Baker Mayfield won't have short leash for OU

Sooners' new starting quarterback will have a chance to learn and grow

Baker Mayfield came away as the winner of the Oklahoma quarterback derby and was named the starter for the season opener against Akron on Sept. 5.

Sooners’ coach Bob Stoops wasn’t willing to elaborate on why exactly Mayfield won the job over Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas, but there’s no doubt that it was a close competition. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley compared it to a prize fight that was won on the cards by counting punches.

What that means is even when the season starts, Knight will be nipping at Mayfield’s heels – pushing him to be better and causing him to look over his shoulder.

Mayfield won’t have a quick hook, though.

“You can’t give them too short of a leash,” Riley said. “If a guy goes and plays afraid to make a mistake, we’re not going to be any good, anyway. You have to give them a chance to play and make mistakes and grow. That’s part of the process.

“Now knowing that you have two guys back there, is it a smaller margin for error? Yeah, probably so. Just being honest. But if he goes out there and has a couple of bad plays, we’re not going to go out and yank him right off the top. I can tell you that much.”

It might not be a leash that pulls Mayfield – or even Knight – off the field. Neither of Oklahoma’s top two quarterbacks has made it through an entire season without injury.

And in the last two years, Oklahoma has used two quarterbacks in each season.

“All these guys are aware of that,” Stoops said. “They’ll do what they can to keep pushing themselves and to be ready if we need ‘em.”

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