NORMAN- With ice blanketing the Oklahoma City metro, Lincoln Riley gave an abridged press conference previewing the matchup with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The weather pushed practice back later into the day, meaning the media just spoke to Riley and will reconvene to speak with the players this evening.
Riley said he was excited about the upcoming trip to Lubbock with the Red Raiders coming off their most complete game of the season.
Freshman wide receivers shine
Theo Wease and Marvin Mims both posted career highs in receiving yards against the TCU Horned Frogs, gaining 87 yards and 132 yards respectively.
Wease’s big performance against Texas in the Cotton Bowl helped give him the confidence to continue to grow in the offense, Riley said.
“He made so many big critical catches in that game and kind of made them in different ways and that’s a big key,” Riley said. “I think he’s becoming a more complete receiver.”
“He’s got a lot of growth to go, but he’s making tough, competitive catches.”
Riley said he’s not surprised by Mims’ early success based on how he handles himself on and off the field.
“He is very very dependable even at a young age, it kind of feels like he’s been here for a long time,” Riley said. “Guys that give you that feeling normally are able to contribute early.”
Mims’ has hauled in six touchdowns in his first five games, the most ever through five games for a freshman wideout at Oklahoma.
Not only has Mims contributed in the passing game, but he has taken over as the Sooners punt returner.
“Punt returns are one of those things that you can tell pretty quick if a guy wants to do it or not,” Riley said.
Tons of guys say they’d like to return punts, but very few actually want the job, Riley said.
“It takes skill but it also takes a lot of guts,” Riley said.
Against TCU Mims posted a career long 38-yard punt return, pushing him to 143 yards for the season in the return game.
Rushing attack coming along
The Sooners had a solid day on the ground against the Horned Frogs, but Riley said if not for a couple of plays it would have looked a lot better.
“We had about three or four just ridiculously dumb plays the other day that cost us like minus seven [yards], minus eight [yards], minus ten [yards],” Riley said. “The execution in the run game from the o-line and [running] backs was much cleaner.”
The improved blocking up front paved the way for T.J. Pledger’s second straight game rushing for over 100 yards.
“I think he’s gaining confidence in himself and the [offensive] line, you know, trusting what he’s seeing. You just see steps each week,” Riley said. “He’s got a toughness and an attitude to continue to work and get better.”
Pledger finished Saturday with 122 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
No news on suspended players
In his opening statement, Riley provided little clarity on the status of suspended players Ronnie Perkins, Rhamondre Stevenson and Trejan Bridges.
“I still have nothing new on the three suspended players so I’ll let you know when I do,” Riley said.
The trio were initially reported to be suspended for six games, though Riley nor the program has confirmed the length of the suspensions.
Dating back to the Peach Bowl, last week’s game against TCU would have marked the sixth game since the suspensions began.