Oklahoma football: COVID-19 and its impact

oklahoma football

This week the University of Oklahoma athletic department released its COVID-19 numbers stating of the 803 athletes and athletic staff members tested, only one test came back positive. Only two athletes within the whole department are still dealing with the virus.

With stellar COVID-19 numbers, the Oklahoma football depth chart should run pretty deep with a full strength team. However, in the eyes of head coach Lincoln Riley, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“Yeah, no, we’re not close to a full two-deep and haven’t been close to it at any point this year…There’s just a lot more to it than there’s ever been,” Riley said during his press conference this week.

Looking on the positive side of things, Riley mentioned the current circumstances have given many young players at a chance to get more experience in real game situations than in years past. Riley said though no players are testing positive, some are still having to quarantine due to direct contact with other students who have the virus. This is something that greatly contributes to Oklahoma’s scarce depth chart.

“A lot of guys getting some opportunities may be earlier than we expected, or maybe even than they expected. So we’re growing with that. But listen, that’s this year. You’ve got to play with the guys you got. And you gotta get the guys that you have ready.”

Riley stated when explaining why it feels from an outside perspective, the Sooners may not be up to par where they have been in years past.

Riley pointed out even though numbers are low, the inconstancy of being able to have some players at practice plus having key players sitting out games strongly contributes to many of the struggles the Sooners continue to face throughout this season.

On top of inconsistency in players, it is also important to note Oklahoma football did not have a regular offseason. Starting later than a lot of other programs as well as not having any offseason in the spring, the Sooners seem to be far more behind in progress than we would normally see at this point this season.

Going into the biggest weekend of the year for the program, Oklahoma vs. Texas, Sooner football appears to be headed to Dallas with what should be a pretty deep depth chart. However, with so many other factors, Riley and his players seem to be working overtime this week in spite of the many obstacles they have faced to beat the team down south this weekend.