Spring football is done at Oklahoma. The Sooners were able to get everything they could from 14 practices and the spring game and now the focus goes toward the 2015 season.
So what did we learn? Sooners Illustrated is going to take a position-by-position approach to see what we know now (or what we don’t know) going forward at OU.
Up first? Baker Mayfield.
Heading into the spring, it felt like the time was now for Mayfield to step up, assert control and become the starting quarterback for the Sooners.
Behind closed doors, it still sounds that way. Based on the spring game, though, the competition should rightfully continue into the summer and into camp.
Mayfield seems the ideal fit in the offense, having already run it at Texas Tech. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley even said he wanted to nab Mayfield at East Carolina when Mayfield decided to transfer from the Red Raiders.
The two are reunited now in Norman, and the goal is to make sure Mayfield remains who he is, while also being the leader of the offense OU needs going forward.
“Baker’s not a guy that’s afraid to take chances,” Riley said. “And that’s the catch-22 in this offense. You can’t be scared, but at the same time, they’ve got to be calculated. They’ve got to be smart. And I loved the aggressiveness of Baker. I don’t want to pull on the reins.”
Mayfield completed 10 of 13 passes in the spring, including the game’s only passing touchdown. But he was also the only quarterback to throw multiple interceptions.
That seems to be what you’re going to get with Mayfield, at least at this juncture. He’s a gunslinger, willing to take those chances, for better or worse.
“I love taking my shots,” Mayfield said. “When you have one-on-one matchups, you have to take your chances. There are times when I need to hold back, and it showed when I turned the ball over. Just threw it up and made some bad choices, but I’m going to take my chances, and I did.
“I’m going to take my chances and give the receivers a chance to make a play.”
That last point might be key. Mayfield seems to have a lot more trust in this group of receivers than what Knight showed last year. Nobody could blame Knight for relying on Sterling Shepard, but there were times when it felt like there were no other receivers on the field.
Mayfield appears to be a guy who is going to spread the wealth and that’s exactly what you see a lot of times with an offense like what Riley is using.
OU coach Bob Stoops made it clear following the spring game the battle would continue, and Mayfield said all the right things to show he is at peace with that decision.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it carried on all the way through camp,” Mayfield said. “We have to be prepared for that. It won’t be over by the end of spring, or it seems that way, and I’m fine with that. I know the other guys are fine with that. It’s going to be work anyway. We might as well have fun with that.”
Mayfield made big strides during the spring and seems to have positioned himself as the starter heading into the season. He has the support of the locker room. He has the support of the coaches.
But there are no favorites here. He’s not “Riley’s boy” or anything of that nature. It’s going to be about production, plain and simple.
“Score more, turn it over less,” Riley said. “It’s simple. It’s about who moves it, who takes care of the ball, who progresses. They are all doing it to a point. You never know forecasting, but it looks like they are going to make it tough on us.
“There will be some separation in the summer. Summer, when you get away from them, and it’s not regulated and a lot of it is on their own, you see more separation during that time. I’m sure, by the fall, that it will clarify itself some more.”