By Michael Kinney
As spring football enters April one of the big questions surrounding the Sooners, ofcourse, centers around the quarterback position. With Baker Mayfield heading to the NFL, that has opened up a spot for a new starting QB.
OU coach Lincoln Riley said when spring ball began that all positions were open to competition, including the quarterback.
The Sooners had their first scrimmage of the spring over the weekend and Oklahoma coaches were able to get a look at how the Kyler Murray and Austin Kendall were able to run the offenses against a live defense.
“Overall, I don’t know that there’s been a ton of separation. There’s been some days when Kyler’s been better. There’s been some days when Austin has been better,” Riley said. “Pretty close right now. Yeah, pretty close and it’s a little difficult to tell right now too because you’ve only got kind of one A group with your top guys and then the level B group is just not quite as good when you have the other guys in. I think they’re both progressing. You know, both doing some good things, both making some mistakes too, but they’ve been learning from them. They haven’t made the same mistake twice very often. They were both okay in the scrimmage. They were both pretty good today.”
Murray, who is also the starting centerfielder on the OU baseball team, was asked about his performance during the scrimmage, he was a bit more critical.
“I am hard on myself,” Murray said. “It was a good scrimmage. It was a good day. The first scrimmage may not always be as great as you want it to be, but there is a lot to learn from. We will go back and get better.”
Even though Murray spends so much time playing baseball. He said there are no worries about not being in sync with his offense.
“I think this is year three for me,” Murray said. “I think guys know, they are familiar with me. That’s a question that most people might have. Coach Riley has done a good job of keeping me around the guys so they don’t feel like I’m not always here. They see me every day.”
While the race for the starting spot seems to be primarily between Murray and Kendall, the Sooners still have a deep pool of talent at the position. They include Reece Clark, Connor McGinnis and Tanner Schafer.
Riley says the group has similarities to the 2015 team where each quarterback was battling to take over.
“They were all so hungry to learn, it was like a bunch of piranhas’ in the meeting room,” Riley said. “They were just kind of wanting to soak up as much as they could and learn it as fast as they could, where these guys know what to do. Now it’s just a matter of going out and doing it, becoming more consistent, and then showing that they can lead the group. So, it’s going to be a really good competition, but it does have a different feel because of that.”
The scrimmage also allowed Riley and his staff to get looks at other positions on the field. He continues to be impressed with the defense and how it is progressing.
“I would say pretty typical first scrimmage. It’s good to have the Big 12 officials out here add a couple things penalty wise that stood out, that we got to do better,” Riley said. “Some good teaching moments there. I thought some of our young guys stepped up and did some pretty good things and a lot of them continue to impress. Probably defense, there was some back and forth early. Defense, certainly in the second half of it, dominated the scrimmage… I think some of our guys that played young last year, maybe the last two years that are starting to really get comfortable and get settled in too. They’ve done a good job. We’ve done a good job coaching over there. That groups progressing.”
Story first ran in The Yukon Review
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth Media