NORMAN — Fans got their first look at the 2021 Oklahoma Sooners football team on Saturday in the return of the Red/White Game.
Canceled a year ago as the pandemic set in, this year’s spring game spotted the defense 21 points in an effort to put pressure on the offense and make them work from behind.
Without major contributors like Isaiah Thomas, Pat Fields, Brian Asamoah and Jalen Redmond, the defense succumbed to the late game heroics of Micah Bowens and Marcus Major as the White Team secured a late 30-29 win.
Andrew Raym is the leader in the clubhouse at center
Much has been made of who will replace Creed Humphrey at the heart of the Oklahoma line, but if Saturday’s Red/White Game is any indication, Broken Arrow’s Andrew Raym has a leg up on the position.
Starting by snapping the ball to Spencer Rattler, the sophomore got plenty of work protecting OU's QB1 as he settles into his new role. His main competition for the job, Chris Murray, actually slotted off of Raym’s right hip as he manned the right guard spot for the day.
Since Tyrese Robinson didn’t suit up for the game, it is yet to be seen if guard will be Murray’s priority, or if he’ll battle Raym for the spot into the season. But for now, it’s Raym’s spot to lose.
Caleb Williams lives up to his billing
Don’t call it a quarterback competition. Seriously, don’t.
There is no quarterback controversy in Norman, but that doesn’t mean Sooner fans shouldn’t feel good about what true freshman Caleb Williams brought to the table.
Getting things rolling by showing off his wheels, Williams settled in and began to flash the arm talent which saw him ranked the No. 1 overall player in the country in Sports Illustrated All-American’s SI99.
Engineering the first touchdown drive of the day at the end of the first half, Williams calmly scanned the field and found Jackson Sumlin working across the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
The Washington, D.C. native looked comfortable in Lincoln Riley’s offense, and will be a great asset to keep Rattler on his toes and competing every day in practice.
Williams completed 10-of-11 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, and added 42 yards on the ground on five carries.
Sooner secondary looked the part
Alex Grinch and Roy Manning’s secondary has arrived. Officially gone are the days of an undersized secondary, as OU defensive backs looked the part before the ball was even snapped.
They held up their end of the bargain on the field, making the Oklahoma receivers work for their yards.
Platooning two different secondaries in the first half, Rattler and Williams were forced to hold onto the football and scan the field to find a streaking wide out, and most of the time a defender was in position to make a play on the football.
Bryson Washington came the closet to hauling in an interception, gaining position on Austin Stogner in the south end zone, but he was unable to get a foot down to complete the takeaway.
The defense only allowed Rattler to complete 6-of-14 passes for 116 yards, keeping the redshirt sophomore on his toes all afternoon long.
True freshmen even got in on the action for the OU secondary as Jordan Mukes led the team with six tackles on the day.
Grinch and Manning will have plenty of options to decide their best five guys to roll out between now and the season opener against Tulane.