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Quarterback controversy raises questions in Oklahoma

by Michael Hanich | October 13, 2021 at 4:45 p.m.

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley is used to high-caliber, overachieving quarterbacks like Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts.

He isn't used to his first-string quarterback underachieving and causing internal controversy.

Despite being undefeated, Oklahoma (6-0) has not been playing like the college football playoff contender they have been in previous season. Five of the six wins from Oklahoma this season were within one possession, largely due to the inefficient play of preseason Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback Spencer Rattler. In six games, Rattler has thrown for 1,371 yards, ten touchdowns and five interceptions on 130 completions (out of 175 passing attempts).

Rattler has been playing below the standards at Oklahoma as the season has progressed, but he fell further last week against the #21 Texas Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry.

After a disastrous first quarter with Oklahoma down 28-7, Rattler was benched by Riley after throwing his second interception. Riley put in true freshman and former five-star quarterback Caleb Williams. This sparked a comeback for the Sooners' offense; they won 55-48. Williams threw for 212 yards, two touchdowns and a QB rating of 98.1 on 16 completions (out of 25 passing attempts). He also rushed for a touchdown against the Longhorns' defense.

On Monday, Riley excused Rattler from participating in practice for mental clearance. Rattler came back for Tuesday's practice and was on the second-team offense with Williams practicing with the first-team.

Riley refuses to name the starting quarterback for Saturday's home against the TCU Horned Frogs (3-2). He has also banned media from the practices until Sunday after the student newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, scouted Williams at first-string quarterback and talked to Rattler's father, where the topic of potentially transferring was brought up.

While Riley wants to hide as much as he can from potential distractions, one thing is clear: he cannot hide a quarterback controversy circulating in his team's locker room.

Print Headline: Quarterback controversy raises questions in Oklahoma

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