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OU football notebook: Lincoln Riley remains optimistic that Marquise Brown will play against Alabama | Sports Extra

Brown still questionable

Will Marquise Brown’s lower-leg injury keep Oklahoma’s All-American wide receiver out of the Dec. 29 Orange Bowl game against Alabama?

Lincoln Riley said Wednesday that the unspecified injury did not require surgery and he’s optimistic that Brown would play in the College Football Playoff semifinal game.

“Still too early (to determine),” Riley said about Brown’s status. “Working through it. It’s not a definite no, not a definite yes. We’re hopeful, but he hasn’t done much to this point.”

Brown, the Sooners’ top deep threat, has 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns on 75 receptions.

In other injury news, Riley said it’s possible junior safety Chanse Sylvie could play. He has missed the season following Achilles surgery. Meanwhile, Jalen Redmond (blood clots) won’t play the rest of this season.

“(Redmond is) doing well, on schedule,” Riley said. “I think he’ll have a fabulous career here, but it won’t be this year.”

Powers among the best

Offensive guard Ben Powers earned his fourth All-America honor on Wednesday when he was named to the American Football Coaches Association’s first team to earn consensus All-American status.

“It’s been a long road. It really has. You know, four or five years ago if you’d asked me if I’d be in this position, I would have told you you’re crazy,” Powers said. “So I’m just incredibly blessed to be in this position and I’m happy.”

Powers took a non-traditional route to OU. He wasn’t recruited much out of high school and spent one year at Butler (Kansas) Community College before joining the Sooners in 2016.

“I walked out of my Pittsburg State official visit with my dad and I told him, ‘Dad, I want to play on Sundays.’ I said I think the best road for that is to go to junior college and better myself,” Powers said.

“I think it worked out.”

Riley is completing his second year as a head coach, while Alabama’s Nick Saban is wrapping up his 23rd season as a collegiate head coach.

Saban’s consistency impresses Riley.

“He’s been able to do it at a high level. They’ve been able to recruit at a high level, which I think has been kinda the backbone of the whole deal,” Riley said. “They’ve been able to continually bring in really, really good recruiting classes. And then I would say it’s impressive to me the amount of consistency with turning over as many coaches as he’s had to do. They’ve done a great job.”

Riley said Alabama basically has a farm system for coaches, with talented, veteran coaches filling spots on the coaching staff.

“They’ve invested in it. They’ve brought in a ton of analysts, a ton of different things and he’s been able to cultivate those guys, and then when somebody leaves it’s like the next guy is already ready to step in,” Riley said. “It’s a unique model but it’s worked well for him and he’s obviously been at the forefront. A lot of respect for what he’s done throughout his career, the way he’s recruited, the way he’s won and certainly how he manages his problem.”

Back to normal

Kyler Murray said nothing has changed since he won the Heisman Trophy last weekend. That includes his Wednesday night dinner plans with the OU offensive line.

A popular question during Heisman weekend surrounded his professional baseball contract. How have the Oakland Athletics been throughout this process?

“They’ve kind of let me do my thing so far,” Murray said. “I haven’t really been in touch with them a lot this season. It’s been nice to just focus on football.”

— Eric Bailey, Tulsa World

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