Baker Mayfield's OU dream a reality

Baker Mayfield had a vision he would be OU's starting quarterback. That vision became a reality Monday.

The news became official Monday afternoon that Baker Mayfield had been named the starting quarterback for Oklahoma.

It ended the speculation about the three-person race between Mayfield, Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas and has given the Sooners some direction heading into their opening game of the season in less than two weeks.

First-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley made it official with Mayfield on Monday morning he was going to be the starter although technically Cody Thomas beat him to the punch in congratulating Mayfield first. The end result is a culmination of something Mayfield had dreamt about years before.

Even though Mayfield is not from the state and is actually just minutes away from the University of Texas, Mayfield has been an OU guy for a long time.

In addressing the media Monday evening, one of the first things Mayfield said was he remembers what it was like being a kid wearing a Quentin Griffin jersey and watching guys like Jason White and Mark Clayton play.

He remembers the team being successful, putting up big numbers on offense and scoring a lot of points. Now it’s his turn.

“I had a vision in my head that I would play here eventually,” Mayfield. “This is a dream come true for me.”

A dream that certainly had many twists and turns but never made the full switch to a nightmare. Mayfield knew he was taking a chance when he transferred from Texas Tech following the 2013 season, especially coming to OU when Knight was coming off his career outing against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

That’s the competitor Mayfield is, the competitor he has always been because it’s all he knows. Mayfield said he was 5-foot-2 when he was a freshman in high school. There aren’t many 5-2 quarterbacks that can survive, but then again, there aren’t too many like Mayfield.

“Got a chip on my shoulder,” Mayfield said.

That chip won’t disappear now that he has been named the starter. Mayfield said former OU offensive lineman Jammal Brown addressed the team recently and stressed there’s always a next step, there’s always room for improvement.

In the end, Stoops said, it was consistency that won the day for Mayfield. It has been a huge battle for Mayfield throughout his playing days. It was an issue for him when he was a freshman at Texas Tech, and it showed up once again when he threw two interceptions in the spring game.

Mayfield has so much confidence in himself and his abilities that sometimes he tries to make something happen when it’s simply not there.

It’s the confidence that made him walk on to Texas Tech and earn the starting gig there only to turn around and do the exact same thing in Norman.

“It says a lot about him,” first-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “He’s aggressive, but you got to be able to rein it in.”

Some have called it an irrational confidence or a cockiness, but it has worked for Mayfield and OU fans hope it will work on the field this season.

“I think it carries who I am every day when I step out onto the field,” Mayfield said. “When bad things happen, I don’t let it get to me. I’ve got to realize the next play’s the most important. I think other people draw off that confidence.

“They step up and they want to be better, too. That’s something about quarterback. You’ve got to look at that guy and realize you want to play for them. You’ve got to get that energy going every day.”

The timing worked out perfectly, said Riley. OU finished camp Friday, and it gave the coaches a couple of days to review film and see where everybody fit in the pecking order.

Riley texted all three quarterbacks and had one-on-one meetings with all of them. Their reactions weren’t a surprise. Mayfield was excited. Thomas and Knight, though disappointed, will keep on fighting and Riley said both practiced well Monday.

The news was first reported by The Oklahoman and The Tulsa World and later confirmed by OU in the afternoon.

The energy that has made Mayfield so popular with teammates and coaches isn’t going away, but Mayfield can stop looking over his shoulder. He said one thing Riley has tried to stress to him throughout their time together is it’s OK to relax every now and then.

Riley said he won’t have a short leash with Mayfield because it doesn’t do anybody any good to go about it with that mentality.

Mayfield’s dream has been realized. How long it's going to last is in his control.

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