OU football: Young defensive backs getting closer to ready
NORMAN — OU’s two-deep depth chart has been far from incomplete through three games.
The bulk of the blame goes to COVID-19.
It’s led the Sooners to playing young players earlier than expected. It’s held them back from playing other young players.
“Listen, that’s this year,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “You’ve got to play with the guys you got. And you gotta get the guys that you have ready. I think you have to control what you can control and not worry about what-ifs or this or that.
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“Very simply, these are the guys you have, these are the guys you get ready, and you go out and you fight like hell and go play to win. That’s what we’ve got to do, that’s what we’re gonna continue to do, and we’re gonna continue to fight like crazy and do that.”
Riley said the development of some key freshmen — particularly in the secondary with Bryson Washington, D.J. Graham and Joshua Eaton — has been slowed by the pandemic.
Spring practice was almost entirely wiped out. Contract tracing or positive tests limited practices in the preseason and early part of the season for some.
But those players are getting closer entering the fourth game of the season against No. 22-ranked Texas.
“The development of those guys has been different,” Riley said. “And so there’s certainly a lot of talent there. We’re pushing like crazy to get those guys ready to play, because you’ve got to take that talent and still gotta run the calls and execute and go do it.
“And so I certainly think we’re getting closer and those guys are getting better, and giving us more and more reason to want to put them on the field.”