OU football: Sooners WR Trejan Bridges expected to be available for Big 12 Championship Game
ARLINGTON, Texas — OU wide receiver Trejan Bridges, who hasn’t played since last year’s Big 12 Championship Game, is expected to be available for Saturday’s title game, sources told The Oklahoman.
Bridges was suspended prior to last year’s Peach Bowl for testing positive for marijuana in an NCAA drug test, sources have said.
The sophomore, who was part of OU’s haul of five-star receivers in the 2019 class, has been practicing throughout his suspension and could be able to quickly slide into a significant role.
Last season, he had seven catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. He also spent some time at safety in the middle of the season before shifting back to receiver.
“He’s worked hard in practice,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said recently. “He’ll be ready when his opportunity comes up.”
One of Bridges’ touchdowns last season came against Iowa State, the Sooners opponent in Saturday’s game (11 a.m., ABC).
While defensive end Ronnie Perkins and running back Rhamondre Stevenson, the other two players suspended for the same infraction, returned Oct. 31 at Texas Tech, Bridges remained in limbo.
The process dragging on became frustrating to Bridges, Riley and others in the program.
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But Riley alluded to Bridges’ return possibly being imminent last week.
“It’s been very difficult for him,” Riley said. “And he’s doing his best to push through. And we’re going (our) best to help him through it. And he’s gonna get through it. He’s getting close here.
“So he’s gonna get through it and he’s gonna be OK and he’s gonna be a really good player. Just gotta hang in there a little bit longer.”
Sooners players take note of All-Big 12 team
OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said recently that Isaiah Thomas, who has played a variety of positions on the defensive line this season and has been effective wherever he’s played, should be a strong candidate for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Sooners’ quarterback Spencer Rattler leads the league in passing yards, passing efficiency, completion percentage and is one off the lead in touchdowns despite having attempted 46 fewer passes than the leader, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger.
But Thursday, when the league announced it’s All-Big 12 teams, as selected by the coaches, neither Rattler nor Thomas were on the first team. Rattler wasn’t even a second-team pick.
The Sooners didn’t have any defensive first-teamers, despite finishing No. 2 in the league in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense and leading the conference in sacks.
Iowa State had four defensive players on the first team and quarterback Brock Purdy was named first-team quarterback.
The selections quickly caught the eye of OU’s players.
“I got some for the disrespect,” Perkins, who was on the second team but who has been probably the most disruptive defender in the Big 12 since his return from suspension, posted on Twitter.
He also made reference to Michael Jordan’s famous ability to channel slights, whether real or imagined, into big-time performances, making reference to The Last Dance documentary that aired on ESPN earlier this year.
“One thing I learned during 'The Last Dance' is be careful who you (tick) off,” Perkins tweeted.
Rattler also tweeted about the selections, though he eventually deleted the post, leaving one up with a target emoji.
Stoops looking forward to facing old teammate on big stage
Sooners receiver Drake Stoops and Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar played in plenty of big games together at Norman North, most notably the 2016 Class 6A title game against Tulsa Union.
Saturday, they’ll be on opposite sides on a much bigger stage.
“I’m really happy for him,” Stoops said of Kolar’s success. “We’re both extreme competitors. It will be fun to be able to play each other (but) it’s a good thing that we’re both on offense so we don’t have to face each other.”