Big 12

OU head coach Lincoln Riley at the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX, July 15, 2019. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World

ARLINGTON, Texas — Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is maturing into a wise old man during Big 12 Media Days.

One prime example: During a breakout session after his 20-minute time on stage at AT&T Stadium, Riley was asked about the OU-Texas rivalry.

An Austin American-Statesman sports columnist asked Riley if he had any thoughts on Texas — as is often proclaimed — being back?

“They’re doing a great job,” Riley said with a big smile while dodging the question. “That’s kind of out of my wheelhouse. I’m a veteran in this league, you know that right?”

Other takeaways from Riley’s meeting with the media:

Kennedy Brooks’ situation has been cleared

Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks didn’t participate with the team for much of the summer following a Title IX investigation. He has since been cleared and joined the team.

“Referring back to the statement we put out, Kennedy was reinstated back to the team late last week,” Riley said. “He’s back full-go with our guys. During the process, I was not involved at all. Not updated at all.

“That’s a process that our school takes very seriously and we leave that to the people that their job is to handle that and when they do, we take it from there.”

Why hasn’t OU played in a national championship game?

The Sooners have advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals in 2016 and 2018 and suffered season-ending losses to Georgia and Alabama, respectively.

Could Riley put his finger on any reason why the team hasn’t reached the next step?

“We haven’t played complete enough in those semifinal games. Not necessarily one side of the ball or the other. We haven’t played a complete enough game to beat a top-4 team in the country,” Riley said. “We’ve been really close and we’ve had some stretches in all the semifinal games where we’ve played some good ball. Obviously you try to get your team as good as you can where your margin for error is a little bit lower, then you try to play your very best game there.

“If we’re lucky enough to get in that spot again we’ll have to do a better job.”

No starting quarterback named yet

There’s no timeline to name a starting quarterback even though it is widely anticipated Jalen Hurts will be the starter.

In fact, the final question directed to Riley during a breakout session asked about what sets Hurts apart entering the season.

“He has to win the job first. If he wins the job then we’ll talk about that,” Riley said.

Hurts, Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler are the Sooners’ scholarship quarterbacks entering 2019. There’s no timeline to name a starter.

"I haven’t got to see them for a while. I’ve been in the meeting room with them for about an hour a week during the summer, which is all I’ve been able to. I get to see them work out but don’t get to see them throw," Riley said. "I think they are all doing well. The competition will be raised certainly in August. You have a month there which gives you two-to-three weeks realistically to work through it and have a guy named and move forward from there."

Eric Bailey


Twitter: @ericbaileyTW

Sports Writer

Eric covers the University of Oklahoma football and men’s basketball teams. A Haskell Indian Nations University graduate, he has been a member of the Tulsa World sports staff for 12 years. Phone: 918-581-8391