NORMAN — Lincoln Riley didn’t name a quarterback Tuesday or hint at when that might occur, saying he wasn’t any closer to that decision now than he was weeks ago.
But the coach would say that freshman Spencer Rattler is right in the middle of Oklahoma’s QB competition.
“He's gaining on — not necessarily gaining on Jalen [Hurts] or gaining on Tanner [Mordecai] — but just gaining on getting to the point where he can execute and communicate everything that we want him to,” Riley said. “He's a quick study. And one thing I have appreciated about the kid, even though I wasn't here for spring, he's not afraid of the moment. He thinks he should be right in the middle of it, which you know, you better believe that. And he certainly has that self-confidence.”
At OU’s local media day earlier this month, Riley had a wait-and-see attitude about Rattler, who was the nation’s top dual-threat high school QB in 2019.
“He's a very gifted thrower,” Riley said. “He's more than anybody just kind of in a race against time, having not been here in spring. You can certainly tell that the other two were here for spring.”
• Clemson grad transfer added: Austin Jackson, who played in four games at Clemson in two seasons, has joined OU as a walk-on safety and graduate transfer. The final steps of the process took place over the past week, Riley said.
Before Clemson, Jackson made 32 tackles in nine games at East Tennessee State in 2015. OU lists him at 6 feet 1, 215 pounds.
“Got a chance to watch him a little bit and was somebody that we were intrigued enough to bring in,” Riley said. “Didn't know for sure if it was something that was going to work out; it was something that worked out just hear in about the last week. Got him in and got him going … Haven't had a chance to be around him a ton, but he's got some great experience and certainly looks the part coming in here. So we're going to try to get him some reps and find out what he can do.”
• Redmond getting acclimated: Linebackers Ryan Jones, Brian Asamoah and Brian Mead, plus defensive tackle Dillon Faamatau, were notable defensive players who by precaution were held out of pads Monday during a short media-viewing session.
One defender in full pads had coaches excited. It was Jalen Redmond, who has been eased into this fall camp after not playing last spring. He redshirted as a freshman last fall due to blood clots and OU has been cautious moving forward.
“You can tell he hadn't been on the field, not necessarily from rust standpoint, but just from an effort and a desire standpoint,” Riley said. “Probably more than any guy out there probably appreciates just being able to take up a rep of inside drill in practice. Because there was a long time there when we didn't know if that was going to happen again. So doing well. Not rusty as probably we would have thought."
• Thanks, coach: Bob Stoops was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Monday just a few miles from OU’s campus.
The former Sooner coach has a special place in current receiver Nick Basquine’s heart. Stoops gave Basquine a scholarship in 2016, his final season at OU.
“He meant a lot to me. He obviously gave me the opportunity to come play here. And then he gave me a scholarship,” Basquine said “A player's coach, real good man. He cared for you more than just being a football player. So he means a lot to me.”
Basquine also shares an alma mater with Stoops’ sons, Drake and Isaac.
• Life without Seibert: Jay Boulware coaches OU’s kickers, but for the past three years, it was more like just one kicker — singular tense.
Austin Seibert handled every facet of the Sooners’ kicking duties. Now, Gabe Brkic and Calum Sutherland are battling for placekicking/kickoff spots while Reeves Mundschau is gaining experience as the likely starting punter.
Boulware likes it this way better. He sometimes stressed over Seibert carrying such a big load.
“It’s easier to manage without Austin doing everything. You guys know my woes with that. Austin, his first year, he just did two, punting and field goal kicking. That was a little bit of a stress, especially for a true freshman,” Boulware said. “He did a tremendous job. The next year is when I had the most difficult time, when he took over all three. From there he kept blossoming and ended up as the special teams player of the year for us. That worked out well for us.”