Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley spoke to media in the Big 12’s weekly teleconference Monday, discussing the Sooners’ upset 38-35 loss to Kansas State on Saturday. The loss dropped the Sooners (1-1, 0-1 Big 12) from No. 3 to No. 18 in the AP Poll.
Here’s what the fourth-year head coach had to say:
On the late-game punt
Down 38-35 with less than three minutes left in the game, the Sooners opted out of going for it on 4th and 7 and decided to punt, prompting a barrage of boos from the stands.
Oklahoma was able to get a stop on Kansas State’s next possession and still had a timeout to burn, but just 0:49 was left in regulation when the Sooners got the ball back. Riley said with their field position, punting from their own 28-yard line, the Sooners could’ve possibly get farther down field in their next possession.
“The way it happened, felt like we could have a chance to pin them down there, still had the timeout left (and we) knew we were going to have in the neighborhood of 50 seconds to a minute,” Riley said, “depending on how the drive went. … You got to take a chance. I mean, you either got to convert a fourth and long, either that, or you trust your defense to come up with a stop in that situation and get it back to you with fresh set of downs, and with the time remaining I felt like that was the right call.”
On traveling to Iowa State
The Sooners will make their first road trip of the season to Ames, Iowa, to take on Iowa State (1-1, 1-0 big 12) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
It’ll be the first time Oklahoma has to manage traveling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires flying and staying in a hotel, two once-normal tasks that have become a challenge in college football. The Sooners have already had their scare of not being able to play due to COVID-19 when 28 Sooners missed their season opener against Missouri State Sept. 12 due to positive tests and contact tracing.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” Riley said. “Just kind of the way we structure that, life in the hotel. Especially with the later kick, it’s going to be a little bit different because you’re going to be limited and confined to what the hotel has as far as space and all of that. We’re ready for it, we’ve adjusted. Some of the adjustments have already happened. We’ve had to make some of those, even as we get in the hotel here at home and go through out pregame routine. But certainly the travel up there and travel back will probably be the biggest difference.
“We’re being pretty selective about who we’re taking on the plane. There’s kind of a specific way to set the plane in terms of numbered seats, seats in between people. You always look at that stuff, but now you take this into account of COVID is making every decision for us as far as who we take and where people sit, not having any food or drinks or anything like that, everybody being masked up. There’s going to be a whole lot to it. But luckily for us it’s a short plane ride and we’re used enough to wearing masks by now.”
On Drake Stoops
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Drake Stoops scored his first career touchdown on Saturday — a 32-yard catch in the second quarter.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler found Stoops three times in the game, with Stoops finishing with a career-high 93 receiving yards.
“I think he’s a young leader,” Riley said. “I do. I think (he’s) not crazy vocal, but one of those guys who more leads by example in the way he does things. I could see him being one of the top leaders on this team in due time. I certainly think that’s possible.”
Caleb McCourry is the assistant sports editor at The Daily and is a junior at OU majoring in English. He’s covered football, basketball and volleyball.