Lincoln Riley

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Lincoln Riley says Big 12 teams at disadvantage compared to other P5s in wake of coronavirus


Spring football was put on the shelf as conferences responded to the COVID-19 pandemic stretching throughout the country. While the NCAA did its part to shut down all spring competition and tournaments, as well as college football recruiting, it has been pretty much up to each individual conference to allow what is and is not allowed when it comes to spring football practices and how programs can be run within their conferences. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has expressed his concerns about how the Big 12 has handled things so far, suggesting it puts the Sooners and every other Big 12 team at a disadvantage.

“Our conference has been more stringent on it,” Riley said in a radio interview with KREF on Thursday (according to a Norman Transcript report. “So that hasn’t been a positive in that it hasn’t really been an equal playing field.”

Riley made note that coaches in the ACC, for example, have been able to stay in somewhat direct communication with their players through the use of video conferencing technology. The ACC has also allowed for players to receive gear for training through the mail, while the Big 12 has not yet made that option available. Coaches in the Big Ten have also been able to hold conference video calls with players during this abrupt stoppage in spring.

If Riley is hoping the playing field can be evened out soon as the pandemic continues to shut everything down, he may not have to wait too much longer.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby suggested some changes could be made in the coming week after leaders from around the conference have a chance to hold a meeting. Bowlsby stressed the importance of making sure players are able to get the proper nutrition and any medical needs from their schools that are a part of the football program. But, logistically, so much is still up in the air without much certainty on the horizon.

“How long does it all go? When do we get a look in? How do we go about revisiting things?” Bowlsby asked, again according to the Norman Transcript report. “The things we have already agreed upon is that we need to make sure sports medicine, physical therapy and rehabilitation are taken care of. We need to make sure we keep up with academic support. And we need to give support to kids in mental health and wellness ways.”

Bowlsby may have some allies in the push to clarify just what exactly players should be able to receive. The SEC is reportedly set to offer football instruction via remote technology, according to 247 Sports. In addition, the University of Florida is looking to endorse regulation of what a program is allowed to provide players with respect to nutrition.

“Nutritionally, right now the biggest thing we have in place is the education,” Florida strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage told 247 Sports. “Our job is to coach them, teach them, show them, educate them, all those things. Now behind the scenes we’re working on a few things that we’re trying to get accomplished, but obviously we’re waiting to hear back if it’s all approved and things like that.”

The longer this pandemic continues, the more important it will be for the NCAA to set the standard and for the conferences to find any sort of uniformity on certain issues important to the student-athletes.

Clemson, LSU among top five for nation’s top QB in Class of 2021

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Months after facing each other in the national championship game, Clemson and LSU are once again doing battle on the recruiting trail. Clemson and LSU are among the final five schools in consideration for Caleb Williams, the nation’s top-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2021. Williams revealed his top five schools on Monday. Oklahoma, Penn State, and Maryland were the other three remaining in the hunt, according to Williams.

Williams shared his top five with a post on his Twitter account and explained his thinking in this stage of the process on Sports Illustrated. The dual-threat quarterback from Washington D.C. has had to cancel official recruiting trips to both Maryland and Penn State due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the NCAA shutting down all recruiting activities as a precaution.

“We were going up to Penn State on the Monday following Easter and we’re going to make it over to see Coach (Mike) Locksley,” Williams’ father, Carl Williams, told 247 Sports. “I talked to Locksley back and forth and as soon as it’s legal we’re going to do it.”

A planned trip to Oklahoma has also been put on hold due to the pandemic, but one will be rescheduled at a later time. Recruiting experts seem to suggest Oklahoma is a rising favorite to eventually land Williams. And given the recent track record of Oklahoma and head coach Lincoln Riley, it is easy to see why that may be the case.

“Their history and what Coach [Lincoln Riley] has done these past three years—[Baker Mayfield] to [Kyler Murray] then to Jalen Hurts, then to whoever else is next and then maybe me,” Williams explained in his post on Sports Illustrated.



Lincoln Riley confirms suspensions, injury for Sooners for Peach Bowl

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Last week it was reported three Oklahoma football players would be suspended for the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Peach Bowl. On Monday, with the game coming up at the end of the week, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has confirmed the suspensions of starting defensive end Ronnie Perkins, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and wide receiver Trejan Bridges.

Although he did not go into details about why these three players will not play, Riley did confirm everyone on the team did make the trip to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl, where the Big 12 champion Sooners will face SEC champion and No. 1 LSU in one of the two semifinal matchups of this year’s College Football Playoff. The absence of Perkins will be a tough one for the Oklahoma defense. Perkins recorded 13.5 tackles for a loss this season after starting all 13 games this season.

On top of the three suspensions, Riley also confirmed starting safety Delarrin Turner-Yell is not likely to play in the game due to a collarbone injury suffered in practice last week.

Being without two starting defensive players against an LSU offense that is led by Heisman Trophy quarterback Joe Burrow is a big reason why the Sooners are considered a pretty heavy underdog in their semifinal matchup with the Tigers.

Oklahoma loses Trey Sermon and Kenneth Mann to season-ending injuries

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Oklahoma had to hold their breath to escape this weekend’s game against Iowa State with a win, but the close call took a toll on the Sooners moving forward. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley announced on Monday running back Trey Sermon and defensive lineman Kenneth Mann will miss the remainder of the 2019 season with season-ending injuries.

Riley confirmed both players suffered injuries in the win over Iowa State that will require surgery. That will bring an early end to the collegiate career of Mann, a redshirt senior, but sermon will be eligible to return to the Sooners next season.

Sermon was Oklahoma’s third-leading rusher behind Jalen Hurts and Kennedy Brooks with 385 yards and four touchdowns in nine games this season. With Sermon no longer able to be a part of the running game, Oklahoma may rely more on Brooks while continuing to allow their quarterback to do what he needs with his feet. But this could also lead to some opportunities for Rhamondre Stevenson to continue increasing his role in the mix. Stevenson has 369 rushing yards and five touchdowns this season and figures to see his rushing totals see a slight bump for the remainder of the year as a result of the injury to Sermon.

“Will definitely create some opportunities for others and for us to continue to move on as a team and opportunities for other people to step up and grow, and that’s what has to happen in these moments,” Riley said when addressing how the team will move forward without their injured players, according to Sooner Scoop.

Mann played more of a reserve role and recorded five tackles, 1.5 TFL, and one sack this season.

Oklahoma loses starting DB Tre Norwood to season-ending injury

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One of Oklahoma’s full-time starters from the defense last season is already lost for the upcoming 2019 season. Tre Norwood, a junior defensive back, is out for the season due to an injury suffered in fall camp. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley announced the injury today.

The injury is reported to be to Norwood’s knee, which was reported a couple days ago. Riley just now confirmed the status. Various reports noted the injury was a knee injury.

The loss of a full-time starter from last year’s defense is certainly a blow to the depth chart, especially for a team that had some concerns about the defense a year ago and hoped to improve this fall. Norwood started all 14 games for the Sooners last season, including the Big 12 championship game and College Football Playoff semifinal against SEC champion Alabama. Norwood had just one interception last year, but it was a big one. Norwood’s lone interception came in the final minute of the Big 12 championship game to help seal a conference title against rival Texas, thus helping Oklahoma punch their second straight ticket to the College Football Playoff.

Oklahoma’s defensive secondary will still be able to rely on some returning starters this fall, but the loss of Norwood will open up a starting spot. Among those who may be ready to compete for the vacancy include Jeremiah Criddell, Chanse Sylvie, and Brendan Radley-Hiler.