No one tell Katy Perry and risk ruining her #ManCrushMonday: It appears as though Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield is starting Week 1 for Oklahoma ahead of Trevor Knight.
Breaking: A source tells the Tulsa World that Oklahoma will name Baker Mayfield as its starting quarterback. #Sooners
— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) August 24, 2015
— Ryan Aber(@ryaber) August 24, 2015
Baker Mayfield’s had a rather remarkable college journey just a few years in. A walk-on at Texas Tech, he ascended to the starting lineup in place of the injured Davis Webb. A few weeks into his tenure with the Red Raiders, the dual-capable Mayfield became a strong contender for the 2013 season’s September Heisman.
Despite winning Big 12 Freshman of the Year, it became evident Baker Mayfield was never going to be Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s guy.
However, Mayfield’s time in Lubbock goes a long way to explain how the one-time walk-on and transfer is in position to quarterback a Big 12 title contender.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops hired new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley from East Carolina in the offseason. Riley’s addition is meant to inject new life into an offense that suffered through stagnation in a disappointing 2014.
However, even before the inconsistency of the Sooner offense in 2014, Oklahoma’s passing offense underwhelmed in the years since Heisman winner Sam Bradford flourished under coordinators Kevin Sumlin and Kevin Wilson.
Riley brings a philosophy akin to that of Sumlin and Wilson. Under his watch, East Carolina had one of the most prolific offenses in college football. Riley cultivated his scheme under the Mike Leach coaching tree as an assistant to Ruffin McNeill.
Also under that tree? Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury. And, before he headed to Lubbock as head coach, Kingsbury worked with the former Sooner offensive coordinator Sumlin at both Houston and Texas A&M.
The concepts of Riley’s game plan are similar to those Baker Mayfield’s already run in live-game action.
Of course, neither experience nor familiarity are enough to win a starting quarterback job or succeed in that role. Not on that their own, at least.
But Baker Mayfield’s skill set is reminiscent of that of Riley’s former quarterback, Shane Carden. Carden flourished at East Carolina, passing for almost 12,000 yards in three seasons and scoring 86 touchdowns.
The two are most identical physically, but more importantly, Mayfield’s demonstrated a fearless mentality and willingness to throw the ball. Such was Carden’s signature, and a willingness to take risks will be essential to Oklahoma’s new aerial attack opening the field to running back Samaje Perine.