Lincoln Riley: 'We Get One Shot at This'

Sooners head coach addresses pandemic response, college football's timing, Jadon Haselwood's injury and more during a 30-minute Zoom call with media
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Lincoln Riley has fielded umpteen questions about how the COVID-19 athletics shutdown has affected his staff and the Sooner football program.

Now, over two months into the nationwide quarantine period, the Oklahoma head coach is beginning to come to terms with the chaotic state of college football.

"In some ways, it’s kinda fun," he said. "I think we’ve embraced that part of it. You gotta be careful about over-preparing; it’s more about having your priorities in order. It’s so unpredictable now; it’s difficult to sit down and put it on a calendar. We can sit there and guess and throw darts blindfolded at the board and hope one of them lands, but that’s not been our stance.”

When asked for his thoughts on the upcoming season, Riley remained optimistic that there will be college football in 2020, but said that everyone involved in the process needs to be deliberate about bringing the athletic landscape back up to speed.

“I definitely think we’ll play," Riley said. "When we play, I think everybody’s got to have a very open mind about this. We’re not the NFL. There are some very, very huge differences; this is a totally different deal. All this talk about all these schools bringing players back on June 1st is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. But I do believe if we do it right and we don’t get ahead of ourselves, we’ll be able to play a season.

“In my opinion, we need to bring them in as late as we possibly can before we play a season. Every day that we bring them in is a day we could have gotten better. It's a day we could've learned more about the virus. It's a day PPE maybe gets better. It's a day closer to vaccine. It's a day that our testing equipment and testing capabilities get better, and it's just not worth it. So we've got to be patient. We get one shot at this, and we've got to do it right.”

Riley also shed some light on WR Jadon Haselwood's injury, which occurred in mid-April. He didn't offer specifics, but said that he's not ruling the sophomore out for the entire season.

“Jaden had a lower leg injury," Riley said. "He’ll miss the early part of the season, and we’ll have to see how he responds before we know anything further. It was non-football-related, non-workout-related, just a freak accident at home.”

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