Lincoln Riley should start Caleb Williams, but keeping Spencer Rattler engaged is key for Oklahoma

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is not going to publicly title a beginning quarterback for Saturday’s sport in opposition to TCU. 

“Do not plan on naming a beginning quarterback right here this week,” Riley stated at his press convention Tuesday. “We’ll see how the week performs out, and see the place we’re once we get to Saturday. … We’ll see you Saturday at 6:30 p.m.” 

The speculative guess is simple. Freshman Caleb Williams, who led the comeback in opposition to Texas final week within the Crimson River Showdown, probably will take over because the starter for preseason Heisman Trophy favourite Spencer Rattler in one of many more-stunning storylines of the 2021 season. 

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Is it actually that beautiful, although? We’ve seen this earlier than. 

On Jan. 8, 2018, Alabama coach Nick Saban changed Jalen Hurts with freshman Tua Tagovailoa within the CFP championship sport. The Crimson Tide gained 26-23 on Tagovailoa’s now-legendary game-winning TD move on second-and-26. 

The next season, Dabo Swinney changed Kelly Bryant, who led the Tigers to the CFP the earlier season, with freshman Trevor Lawrence after 4 video games. Bryant transferred to Missouri through the season, and Lawrence led a nationwide championship run. 

Riley can be taught from these two conditions to maintain the Sooners on the same-old CFP path in an effort to win this system’s first nationwide championship since 2000. The short-term outlook is Riley has to decide earlier than Saturday’s prime-time matchup in opposition to the Horned Frogs, the place the main focus can be on that rapid alternative. 

Williams must be that alternative. The Sooners’ offense unleashed its big-play potential with Williams to rally from a 28-7 deficit in opposition to Texas. Working again Kennedy Brooks and receiver Marvin Mims had their finest video games of the season.

Bear in mind, as soon as Saban put Tagovailoa in, that was it. Tagovailoa gained the beginning job the next season, however Hurts was a task participant within the offense all year long. 

MORE: Caleb Williams modified the Crimson River Showdown, and presumably the CFB season

So, what about Rattler? Riley stated the sophomore quarterback was given the time off Monday earlier than returning to observe. 

“Contemplating the circumstances he is doing effectively,” Riley stated. “It isn’t simple for a younger man. This man will get painted a special means publicly than what he actually is.” 

Rattler was thought-about the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy and the potential No. 1 decide within the 2022 NFL Draft. He earned NIL offers, too, and like Hurts he didn’t lose because the beginning quarterback within the season he was changed. It is simply that Oklahoma had a number of one-score video games in opposition to FBS competitors, and Williams was the proper spark on the proper time. 

Riley reiterated that Rattler gained the competitors in fall camp, however the dynamics have modified. 

So will Rattler instantly switch like Bryant did? Riley addressed that query, too, realizing that the switch portal is extra energetic than it was in 2018. 

“There are by no means any ensures, however I might absolutely count on to have each of these guys the whole season,” Riley stated. “Each these guys are fairly dedicated to this soccer crew.” 

Rattler’s father echoed these ideas to the OUDaily on Wednesday , saying the household will make a decsion on his future after Oklahoma’s season.

The very best-case situation? Rattler maintains a task, even when he’s the backup,  for the rest of the season. In spite of everything, he did re-enter the sport and hit the game-tying two-point conversion in opposition to Texas final week. 

Look again at these conditions at Alabama and Clemson to see the worth of a backup quarterback. Hurts changed an injured Tagovailoa and led a 35-28 comeback victory in opposition to Georgia within the 2018 SEC championship sport. Lawrence was knocked out with a concussion within the first sport after Bryant transferred, and Chase Brice performed the hero in a 27-23 comeback in opposition to Syracuse on Sept. 29, 2018. These had been key moments in that season, which ended with Clemson beating Alabama within the CFP championship sport. 

Oklahoma has but to succeed in the championship sport regardless of 4 playoff appearances. They’ve had the proper quarterback every time, too, with a pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray together with Hurts, who transferred from Alabama after the 2018 season. 

That is one other best-case situation for Riley. That the quarterback state of affairs resolves after the season. Bear in mind, the Sooners have gained 14 consecutive video games. 

“The sky isn’t fairly falling,” Riley stated. “We maintain it in perspective.” 

RIley can handle this case, even with the switch portal and NIL, on this CFP race. Penn State misplaced beginning quarterback Sean Clifford final week, and the dropoff at QB was catastrophic in a 23-20 loss to Iowa. Oklahoma nonetheless has half a season left within the Large 12, the place the Sooners are gunning for a seventh straight convention championship. 

“This has usually been the time for us once we surge and play a few of our greatest ball,” Riley stated. “That is completely our intent proper now.” 

To try this, Riley should begin Willliams and see the place it goes. He may emerge as a Heisman Trophy-candidate and the difference-maker for a program that has been itching to indicate that to its future SEC friends on the CFP stage. However Rattler should keep engaged and concerned, whether or not it is in sure packages for every sport or in a backup function, for this to work out. 

That’s the win-win Riley should hope for. Possibly that plan leads the Sooners to an elusive nationwide championship. 

“For me, I really feel like I’ve two actually good gamers,” Riley stated. “I do not see it as an issue or a problem. You gotta select between two nice choices, and that is an excellent place to be in. I do know each of these youngsters will reply it doesn’t matter what place they’re in.” 



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