It’s so easy to get worked up this week about quarterback Baker Mayfield and his return to Lubbock, Texas, to play against Texas Tech.
But he’s far from the only OU member returning back to West Texas this weekend. Three of OU’s coaches essentially got their start with the Red Raiders.
Now it won’t be offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh’s first trip back to Tech since he was with OU in 2014, but for offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and outside wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons, Saturday night might not just be another day at the office.
“I don’t know yet,” said Riley on returning to Lubbock. “It will be fun. I haven’t been there much since I worked there. I traveled through there some to see family. I’ll be excited to play there and see some old friends pregame. Once it kicks off, it’s just another ball game.”
Riley, of course, got his start as a walk-on at Tech before eventually becoming a coach and has seen his career take off.
It was a long time ago when Riley, Simmons and Bedenbaugh were there together. They’ve come a long way and now have found their respective roles in Norman.
“We were younger and had more hair,” Riley said. “We had a great time. We had a fun staff. We had a blast. It was a great environment to learn in and work in.
“It was really all three of our first, I guess quote, unquote big-time jobs. We had a great time. We had a fun run there. It’s been pretty cool to come full circle now.”
And yes, that means memories.
“I used to enjoy it,” Riley said. “I probably won’t enjoy it this time around as much. The tortillas, the batteries … I can kind of vividly remember the time we beat Texas and being out there pre-game and we were throwing pat-and-go and the stadium was already completely packed.
“It was an hour before the game, the year (Michael) Crabtree caught the ball. Right there in the south end zone, and a Longhorn student walks down with his burnt orange shirt. They had blacked out the stadium so he really stood out.
“He went in the middle of the student section and all of the sudden I look up and his shirt’s off and they are carrying him out of there. They are a passionate group. It’s a great fan base. It’ll be a fun place to play.”