Oklahoma Football

Oklahoma quarterbacks (from left) Jalen Hurts and Tanner Mordecai still are in a tight battle for the starting job, along with Spencer Rattler. Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press file

Quarterback watch

Oklahoma quarterbacks Jalen Hurts, Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler are entering the second week of fall camp and the competition for the starting job.

Their progression has gone well, coach Lincoln Riley said Friday.

“They’re doing well. It’s fun to watch them. They’re like a lot of these positions. They’re quite a bit better than we were in the spring,” Riley said. “Adding Spencer into that has been fun, as well. Tanner, Jalen, those guys are really doing a nice job. They’re all performing well. They’re gonna make it tough, which, if you’ve recruited and developed right, it should be. But happy with the progress that we’ve made, but we’ve gotta have another great week here.”

The competition has been strong, Riley said.

“They’ve done a good job of focusing on themselves instead of the competition, and well, this guy did this, so I’m trying to one-up them,” Riley said. “You can’t play that way. You can’t play against the other guy. You’ve gotta go do your best and focus on just your job, which can be tough in situations like this. Up to this point, I feel like they’ve done that.”

Receiver Lamb continues to impress

Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, coming off a solid sophomore season, has been everything expected from him.

Riley spoke about the improvements Lamb has made over the offseason — route-running, flexibility, physicality.

“He’s also improved after the catch quite a bit. That was a big emphasis with him,” Riley said. “He’s been a good player after the catch for us. I wouldn’t say he’s been elite at that. That was something we really worked hard on (during) the offseason. Our expectations are that he’ll make a big jump. He has not played his best ball.”

Several making a move

Fall camp is an opportunity for players to gain the attention of coaches. Riley mentioned a few players who have started strong.

“(Offensive lineman) Marquis Hayes comes to mind. I think he’s really having a strong camp so far. I’m proud of the way that he’s improved. He’s certainly somebody up front that stands out,” Riley said.

“I think (running back) T.J. Pledger has made some really nice gains physically. He’s quite a bit better than what he’s been. Brian Asamoah, another one, Ryan Jones, a couple guys there at inside ‘backer have really made a jump physically and in their understanding of the system.

“Maturity. Just a number of those guys that are growing up, you’re like, ‘All right, they’re starting to see what it takes’ and starting to really understand that and do it on a regular basis.”

Jockeying for position

Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has to replace four starters around center Creed Humphrey.

“We’re much better than when we ended the spring,” Bedenbaugh said. “The guys have done a really good job this summer. … I feel good about where we are, but we’re kind of like anyone else in the country — we have a long way to go. Even the group we had last year, as good as they were, it’s just about constant improvement. You have to improve every week. Up to this point, we’ve had five practices and I think we’ve gotten better every day.”

Watching the tackle spot

R.J. Proctor, a Virginia grad transfer, has impressed Bedenbaugh with how quick he has picked up OU’s system.

“Obviously there are different techniques and different schemes. But he can associate it to something he’s done before, even though we may call it something different,” Bedenbaugh said. “He’s done a good job up to this point really picking things up. He’s a smart kid. He’s a tough kid. He’s got good strength and athleticism. I’ve been really pleased with him so far.”

Proctor has been working at both guard spots and could draw future practice reps at tackle. But Bedenbaugh wants the concentration to be at guard right now.

Other players working out at tackle include Adrian Ealy, Erik Swenson, Finley Felix, Michael Thompson, Stacey Wilkins, Bryce Roberts and David Swaby.

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