Presser notes: Lincoln Riley is comfortable heading into third season

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally game week in Norman!

Lincoln Riley and company held the first game week press conference of the 2019 season ahead of the Oklahoma Sooners’ Sunday night bout against the Houston Cougars.

Most of the offseason attention around the program has centered around Alabama grad transfer QB Jalen Hurts and first year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. On Monday, Riley, redshirt sophomore C Creed Humphrey, redshirt senior DT Neville Gallimore and junior TE Grant Calcaterra addressed the media about kicking off the season and more.

Riley on not releasing a depth chart

On Monday, a blank depth chart was released, which of course caused many to wonder why. Lincoln Riley was asked about the reasoning behind this move and whether or not it was for strategic purposes.

“Not strategic. Once again, this is a big week for us. We’ve still got some position battles going on, we’ve got some spots where we’re going to have multiple guys play and haven’t made some decisions yet on starters. Even in a couple positions we’ve still got as many as three guys that could play a majority of the game, so it’s just to give us coaches a better chance to evaluate it and hopefully give you guys something a little bit more accurate mid-week.”

Riley on Jalen Hurts staying at Alabama in 2018

With the NCAA Transfer Portal becoming a trendy out for a lot of back up quarterbacks at high profile programs over the last couple seasons, Jalen Hurts surprised everyone when he decided to not only stay at Alabama behind the younger Tua Tagovailoa, he also turned down a chance to redshirt by making himself available for the Crimson Tide in more than four games. Lincoln Riley was asked about his starting QB and what that kind of selflessness says about him.

“He’s a team guy, you know? He is certainly a team guy. He’s shown that since he got here. I can’t speak too much about the time at Alabama because I wasn’t there, but just getting to know him he wanted to do that for his team. He’s either an all in or all out kind of guy, and he was all in with that team and I don’t think it ever really crossed his mind much.”

Riley on having the spotlight on Sunday

The last time Oklahoma was playing in the one and only nationally televised football game in a day was probably the last time the Sooners were in the national championship game. That’s the kind of unique situation OU will find itself in on Sunday night, when no other college or pro games of any kind will be going on. On prime time ABC, it’s the kind of exposure programs typically dream about. Lincoln Riley spoke about the significant opportunity to have the eyes of the sport focused on Norman for a night.

“It provides exposure for this university, for our community, for our state that’s honestly hard to get on any other level like that. We understand the value that this program brings to this area and to this school. We know we’re just a part of it, but we know as far as exposure and putting eyes on Oklahoma and so many people’s first impression of Oklahoma will be what they see from our football team.”

Riley on his excitement for the defensive line

In 2018, the lack of production from the D-line was the root of many problems for the Sooners’ defense. Coming into 2019, a lot of depth and experience returns for DC Alex Grinch. Lincoln Riley shared his thoughts on the pivotal unit up front.

“It’s probably the position group I’m most excited to see play Sunday night if I had to pick one. The depth there is different, and we’re certainly going to rotate a lot of guys. A lot of guys have shown us that they’re able and ready to play. […] They’ve certainly been one of the more impressive groups on the team throughout this fall camp and I expect to see that Sunday night.”

Full press conference links

Creed Humphrey

The biggest takeaway from starting center Creed Humphrey’s presser, other than his hulking presence, was his footwear choice. The man likes his Crocs, and will do his best to convince you of their versatility by season’s end.

Neville Gallimore

‘Big Canada’ was asked a number of questions about his 30-pound weight loss this offseason, and he dished on the ideal food he’d like to eat as a cheat meal.

“If I was really hungry, like right now, and I didn’t care about (nutrition), I think I’d probably go to Classic’s and get me a double cheeseburger.”

Great choice, man, great choice.

Grant Calcaterra

I hope Grant ‘Calcutta’ Calcaterra has plenty of TV time this fall on the sidelines because that ‘stache and those locks deserve their time in the limelight. Utterly glorious.

Lincoln Riley

Never mind the fact that Lincoln Riley is wearing a pullover in August, he’s relatively excited for the start of the season. He does a good job of playing it close to the vest, but with so many possibilities ahead and all the questions that could be answered against Houston, it’s easy to understand why he would feel that way.

Bonus: New food! (click on the tweet to scroll through the thread)

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Source: Crimson and Cream Machine