It’s not something Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield takes lightly. It’s not something offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is sweeping under the rug. They get it. They all get it in that quarterback room for the Sooners.
The play on the field has been exceptional the last couple of years, but the discipline off it in the last couple of months has been severely lacking.
It has to stop, and it will, says Mayfield.
“I think it can be said that I might have set a bad example first but we all know there’s a higher standard here,” Mayfield said. “Not just being quarterbacks, but at the University of Oklahoma there’s a tradition here at Oklahoma that compares to no other.
“We’ve got to realize that expectation and those standards and rise up to it and be the ones that everybody looks at in every single situation. We’ve got to be accountable and let everybody know that we have the responsibility and they can look up to us no matter what.”
Mayfield isn’t just talking about the whole room but about himself, too. It has been less than two months since Mayfield was arrested in the early morning hours in Fayetteville, Ark., after a night of drinking.
He was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing to which he put in a plea of not guilty last Friday.
That incident has been a cloud hanging over the university throughout spring before the situation worsened after the spring game.
Freshman Chris Robison, fresh off completing 3 of 5 passes for 49 yards and rushing for a touchdown in the game, was charged with public intoxication in the early morning hours Sunday.
“It’s a discussion that we’ve had, that the people that came here before us and (what a) strength that room has always been for this university,” Riley said. “And the fact that we’ve got a standard to uphold.
“That’s very, very important to us and those guys in the room have told me it’s very, very important to them and it’s something that we’ve got to do better, period.”
Mayfield appeared to be very genuine in his apology statement three days after his arrest. He apologized to his teammates and coaches as well.
Apologies are nice and appreciated, but when you’re someone in Mayfield’s position, there can only be room for one of them. No repeat offenses.
Mayfield has been in the running for the Heisman Trophy award the last two seasons and is once again knocking on that door heading into his final campaign in Norman.
The lack of discipline brings about the perception of things starting to run out of control under Bob Stoops. Issues with former players have been well documented, and though there are far worse things than public intoxication issues, it’s not the standard OU has set before and wants to set moving forward.
“I think we’ve got to communicate a little better,” Mayfield said. “I think people have let it slip a little bit and gotten a little lackadaisical about all the off-the-field stuff. But I think the standard has never gone away, it just needs to be made more apparent. We just need a little reminder and we’ll be good from there.”
OU is in the running for a shot at the 2017 national championship and making it three in a row as it pertains to the Big 12. The Sooners are winning on the field, but a major victory in the next four months would be to keep it clean off the field.