After the first four games of the season for Oklahoma, there was some talk about Baker Mayfield and the Heisman Trophy.
Mayfield definitely exceeded the expectations of most during the first month of the season. It was true, though, that there were still a lot of games left to be played and a lot of games to be won or lost.
Following the loss to Texas, Mayfield was shunted down the list. Not a surprise by any means, but Mayfield didn’t play a terrible game against the Longhorns. It’s just he didn’t overcome the Horns and keep OU perfect.
Mayfield has been dang near flawless since that game. And his overall numbers feel like they’re on par with just about any quarterback in the country.
He is 193-of-275 passing for 2,812 yards with 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He’s completing more than 70 percent of his passes and has also added five scores on the ground.
So why isn’t Mayfield getting more Heisman talk? Valid question, but he obviously has a chance to make his mark in the next three weeks.
“That’s not for me to say,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “A lot here in the next few weeks will matter. What I’m proud of is he’s done such a good job of being smart with the football, to go with making great decisions of when to hand off, when to throw it and throwing great deep ball and all of that. He’s done a great job being smart with the ball.”
He'll have to be smart with the ball one more time this weekend in Waco against an undefeated Baylor team that is also clicking on all cylinders right now.
This game figures to feature a Heisman candidate, but most eyes are locked onto Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman.
There’s a reason for that. All Coleman has done this season is caught 58 balls for 1,178 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging a ridiculous 20 yards per catch and 147 yards per game. You watch him play, and it’s hard to argue with saying Coleman is the best player in the nation.
Mayfield, although it’s clearly not on his mind, might have something to say about who the best player on the field is Saturday.
“We talked about fearlessness and he's certainly got that,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “He's just a guy that plays with a lot of confidence. He's very accurate, can use his feet, tough kid, and a good football player. I respect his journey a bunch, from where he was three years ago, to where he is today."
And where he is today is a credit to what first-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley has done during his brief time in Norman. He has found a way to allow Mayfield to be special without trying to harness what makes him who he is.
Mayfield’s not perfect. No quarterback, no player is. But Stoops and Riley are being able to roll with the punches and accept what Mayfield is trying to get done.
In an offense like this that relies so much on having trust in the quarterback, it’s obvious Riley has it with his guy and has given him the freedom to make the calls necessary to win.
“I think that’s why you see the quarterback play in this offense historically be pretty strong because they can take some ownership,” Riley said. “Him feeling good about it is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what I think at that point. I think they’re getting more confident on it as the year goes on.”
We’ll see if Mayfield can make the right calls to guide OU to a win and perhaps earns a bit more love in the process when it comes to the Heisman Trophy.