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The Wednesday newsletter (Halloween edition): What scary things could happen in Lubbock this weekend? | OU Sports Extra

Welcome to the Halloween edition of the Wednesday newsletter.

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Lubbock has been a bit of a “House of Horrors” for the Sooners in the past. Sam Bradford concussion, Demarco Murray knee injury, Taurean Henderson “ghost” touchdown. What’s the spookiest scenario that could mean a nightmare night for OU? – Jason S.

My guess is J.D. Runnels still hears “Go Raiders” in his head every time that OU gets ready to play at Texas Tech. After the Sooners lost 23-21 in 2005, Runnels did an interview where a fan kept interrupting by yelling “Go Raiders.”

Oklahoma has won three straight games at Texas Tech and is a 13-point favorite to win on Saturday. A nightmare night for OU would be having a three-turnover day like in the Texas loss, allowing too many explosive plays or succumbing to a frenzied atmosphere at Jones AT&T Stadium.


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OU KSTATE Oct 27

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley high fives fans after the NCAA football game between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday, October 27, 2018. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World



Lincoln Riley has pulled his name from the Browns race. Will the Browns take a look at Ohio-born-and-bred Sooner legend Bob Stoops? – James R.

They may take a look at Stoops, but I’m not sure if the newly bearded, former coach is anxious to get back into the coaching life. I’d be more concerned about Riley, who said he could care less about the NFL right now. I don’t think Riley will leave OU anytime soon, but expect a number of suitors especially if the Sooners make the College Football Playoff again this season.

Plus a quick note – it was pointed out that Riley said he “could care less” instead of “couldn’t care less” during his NFL statement. Trust me, he meant couldn’t care less.


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EBRiley1

New Okahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley, sitting in his office on Tuesday, has an open-door policy for Sooners players. ERIC BAILEY/Tulsa World

This “Lincoln Riley to the NFL” talk has me wondering why the national pundits think any NFL job – now or later – would be better than the one LR has now at OU? He gets to pick his own players every year, makes his own nonconference schedule, he’s now putting together Top 5 national recruiting classes and he can compete for the ultimate prize every year … not to mention he works at a place that adores him, and will match or top whatever the NFL offers, just to keep him. Am I right? How many NFL jobs can top that? – Scott P.

All these reasons are why I don’t think Lincoln Riley will leave anytime soon. He’s the CEO of an elite football program. He’s only been the head coach for 17 months. He’s going to give loyalty to Oklahoma because the school gave him his first shot at becoming a head coach. He’s getting talent through recruiting and the Sooners should be a national player for years. I think winning a national championship at Oklahoma is definitely on his checklist. But, as I said earlier, there will be plenty of NFL teams trying to flirt with him.


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QB Spencer Rattler

Spencer Rattler, who has committed to Oklahoma, is the top-ranked quarterback in the 2019 class, according to ESPN. He is a standout at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix. Billy Hardiman/azcentral.com



Status on Spencer Rattler with OU? Will he enroll early if OU is still in the picture? – @ramball10

Rattler is still the quarterback of the 2019 recruiting class despite being suspended for the rest of his high school season. There are indications that he will not be an early enrollee.


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OU KSTATE Oct 27

Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles (44) dislodges the ball from Kansas State Wildcats tight end Blaise Gammon (89) during the NCAA football game between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday, October 27, 2018. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World



Do you feel the hit delivered from Bookie was the defense setting a new standard for the remainder of the season? Like a reborn defensive mindset? – @Bbig1232

If there was one single play to define the changeover to the Ruffin McNeill era, it may be Brendan Radley-Hiles (5-9) and his devastating hit on Kansas State tight end Blaise Gammon (6-7). It’s a physical play by a defense which has taken shots for its lack of physicality.


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OU KSTATE Oct 27

Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Jalen Redmond (31) and Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Kenneth Murray (9) tackle Kansas State Wildcats running back Alex Barnes (34) during the NCAA football game between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday, October 27, 2018. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World



How’s Bookie? Is Redmond going to get more minutes? And how’s Kenneth Murray’s health? – @Ericvanh1Eric

Radley-Hiles is improving, Riley said this week. Jalen Redmond (or J-Red, as McNeill calls him) will probably get more snaps as the season goes on. Said McNeill: “It’s good to see him come back and battle what he went through and be a part of the team.” And Murray is fine.


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Army Ou Sept 23

Parnell Motley intercepts a pass in overtime to seal the Sooners’ win over Army. OU’s defensive backs will be tested Saturday against Baylor. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World



Where are the Sooners’ picks? You’d think with a pass-happy Big12 that the secondary would be a free-for-all, but last season, OU’s interception leader had two for the season. Why? – @AltheaTulsa

This is the biggest head-scratcher over the past few seasons. Oklahoma only had eight interceptions last season (the program’s lowest total since 2004) and only had nine picks in 2016.

Oklahoma does have five interceptions this season (with three by Parnell Motley). It’ll be interesting to see if McNeill’s offense will force the issue a little more with the schedule flipping to pass-happy teams like Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas and West Virginia.

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