* The next Mayfield/Murray might not be out there for Riley. At least not in 2019. Maybe Rattler gets there. Maybe Mordecai gets there. Maybe Kendall really is close. But at some point, likely in 2019, OU’s run of Heisman-caliber quarterbacks will end. The college football gods demand it.
At some point, the Sooners are going to have to learn to win with a mortal at quarterback. And Hurts, with all those victories and all those games against great teams, would seem to be a decent mortal to fall back on.
Hurts has quarterbacked against Southern Cal, Clemson, Georgia twice, Texas A&M twice, Florida State, Auburn twice, Florida, Washington, LSU twice and Mississippi State twice and Tennessee twice.
In those 18 games, huge games for Alabama, Hurt completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,697, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Not up to OU’s standards. But Hurt also rushed for 1,028 yards in those games, on 229 carries. Murray ran like Greg Pruitt. Hurts runs like Lydell Carr.
Riley would have to do some adjusting to Hurts. Which leads us to…
* We – the media, the Oklahoma football machine, the NFL, the entire football universe – have declared Riley a quarterback whisperer. Well, OK. Let’s find out.
Hurts is not some player off the scrap heap. Hurts, albeit playing for Godzilla, has won football games in a bunch of tough environments against a bunch of quality opponents. Don’t look at the numbers. Just remember that second half against Georgia in December. Did that look like a quarterback Riley couldn’t use?
So I don’t know. Riley made Murray go through a quarterback derby until 10 days before kickoff. Riley would make Hurts do the same. Does Hurts want assurances that he’ll be the starter? That would be problematic. Does Riley want a more pure thrower? Maybe.