that indicates Hurts will be the starter. It’s what the Alabama transfer is saying and the way his teammates are responding. When asked what he needed to do in order to win the job last Friday Hurts said that was a question for Riley to answer. Then he dropped this nugget.
“I came in here with the intentions of being the best version of myself and earning respect of my teammates,” Hurts said. “They’ve accepted me and they look at me as their leader. It’s just a well-respected relationship between me and those guys. I try to go out there and set the right example, I try to lead the right way. You can’t be a hypocrite. I have to set a right example if I’m going to be leading those guys and trying to demand excellence out of them.”
Junior receiver CeeDee Lamb wasn’t shy about his new quarterback when asked about it.
“The man (Hurts) can throw the ball more than people can even imagine,” Lamb said. “I can’t wait for people to see that, and the opportunity he gets, he’s going to take advantage of it. It’s going to be a fun ride.”
Neither Hurts or Lamb are talking like there’s any doubt over who the starter is, and anyone who saw the spring game knows exactly how much of an advantage Hurts has.
I understand what Riley is doing. In his program nothing is handed to players. Any second spent on the playing field is a second that has been earned on the practice field and film room. I think everyone gets that.
The thing is, Jalen Hurts didn’t come to Oklahoma to have anything handed to him. He came to finish out his career in the best way possible and follow in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Trust me when I say this, Hurts knows the drill on working hard and earning your spot.
“It’s the same approach. They say different animal, same beast. I’m on a different team with the same goals.”Jalen Hurts
The other side of that is Hurts didn’t come to Oklahoma to back up a redshirt freshman, or a true freshman for that matter. While he’s not expecting anything to be given to him, he’s also not expecting anyone, at any position, to outwork him either.
Talent can make a player good. However, developed talent and an incredible work ethic can make a player great. Jalen Hurts certainly is the latter and it isn’t difficult to see that. That’s why when the announcement finally comes from Riley it’ll just be a confirmation of what we already knew.
“I’m stronger, I’m wiser, much more mature,” Hurts said on Friday. “I’ve seen it all. … I don’t think it ain’t nothing I can’t handle.”
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