Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said Tuesday that he does not plan on naming a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against TCU, days after freshman Caleb Williams replaced Spencer Rattler and led the Sooners to a comeback win over Texas.
“We’ll see how it goes Saturday,” Riley said.
After two turnovers early, Rattler was replaced by Williams, whose 300 yards of total offense were the most ever by a true freshman against Texas, as he rallied the Sooners to a 55-48 win in the Red River Showdown. It was the latest in a building controversy as OU’s offense has struggled. During a 16-13 win over West Virginia on Sept. 26, Oklahoma students booed Rattler after an interception and chanted “We want Caleb.”
“Fans pay for their tickets,” Rattler told ESPN in a “College GameDay” interview. “At that time, we weren’t moving the ball like we wanted to. [That] showed.”
Rattler was not at practice on Monday, but Riley said he had given him the day off. Rattler returned to practice Tuesday, and Riley said he would not anticipate a situation where one of the players left the team.
“There’s never any guarantees,” Riley said. “You can’t predict the future, but I would anticipate having both of those guys the rest of the season.”
Riley said he does not like rotating quarterbacks in a game, citing a challenges in the rhythm of the game, or having to deal with different sets of game plans. But he stressed that having both quarterbacks as an option is not a negative for him.
“I think it’s a heck of a lot more of a problem for me if I’m picking between two guys that I feel aren’t ready,” he said. “I’m picking between two really good choices that I think can both go play extremely well — and have played extremely well.”
Riley defended Rattler among social media speculation that he was “selfish.”
“I mean, that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Riley said. “And as a coach you don’t put a guy in there if you’re worried that he’s selfish and he’s not mentally locked in, he’s not ready to help the team.”
He again reiterated that Rattler went back in for the 2-point conversion play that tied the score at 41-41 after being benched, which he called Saturday and again today “the single most important play of the game.”
“I don’t know that in one answer I could give you a synopsis of this guy, who he is, with this team who he is behind closed doors. What he’s going through is not easy. He’s been a tremendous teammate the entire way through,” Riley said. “He’s not perfect. He’s learning, he’s growing, he’s made mistakes like all of us do at that age but, but, if we’ve seen his worst, he’s gonna be OK. He’s a heck of a kid, he’s a really good player. He got a lot of big days and bright days ahead of him.”