One of many nation’s premier quarterbacks might begin his staff’s recreation on Saturday sitting on the bench.
Spencer Rattler, as soon as thought-about the Heisman entrance runner and a possible top-five decide within the 2022 NFL Draft, has seen a stark reversal of fortune in 2021 — a 12 months during which he has garnered extra consideration for his on-field setbacks than his playmaking capability.
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That was most evident in his benching for true freshman Caleb Williams within the Pink River Showdown: He struggled mightily within the first half, committing two turnovers, as Texas jumped to a 28-7 first-quarter lead. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley has unwittingly created a media circus by refusing to call a starter or in any other case handle the scenario, however stated briefly following his staff’s 55-48 win that he benched Rattler due to turnover points.
Rattler completed the sport finishing eight of 15 passes for 111 yards and an interception, including minus-9 rushes and a misplaced fumble on 5 carries. Following his second turnover — each led to Texas touchdowns — Riley benched him in favor of Williams, beginning with the Sooners’ last drive of the primary half. That stated, Riley did credit score Rattler for finishing an important 2-point conversion try and tie the sport at 41-41 within the fourth quarter. He additionally stated he thought-about letting him return for the Sooners’ go-ahead landing drive, which Williams in the end led.
Saturday’s recreation wasn’t the primary time Rattler has struggled, not solely this 12 months, but additionally in earlier seasons. Contemplate the 2020 Pink River Showdown: Then, as in 2021, Riley benched Rattler in favor of Tanner Mordecai following a first-half fumble and interception by the starter. Not like 2021, Spencer took over following halftime, finishing 15 of 24 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns to steer the Sooners to a four-overtime victory over the Longhorns. Oklahoma did not lose one other recreation en path to a 9-2 season.
Following his benching vs. Texas, together with the second half vs. the Longhorns, Rattler accomplished 137 of 212 passes (61.1 %) for 1,983 yards and 17 touchdowns to 2 interceptions. He additionally added 4 dashing scores. In all, he completed the 2020 season with 3,031 passing yards, a 67.5 completion proportion and 32 whole touchdowns.
MORE: How Oklahoma shocked Texas for largest comeback in Pink River Showdown historical past
Six video games into the 2021 season, it appears Rattler was unable to construct off his redshirt freshman marketing campaign. Whereas it is true he has an absurd 74.Three completion proportion, he has solely handed for 300-plus yards as soon as and has interceptions in 4 video games. He has 10 passing touchdowns and 5 interceptions via six begins. He additionally has three dashing touchdowns and two fumbles.
Rattler’s comparatively below-average play hasn’t adversely affected the Sooners’ file, however Oklahoma has struggled to single-possession victories over unranked Tulane, Nebraska, West Virginia, Kansas State and No. 21 Texas. The one staff the Sooners have crushed by a couple of possession is FCS opponent Western Carolina, who misplaced 76-Zero to Oklahoma in Week 2.
Rattler’s play has been famous by Sooners devoted, together with followers who booed him in Week four towards West Virginia. In addition they known as for Williams to come back on in substitute in what was in the end a 16-13 Oklahoma win. Riley lastly obliged them two weeks later.
MORE: How Caleb Williams, Sooners modified Pink River Showdown, Large 12 race and extra in 55-48 thriller
The place does that go away Rattler transferring ahead? Beneath the NCAA’s new one-time switch rule, he might conceivably enter the switch portal and take over for a staff in want of a quarterback. He has three extra years of eligibility, together with the 2021 season, and will rebuild his draft inventory at one other college. One other potential transfer is to forgo his last years of eligibility to arrange for the NFL Draft, a transfer that has gained reputation lately amongst a number of draft-eligible prospects.
For now, it seems the Oklahoma quarterback is dedicated to the Sooners no less than via the season. His father, Mike Rattler, stated they may re-assess the scenario following the 2021 marketing campaign.
“For proper now, he’s centered on working for this staff, and we’ll see what occurs after Jan. 10,” Mike Rattler informed the OU Each day. “Hopefully he’ll be enjoying within the nationwide championship on Jan. 10, after which after that we’ll consider the place he’s so far as if any groups are thinking about him within the NFL, we’ll think about that.
“If we predict, ‘Hey, you understand what, we may must do one other 12 months or one thing at Oklahoma, wherever’… we’re leaving our choices open whereas that’s involved, however for essentially the most half, proper now, we don’t even discuss it, as a result of he’s obtained a job at hand to cope with.”