NORMAN- Fresh off a bye week, the Oklahoma Sooners look to build on their win against the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, traveling to play the TCU Horned Frogs.
While the Sooners have reeled off six straight victories against the Horned Frogs, Gary Patterson’s defense will be a good test for a young offense still trying to achieve consistency.
Here are some highlights from head coach Lincoln Riley, center Creed Humphrey, quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner’s Tuesday media availability.
Riley pleased with Rattler’s Development:
Through three Big 12 Conference games, redshirt freshman Rattler has touched all the highs and lows of young quarterback play.
Excellent in the overtime periods against Texas, Rattler showed no fear fitting the ball into microscopic windows to his playmakers. But Rattler has also turned the ball over six times, throwing five interceptions along the way.
Rattler isn’t overthinking the decisions leading to his interceptions this season.
“It’s just throws I, you know, got to not make,” Rattler said. “I don’t think it’s that deep.”
“We work on it every day and of course I count tune it back and play more conservative, but I’m still gonna play my game but just play it smarter,” he said.
Lincoln Riley said he’s been pleased with how Rattler has approached the negative parts of his game, more than eager to put in the work to improve.
“It took a lot of guts to do what he did [against Texas],” Riley said.
“Obviously he’s got to hang onto the ball for us,” he said. “That’s a fine line because when you’re also a team’s primary playmaker, you’ve also got to make some plays too.”
“You can’t make plays playing scared,” Riley said.
Rattler said he’s been focused on ball security throughout the bye week.
“It ain’t high school no more, and listen I can’t run around with the ball in one hand and that’s something I’ve been working on a lot,” he said.
“My goal is no more turnovers fumble-wise or interception-wise for the rest of the year.”
Wease and Stogner stepping up:
Stogner and Theo Wease looked like the receiving threats that we promised before the season in the second half against the Longhorns.
Combining for 10 catches, including a Stogner touchdown and Wease two-point conversion in overtime, Rattler began to connect with the highly touted pass catchers.
Rattler, Wease and Stogner were all members of the same recruiting class, a bond Rattler said he hasn’t forgotten.
“Me and [Stogner] go way back. We met when we committed, I think the same week,” Rattler said. “Me and [Stogner] definitely have a connection on the field and off so he’s been a huge weapon for us this year.”
While Rattler has targeted Stogner all season, he said he made a concerted effort to get Wease the ball in the Cotton Bowl.
“I told myself after the Iowa State game I needed to get the ball to Theo a little bit more,” Rattler said.
“That’s one of our best weapons right there,” he said. “I know he’s going to make plays for me and this offense whenever we need him to.”
Wease didn’t see as much of the field as Stogner last season as he was backing up CeeDee Lamb, but Stogner said Wease continues to battle to get better every day.
“He’s changed as a player but not his mentality, that’s what makes him so good,” Stogner said. “He came with the same mentality last year just working to get better every day and he does the same thing this year.”
“That’s why he’s so great because he works so hard,” Stogner said.
Rattler faces Patterson defense for the first time:
The defense has always been the focal point for the Horned Frogs under Patterson.
Often lauded as one of the most fundamentally sound defenses in the Big 12, Rattler will have a lot to digest on Saturday.
“They’ve got a great, great defense. A lot of good players on that side of the ball,” Rattler said. “I’m sure Coach Patterson has a bunch of things ready for us so you know we just got to be ready for whatever.”
The offensive line play could go a long way to helping Rattler stay protected and give him enough time to pick apart the TCU secondary.
Riley said he was pleased with how the offensive line played against Texas, but he’s challenged them to take another step forward on Saturday.
“Proud of the way those guys have played against Texas and we’ve pushed them to take it even to another level this week against a TCU front that’s always good, always active, always tough to figure out,” Riley said.
Humphrey said the way Rattler prepares for games should help him in his first outing against the Horned Frogs.
“It’s really just, you know, trusting what he sees and things like that,” Humphrey said. “He’s one of those guys who takes preparation very seriously and I think he’ll be prepared for sure.”
“He’ll do a good job,” he said.
Kick off for the Sooners and the Horned Frogs is at 11 a.m. on ABC. The radio broadcast of the game can be found on 107.7 FM The Franchise, along with live pre and post-game coverage all day on Saturday.