Head Coach Lincoln Riley wanted to try and get 80,000 people in the stands for the Oklahoma spring game on Saturday. While that didn’t quite happen, Oklahoma did manage to get a little over 52,000 to show up, which is about 10,000 more than the last 4-year average. Was it the Trace Adkins concert before the game? I highly doubt it, but the Sooners had a ton of recruits in town on Saturday as well as many former players. Mix that in with the solid turnout and that is what I would call a good weekend. Hell, Lincoln Riley even paid someone’s tuition on Saturday.
Now before I begin, this wasn’t your typical spring game format. The Sooners coaching staff split up the roster evenly and had both teams coached by former Sooner players. The white team was coached by Adrian Peterson while the red team was coached by Trent Williams. In the end or should I say, the end of the first half was won by the white team 10-9 in overtime. The second half was useless for me to take anything away from it so instead we will just focus on the half that counted.
Kyler Murray was about as average as average can get. Did the powerful wind gusts have an effect throwing the football in this game? Yes, but that’s not the most concerning takeaway from this game to me. Kyler has been in this offense going on his third season and yet for some reason he always was behind on his throws. By that I mean, his reads were drastically slow at times. For instance, when a receiver starts to break on his route the ball needs to be there asap or as soon as that cut is happening. Many times, on Saturday I saw receivers waiting on the football and when that happens, the defense catches up. For his lack of passing on Saturday, Kyler’s athletic ability did show well in this game. If this guy sees green in front of him, watch out defenses. Overall, I need to see him and these receivers on the same page.
If this is truly a quarterback competition, boy did Austin Kendall miss a big opportunity. For as average as Kyler Murray was, Austin Kendall was about the same or even worse in some instances. Austin threw the ball a tad better than Kyler, but that’s not saying much. He made some decent throws, but he made a crucial mistake throwing a bad interception in the red zone that left me scratching my head. The one positive takeaway from this game from Austin is that I didn’t know he could move that well in and out of the pocket. Is he going to run past defenders? No, but he can buy some extra time before making his throw. Again, both quarterbacks looked sluggish today.
With Rodney Anderson on the sideline for the spring game, this gave an opportunity for others to shine here. Unfortunately, backup RB Trey Sermon injured his leg after an awkward landing. Sermon rushed for over 700 yards as a true freshman last year but apparently Head Coach Lincoln Riley doesn’t think that the injury is too serious. Whether on not that is true, it is still something to keep an eye on. On the brighter side of things, redshirt freshman Kennedy Brooks made some noise on Saturday. He rushed for over 100 yards on 9 carries and showed some nice burst along with some great agility. If I am an OU fan, I would feel very confident in this backfield because it appears that you will have 3 reliable running backs this season who can get the job done.
DB Brendan Radley-Hiles
Alright, screw it, I am just going to call him “Bookie” from now on. Don’t get me wrong, I love hyphenated names, but this guy deserves to be called whatever he wants us to call him. We have all heard about this guy in spring ball from his position coach, Kerry Cooks and now we can see why. There really isn’t much else I can say about Bookie besides that he played a fantastic game on Saturday and that this guy will be a star in this league. I’m being dead serious when I say that this guy will be a high draft pick in a few years.
I wanted to talk about the defense overall, but the starting defense was basically split up, so it is hard for me to make a fair judgement about them in this game.
Guys who played well
TE Grant Calcaterra- Thought he had a great showing and it appears that he will be an excellent replacement for Mark Andrews. He has a lot of upside that I can’t wait to see.
WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown– What else can I say, he is as fast as a cheetah out there. Get this man the football ASAP.
LB Levi Draper– After redshirting in 2017, we finally got to see Levi in action and he didn’t disappoint. He led the team in tackles on Saturday.