OU football: Sooners safety Pat Fields advocates for NCAA rule change; Lincoln Riley gives update on Caleb Kelly's recovery
Sooners safety Pat Fields advocates for NCAA rule change
OU safety Pat Fields agrees with Sooners coach Lincoln Riley that reform is needed when it comes to NCAA marijuana rules.
Fields was asked about the rule Wednesday after running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive back Ronnie Perkins returned last week after a six-game suspension stemming from, according to sources, a positive test for marijuana.
“We have to look at it not from disciplinary action because if you just discipline or suspend them or hold them out of games, but you don’t do anything to help them or seek out the reason for that, then what are you really doing to help the college athlete?” Fields said.
“I don’t think discipline and just discipline alone is very beneficial. I applaud Coach Riley because he has completely changed his outlook on it. He’s gone well out of his way to make sure we’re getting all the help we deserve or we need and making sure we’re looking at things from a mental-health perspective.”
Riley has openly criticized the rule, and recently talked about his attitude shift toward players using marijuana since he began his coaching career.
Fields also praised the way Perkins, Stevenson and receiver Trejan Bridges — who has yet to return — have handled their suspensions, saying they’ve been “more than great.”
“A lot of them had to put their pride aside,” Fields said. “They go from being a starter and a guy who we look to make plays to going to scout team. For a lot of people that’s part of football, but it takes a lot to put your pride aside, especially when you are dealing with not playing at all.”
- Related to this story
- Article: OU football vs. Kansas: Broadcast info, betting lines, matchup breakdown
- Article: OU football: Sooners H-back Brayden Willis' political activities go far beyond casting a ballot
- Article: OU football: Four-star recruit Billy Bowman Jr. finds 'the best fit' in committing to Sooners
- Article: OU-Texas rematch more likely than a Bedlam rematch
- Article: OU football journal: Sooners cut down on penalties, Saturday's broadcast moved, LaRon Stokes questionable
- Article: OU football: Ronnie Perkins made an immediate and strong impact on Sooners' defense
- Article: Sooner offense rides high, and OU is back to being a Big 12 title contender
- Article: OU football: Rhamondre Stevenson brings 'Las Vegas flair' to Sooners' backfield
- Article: OU football: 3-2-1 kickoff for Sooners vs. Kansas Jayhawks
- Article: How OU quarterback Spencer Rattler is avoiding costly turnovers after early struggles: 'It ain’t high school no more'
- Article: Tramel: Kansas football has become the most-depressed program in college football history
- Article: Live updates: OU football vs Kansas
- Video: OU Football: Avoiding turnovers and defensive standings
- Video: OU Football: Sooners dominate Texas Tech
Riley: ‘Open, consistent’ dialogue with potential returners
With this season not counting against any player for eligibility reasons, Riley and his assistants will have to have conversations with many more players to get a feel for their intentions beyond this season.
Riley said next week will be a big one for those conversations.
“We keep pretty open, consistent dialogue with our guys throughout the year,” Riley said. “I don’t think there are going to be any big surprises, but obviously with the guys who are seniors right now, you are going to have all those guys with an option to come back and play again. And I think we’ll have a handful that will.”
The Sooners have 12 scholarship seniors this season. The 2021 recruiting class shouldn’t be affected much, as teams will receive a waiver to go above the 85 scholarship limit for seniors who return for next season.
After this season, though, the Sooners will have to get back to that limit unless another change is made.
Riley: Kelly’s rehab going well
Caleb Kelly was expected to be a big piece of OU’s defense this season after playing just four games last year after suffering a knee injury before last season.
When he came back, Kelly made quick strides and was expected to be the starter at weakside linebacker this season.
But the senior suffered another knee injury before the season that figures to keep him out for the year.
“He’s coming back and handling it like we’ve seen him handle injuries before,” Riley said Thursday. “He’s on the fast track to getting better very, very quickly. It’s been great to continue to have him around. He always has a smile on his face. He always has a great vibe and energy about him.”
Ryan Aber, Staff writer