NORMAN – Lincoln Riley met with the media on Saturday via a Zoom call to discuss the latest with the Oklahoma Sooners as players returned to campus yesterday to resume practice after being given some time off amid the uncertainty with the college football season.
Here are the highlights of what the Oklahoma Head Coach touched on this afternoon:
Nine Sooners Tested Positive for COVID-19
Easily the biggest piece of news that came from today’s session was that nine Oklahoma players tested positive for COVID-19 last night.
He did not specify who the players were, or if the players left campus during their time off.
Riley had said that 75% of the roster had elected not to leave Norman during the time off, so it is possible the players who tested positive all had left the campus “bubble,” but we certainly can’t say that for sure.
“I think it is a sense of reality for us,” Riley said.
Lincoln said he was disappointed in the results but knew this type of thing happening was mostly inevitable, and hopes it can be a learning experience and a bit of wake up call to everyone at how easy it is to pick up this virus.
He also said some players are being quarantined due to contact tracing, but did not offer a specific number on how many.
He Did Not Rule Out Adding Transfers
Something that caught my eye was what Riley said when asked of the possibility of adding players from teams/conferences that have had their seasons canceled this year.
“We’ll always look at who’s out there,” Lincoln said.
Well, that’s definitely not a no.
If Oklahoma would be able to add someone before the 2020 season started and have them be an actual impact player is obviously a large wide shot, but it is worth keeping an eye on.
Riley did note the difficulty in this due to so many conferences planning to play in the Spring.
The NCAA would have to provide a special waiver for a player to be immediately eligible in this type of situation – but if the conferences claim to be planning a Spring season that looks to be highly unlikely.
Players Will Wear Masks During Games This Season
Oklahoma has been practicing with players wearing masks to this point.
So, the natural next question was if the Sooners would look to do this in actual game action as well.
“We are going to have our faces covered some way somehow,” Riley said.
Well, that is certainly noteworthy.
Lincoln had previously said that they had experimented with three different types of face coverings in practice so the details on exactly what they will do is still being ironed out.
But, considering that no other sports going right now has mandated that active players wear a mask, Riley saying this is definitely eye-opening.
If Oklahoma elects to keep the players faces covered at all times, even during game action, that could set a big precedent around the sport.
This is something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
We Still Don’t Know About Stevenson, Perkins, and Bridges
Even though the Peach Bowl feels like a million years ago, we somehow still don’t know about the impending suspensions of Rhamondre Stevenson, Ronnie Perkins, and Trejan Bridges.
Everyone knows they will miss time, but we don’t know how long it will be or if it will be reduced since the length of the season has been shortened.
There was definitely a sense of frustration on Riley’s end about the situation still being so up in the air as well as the reason for the suspension in the first place – even calling it an “archaic” rule.
These are all impact players for OU that they are unsure of when they will have, so the sooner they get to know the better for their planning.
Stevenson’s production may be fairly replaceable in the short term, as Riley lauded what he’s seen from the young running backs in practice (Marcus Major, Seth McGowan specifically) and what DeMarco Murray has done with them to this point.
Ronnie Perkins, however, is perhaps Oklahoma’s best defensive player. He is extremely important to this team in 2020.
They are going to need him to be at their best this year, so figuring out what games he will be missing is understandably huge.
Stay plugged in to 107.7 The Franchise both on the air and on the web for all the latest on Oklahoma Sooners football ahead of the season opener which is set for just four weeks from today.