Spencer Rattler or Caleb Williams? Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley says he hasn't made QB decision

·3 min read

If Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley has made a decision about his team’s situation at quarterback, he’s not ready to let the public know.

During OU’s epic come-from-behind win over Texas over the weekend, Riley benched starter Spencer Rattler for five-star freshman Caleb Williams. Rattler was the preseason betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy but has had some struggles so far this season. Rattler had an interception and a fumble in the first half as Texas jumped out to a big lead, so Riley made the switch to Williams. It paid off in a big way as Williams threw for 212 yards, rushed for 88 yards and had three total touchdowns in a wild 55-48 win.

With Oklahoma set to return to the field at home against TCU on Saturday, Riley said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference that the situation will be evaluated during the week of practice and he’s not sure if he will publicly name a starter.

"I don't know if we will or not. I still haven't made that decision yet, certainly. I think, just like any position, I think we'll look at the game plan vs. TCU, continue to evaluate these guys as they practice and go with who helps us the most,” Riley said. “Certainly we had really good contributions from both of them last week to help us win that game and may need that as we go forward.”

Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) throws downfield as Texas defensive back Anthony Cook (11) closes in during the second half of an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Dallas. Oklahoma won 54-48. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) throws downfield as Texas defensive back Anthony Cook (11) closes in during the second half of an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Dallas. Oklahoma won 54-48. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Rattler was the team’s starter in 2020 as a redshirt freshman. He showed flashes of brilliance but also struggled with inconsistent play at times. He’s been up-and-down again this year and has had issues with turnovers. Oklahoma’s offense just hasn’t looked anywhere near as explosive as it had in previous seasons during Riley’s tenure. In the win over Texas, however, OU had a season-high 662 yards offensively.

It’s clearly going to be a tricky situation to navigate for Riley and the OU coaching staff.

“We’ve got two guys in the room that are really good players and who we can win with, so we'll keep evaluating it and keep trying to put the best people on the field that help us win and move the ball and score points,” Riley said.

Riley: 'It's a great problem to have'

Riley said he’s not looking at the impending quarterback decision “as a hindrance” despite the potential fallout a situation of this magnitude can have.

“I’m looking at this like I've got two really good players in that room that are both high-level quarterbacks. I think it’s a great problem to have,” Riley said.

Riley has always had high-level quarterback play during his time at Oklahoma. He said Monday that the only time in his career he’s had to make a mid-season quarterback switch was during his time as the offensive coordinator at East Carolina.

“I think having been a head coach for a couple years now, I've had to make decisions at a lot of other positions, different battles as they go on and as they evolve," Riley said. "So I think we just kinda go back to who we are as a program. It's about competition. We know throughout the year you're gonna need a lot of guys, all sides of the ball, all positions, to contribute to be able to win. The other day was a good example.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting