Oklahoma State fans hold up newspapers with a picture of former OU football coach Lincoln Riley during Oklahoma's introduction before a Bedlam basketball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.

Bedlam Basketball

Lincoln Riley asserts he didn’t poach Oklahoma players

New Southern California coach Lincoln Riley said Tuesday that he didn’t bring any players from Oklahoma with him to Los Angeles — he got them from the transfer portal.

Riley made the comments during an interview on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”

Cowherd asked Riley if it was sensitive bringing OU transfers Caleb Williams, wide receiver Mario Williams and cornerback Latrell McCutchin to the Trojans.

Riley agreed that it was, but that he didn’t.

“We didn’t take players from Oklahoma. We took players from the transfer portal,” Riley told Cowherd. “Those players and their families had to make a decision to either stay at that university, just like any other player has to make, or to enter the portal where then they can be recruited by anybody in the country. That’s up to those players and their families and we have nothing to do with that.

“But once a player gets into a portal where they are open to any school in the country, we would be crazy not to take a look at and try to help our football team,” Riley went on. “All of a sudden they were good enough for us to take at Oklahoma, but now we wouldn’t give them a chance just because we’re in a new spot? That part never really made sense to me.”

Caleb Williams took over the starting job six games into the 2021 season under Riley at OU and finished the season with 1,912 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against four interceptions. Williams rushed for another 442 yards, scoring six touchdowns.

When he first entered the portal, Williams’ father, Carl Williams, said the quarterback “doesn’t have a destination” picked out.

Mario Williams, who is unrelated to Caleb, caught 35 passes for 380 yards and four TDs as a freshman in 2021.

–Field Level Media

OU coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams (13).

QB Caleb Williams following Lincoln Riley to USC

Former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams announced Tuesday he will follow former Sooners coach Lincoln Riley and transfer to Southern California.

Williams, who entered the transfer portal on Jan. 3, posted a Trojans hype video on Twitter with the hashtag #FightOn. It featured himself wearing a USC uniform.

Williams confirmed his career move in an interview with ESPN.

“I wanted to go somewhere I thought would provide me with the best development both on and off the field,” he told ESPN. “… Getting to know Coach Riley and gaining familiarity with his offense definitely played a part in my selection, as well as already knowing some the guys on the team.”

As an Oklahoma freshman in 2021, Williams threw for 1,912 yards with 21 touchdowns against four interceptions after replacing Spencer Rattler six games into the season. Williams rushed for another 442 yards and scored six TDs as the Sooners finished 11-2.

Williams also considered UCLA, Georgia and Wisconsin and had not ruled out staying at Oklahoma.

Williams told ESPN he filed all the paperwork with USC last week and starts classes on Tuesday. He expects to join team workouts soon.

“I want to get to work right away, earn the trust of my teammates, win championships and help bring USC back to being a top-rated program,” Williams said.

Riley has added 13 transfers from the portal since taking over the Trojans in November.

After announcing his transfer, Williams’ odds for winning the 2022 Heisman Trophy climbed from +1300 to +800 at PointsBet.com, while USC’s national championship odds went from +5000 to +3000.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams (13) throws a pass during the first half of the 2021 Alamo Bowl against the Oregon Ducks at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams enters transfer portal

Oklahoma phenom freshman quarterback Caleb Williams announced his intention to enter the transfer portal Monday but allowed for a possible return to Norman.

Williams threw for 1,912 yards with 21 touchdowns against four interceptions since taking over for Spencer Rattler six games into the 2021 season. Williams rushed for another 442 yards, scoring six touchdowns.

But Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley left for Southern California, while Brent Venables was hired to replace him. Former OU coach Bob Stoops coached the Sooners in their bowl game victory over Oregon.

“I came to Oklahoma with a game plan, but with all of the recent changes, I need to figure out what is the right path for me moving forward,” Williams posted, in part, to Twitter. “… The only way I can speak with other schools and see who may offer the best preparation and development for my career is by entering the portal. Staying at OU will definitely be an option as I begin this process.”

Williams is coming off a three-touchdown performance in Oklahoma’s 47-32 win over the Ducks in the Alamo Bowl. The Sooners finished 11-2.

Venables and OU athletic director Joe Castiglione released a joint statement Monday regarding Williams’ announcement.

“While we believe OU provides Caleb the best opportunity to develop as a player and realize his goals for college and beyond, we respect his right to explore his options following key staffing changes here,” the statement read, in part.

Carl Williams, Caleb’s father, told Yahoo Sports that Caleb Williams “doesn’t have a destination” picked out and that his path to becoming an NFL quarterback is the most important factor.

Rattler transferred to South Carolina last month.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley talks with Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler (7) before a two point-conversion attempt during the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.  Oklahoma won 55-48.

Ou Vs Texas

Rattled: Oklahoma cancels media time amid QB drama

Oklahoma football won’t be holding its scheduled media availability on Wednesday, and reporters won’t be hearing from coach Lincoln Riley until after the fourth-ranked Sooners’ game Saturday against TCU.

That way, he won’t have to answer questions about the quarterback situation, described in detail Tuesday in a report by Oklahoma’s student newspaper. Riley hasn’t named a starter for the upcoming game.

The OU Daily reported that it was freshman Caleb Williams and not preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Spencer Rattler who took the bulk of the snaps with the first team at Tuesday’s practice. It was Williams who rallied the Sooners to a last-minute 55-48 win over rival Texas on Saturday after Riley benched Rattler.

A student reporter went to great lengths — and likely heights — to get the QB information. In fact, he watched practice from a “public building near the OU football practice field, with no athletics employees discouraging observation,” and saw Williams take 15 snaps to seven for Rattler in the “pre-stretching portion of practice.”

The reporter later observed Williams working with starting receivers Jadon Haselwood, Marvin Mims and Mike Woods, as Rattler threw to a group of backups.

And now, questions are arising about the future of Rattler in Norman, where he was asked to follow Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and runner-up Jalen Hurts.

It hasn’t been an easy season for Rattler, who has completed 130 of his 175 pass attempts for 1,371 yards in six games. He has 10 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

His worst game of 2021 came Saturday on the biggest stage — the Red River Showdown with the Longhorns. He completed just 8 of 15 passes for 111 yards and an interception and had minus-9 yards rushing with a fumble before giving way to Williams.

Mike Rattler, the quarterback’s father, confirmed reports Spencer missed practice on Monday, saying he was ill and that Riley gave his OK. Mike Rattler opened up to the school paper on the family’s thoughts about Spencer’s Oklahoma future.

“For right now, he’s focused on working for this team, and we’ll see what happens after Jan. 10,” Mike Rattler told the OU Daily. “Hopefully he’ll be playing in the national championship on Jan. 10, and then after that we’ll evaluate where he is as far as if any teams are interested in him in the NFL, we’ll consider that.

“If we think, ‘Hey, you know what, we may ought to do another year or something at Oklahoma, wherever’… we’re leaving our options open whereas that is concerned, but for the most part, right now, we don’t even talk about it, because he’s got a task at hand to deal with.”

Rattler, from Phoenix, was the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the Class of 2019. He backed up Hurts in his first season, then took the reins in 2020. In 11 games, he completed 214 passes for 3,031 yards with 28 touchdown passes against seven interceptions. He added six rushing scores.

Williams came to Oklahoma as the No. 2 quarterback prospect and No. 7 player overall in the Class of 2021, as ranked by the 247Sports composite.

Against Texas, Williams was 15-of-24 passing for 211 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 88 yards and a touchdown as the Sooners (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) remained unbeaten.

–Field Level Media