OU’s head Football coach, Lincoln Riley, officially named Spencer Rattler the starting quarterback. After a back and forth battle with Tanner Mordecai, the Rattler era will officially begin Sept.12 against Missouri State.
While most fans expected Rattler to win the job, he has his work cut out for him. The young QB will face pressure unlike anything he’s faced before. After being spoiled with the successes of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts in recent years, Rattler will be responsible for carrying the hopes of Sooner Nation for years to come.
SpenDespite this, Lincoln Riley believes his QB is up to the task.
“He’s never been afraid of the moment, which for young players-that’s a key thing, and I don’t know that that’s really coached,” Riley said. That’s something that guys either have or they don’t at a young age.”
Rattler Vs Mordecai Aftermath
According to Riley, Mordecai recently returned to practice due to a nagging hamstring injury. Every rep is critical in a position battle, especially for quarterbacks. Gaining a complete understanding of the system and developing chemistry with your teammates goes a long way in overall success. In Mordecai’s case, his experience was the best thing going for him. Ultimately, the flashes Rattler showed last season combined with his long-term potential was too much to overlook. You don’t bring in a five-star kid and expect him to ride the pine for too long. That’s just the way it is. In any case, the Sooners can take solace in the fact that Mordecai is a quality backup quarterback. As the old saying goes, “You’re only as good as your backup quarterback.” Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles.
While I documented the supporting cast in my previous article about the Rattler-Mordecai battle, there have been some drastic changes in personnel. Leading rusher, Kennedy Brooks, decided to opt out of the 2020 season back on August 13th. With Brooks and Trey Sermon gone (Transfer to Ohio State), the Sooners will look to Rhamondre Stevenson and TJ Pledger to lead the ground attack. Stevenson racked up 515 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns while averaging 8 yards per carry. Pledger racked up 65 yards on 10 carries last season in spot duty. Riley said the Pledger has been the most impressive in practice up to this point. Look out for redshirt freshman, Marcus Major, and true freshman, Seth Mcgowan, to get some opportunities as well.
In the receiving core, Jadon Haselwood suffered a lower leg injury earlier in the offseason. His estimated recovery date is unknown. The Sooners will look for Charleston Rambo, Theo Wease, and transfers Theo Howard and Obi Obialo. Howard, a UCLA transfer, started 24 games for the Bruins, hauling 119 passes for 1,359 yards and 9 touchdowns in the process. Obialo started every game for Marshall back in 2018, but missed most of 2019 with an injury. The offensive line, led by All-American junior Creed Humphrey, remains intact.
Fans weren’t allowed to get an up-close look at the quarterback battle due to the spring game being canceled. Despite this, Riley has expressed the utmost confidence in his new signal caller and looks forward to allowing Rattler to lead the team into the next decade.
“Spencer has played very well and is certainly very deserving of it,” Riley said. I just felt like there was enough separation right now.”
Rattler completed 7 of 11 passes for 81 yards and 1 touchdown in three games last season.