***Four days into Oklahoma’s preseason camp, none of the key position battles have been decided yet.
That includes the quarterback race between Kyler Murray and Austen Kendall.
However, Murray refuses to even call it a competition. No matter how many times he is asked, the redshirt junior is seemingly doing his best to keep a lid on any type of quarterback controversy.
“Like I’ve told you many times, I don’t look at it as a competition,” Murray said Monday after practice. “I just come in every day, work hard, try to get better.”
Murray did say he does feel more comfortable at this point in camp than he did last year.
“Just like in baseball, when you get reps every day you’re going to get better at it, Murray said. “For me, the reps, seeing things, talking to coach Riley, and being around the guys, you can’t really beat it. The time being put in is always great for anybody.”
Murray also credits being able to be around his teammates as a factor in his comfortability.
“It means a lot to me to be with the guys all summer. Just building o the trust, trust factor,” Murray said. “Just being around them. Coming into camp, a couple of good days. It’s good to put the pads on. It’s been competitive. So, it’s been going good.”
One of the things that have gotten Murray and the offense the most excited over the first few days has been what he has seen on the other side of the ball.
“No shade to any of the other defenses, but honestly, I feel like this is the most competitive camp that I have been in, so far,” Murray said. “It’s only day four. Seven-in Seven all summer, one on ones, everything has been competitive. I think there is just a different juice around the defense nowadays with a couple of new guys coming in, bring a different type of swagger. It helps them out and helps us out. Everybody gets better.”
***Competition on the O-line
There is competition across the board on the Oklahoma offense. That includes the offensive line where several positions up for grabs.
For senior Ben Powers, that has been good to see.
“It definitely pushes a lot of guys to give their best effort every single day,” Powers said. “You’ve got to watch the mistakes because you know there is someone behind working hard trying to get your spot.”
Because the competition along the line is so intense and filled with capable players, Powers knows he must expect anyone to be next to him on any play.
“It helps me. I have to be versatile and adjust to whoever is playing next to me,” Powers said. “Something we always talk about is that we have to be able to adjust on the fly. One play I look to the left, and I see a different guy, and next play I look in at center and I see a different guy, it teaches me to adjust and work on the fly. Whoever I got is what we got and we’re going to work with it.”
The new faces on the line haven’t damped the expectations from the quarterbacks.
“This is Oklahoma,” Murray said. “You’ve got guys leaving all the time to the league. Great players come here. That’s what we do here, we reload. Everybody wants to say these guys left. But we didn’t come here to ride the bench or not play. So, we have guys ready to step up. Bobby (Evans), Ben, Dru (Samia), Cody (Ford), Creed (Humphrey). All those guys. We have a lot of linemen ready to go. Our job is to step up, next man up.”
***Center of attention
One of the positions that are getting a lot of attention of the center battle between redshirt senior Jonathan Alvarez and redshirt freshman Creed Humphrey.
“It’s a problem that most teams don’t have,” Murray said. “Having two guys that can play at the next level if they put their mind to it. So, those two dudes are battling g it out. It’s been good.”
According to Alvarez, who has played center, guard, and tackle in the past, it’s good to be locked in at just one position this season.
“I really like it,” Alvarez said. “I was fine with doing all three. I do whatever coach (Bill Bedenbaugh) needs me to. But being able to stay at one position and just really hone in on that, I feel it’s really going to help a lot.”
***Basquine back in the fold
After suffering two Achilles injuries the last two years, wide receiver Nick Basquine is back on the field with his teammates. And according to the redshirt senior, he is showing no ill effects.
“You just have to go risk, I guess,” Basquine said. “You’re going to have to make that cut, make that jump eventually. So, you’re going to have to go out there and try it. If you do that, then you’re good. I’m good. I’m ready.”
Basquine coming back from two injuries has impressed his teammates with more than just what he has done on the field.
“He’s a great player, honestly,” wideout CeeDee Lamb said Basquine. “He is one of the most mentally tough people I have ever played with. Coming off two injuries, he is unbelievable.”
“I think it shows his true character,” Ford said. “He’s just never given up. He came back after the first injury, battled for a spot. Then he got hurt again. I’ve never seen him give up. I don’t think he will ever give up.”
***Freshman Brey Walker coming around
“Brey is going to be a good player,” Ford said. “He is slowly getting it. You can see it sometime. When we go in the film room, you can see he is getting better and better every day. I think that is the good thing for him.”