Lincoln Riley talks offensive progress

Lincoln Riley addressed the state of OU's offense following practice Monday evening.

Everybody is still finding their way at Oklahoma under the direction of first-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.

Things seem to be on the right track after OU’s first full week of practice and first scrimmage, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Riley addressed the media following Monday’s practice with a breakdown of how things are going.

On how the quarterbacks are playing

“They’re playing OK. It’s a lot on them right now. We’ve chosen to probably put a little too much in right now on purpose to see what we have, what these guys can, what they can’t do. I think they’re all handling it well.

“We’re repping those guys equal. We’re getting a ton of reps. Their arms are hurting right now, which they’re supposed to be. I said it when I got hired, and I believe it even more now, that we have everything we need in that room to be a pretty good offense.”

With Riley being brought into the fold, it became clear to everybody the wide receiver spot was going to become even more important down the road.

OU has already lost one receiver with Jordan Smallwood tearing his ACL last week. The Sooners don’t have two of their four 2015 signees on campus yet and quite a few of them are a little banged up after the first week.

To Riley, though, that’s a good thing.

On receivers being beat up

“Oh yeah, they should be beat up right now. If they’re not, they’re not playing hard enough. We’re repping them like those guys have never repped before. Their legs are gone, but they’re supposed to be. There will be a time and place to get their legs back, to get them in the kind of shape we need. There are some things you’ve got to go through first to be able to play, and they’re going through that right now.”

Tight end has been a question mark for OU. It hasn’t been used often in the last few years, but Riley said he definitely plans on using the spot.

But he’ll only use it if he feels he has the talent there. With guys like Mark Andrews, Carson Meier and Dimitri Flowers, OU could see a jump in the production at the spot in 2015.

On tight ends

“Tight ends, to me, are one of the great weapons in college football. The hard thing is finding good ones. It’s easy to find receivers. It’s not too hard to find running backs. Tight ends, the true guys like the Gronkowskis of the world that can put their hand down, that can be in the backfield, that can flex out, cannot limit you are great players.

“Where I haven’t liked tight ends in the past is where maybe a guy limits you, or he can only put his hand on the ground or only do this or that. We’ve got some guys that have some versatility that we’re excited to use.”

You can talk skill positions all you want, everybody knows the key for any offense is going to be the offensive line. It’s a huge question mark for the Sooners heading into this season.

Riley would be worried, but he said he has full confidence in offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, who he said there is no better offensive line coach in the country.

On the offensive line

“I love our numbers. A lot of times in spring practice you have eight or nine guys. We have some pretty good depth there. Guys are starting to get continuity. They’re starting to play together pretty well.

“We have an interesting mix of guys who’ve either been there or being in those backup roles and been involved with the varsity. Then we have a young group that’s still learning. When they figure it out, it’s going to be fun to watch that group.”

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