NORMAN — Whoever wins Oklahoma’s 2020 quarterback derby between Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler, Lincoln Riley likes where they’ve started the race.
“You could tell we don’t have a new face in the room,” Riley said after day one of spring practice last week before OU called off all athletic activities for COVID-19 management.
“(They’re) just a little bit ahead on a lot of things.”
OU is breaking in a new quarterback for the third consecutive year.
After Kyler Murray replaced Baker Mayfield in 2018 and won the Heisman Trophy, he turned things over to Alabama grad transfer Jalen Hurts, who was the Heisman runner-up last season.
Mayfield, Murray and Hurts each won a Big 12 championship and led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff.
Now the Sooners’ line of succession (five straight Big 12 titles, four playoff appearances in five years) falls to either Mordecai or Rattler.
Mordecai is a 6-2, 208-pound third-year sophomore from Waco (Midway), Texas. He has appeared in eight games, including six last year as Hurts’ backup, and has thrown for 244 yards on 60-percent passing (18-of-30) with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Rattler, a 6-foot, 191-pound redshirt freshman from Phoenix (Pinnacle), played in just three games in his first year out of high school, completing 7-of-11 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Mordecai spent 2019 as the backup, but Rattler was first off the bench in the Sooners’ 63-28 blowout loss to LSU.
Now that the competition is apparently open, according to Riley, he wants to evaluate more than just their throwing mechanics and completion percentage.
“They can do as lot of things on their own in this time, and those things will grow and improve,” Riley said. “But how are they managing and running the group from an overall perspective?”
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