The Daily Texan spoke with Caleb McCourry, sports editor of The OU Daily, ahead of Saturday’s annual Red River Rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma.
The Daily Texan: What do you think the expectations were for Oklahoma going into the season?
Caleb McCourry: One, you got Spencer Rattler, who was (a candidate) in the preseason Heisman voting. There were huge expectations for this guy to really be the next great OU quarterback with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts before him, so for one just with Spencer alone there were a ton of expectations. … Other than that, taking two early losses — no one expected that, especially against Kansas State and Iowa State.
DT: Speaking of those losses, what do you think went wrong?
CM: With Kansas State, for one, it was Spencer Rattler’s first start against a conference opponent, and he did not look comfortable at all. He threw three interceptions, two in the first half. And I think the big issue is just not being able to finish games, and it’s really a mystery as to why that’s happening because the defensive backs are one of the most experienced position groups on the team, and they were just failing to make tackles in the second half. It was very bizarre to watch. And then on the other side of the ball, you got the offensive line. … They really struggled to get Spencer Rattler comfortable.
DT: The past three seasons we’ve seen Baker, Kyler, Jalen — they were all transfers, so they had a little bit more experience. Do you think that has anything to do with it, just the fact that this is Rattler’s first time and he’s younger?
CM: It’s his first time starting games. It doesn’t matter how many stars you got next to your name when you come out of high school. There’s gonna be some growing pains. … I think a lot of OU fans are kind of needing to get used to the fact that he’s going to have to adjust unlike Jalen, Baker and Kyler.
DT: Texas lost on Saturday to TCU, and then with OU losing to Iowa State there are a lot of people saying, “Oh, this matchup doesn’t have high stakes like normal.” What do you think about that?
CM: I mean, Texas losing kind of opens up the discussion of who’s going to win the Big 12 because Texas going 2–0 in conference play into this game would’ve been a huge deal. But then losing to TCU, that kind of opens everyone's eyes a little bit, but I still think it’s a high-stakes game. It always is. It kind of sucks that there’s no State Fair (of Texas) and there’s going to be less fans. The atmosphere is going to be a little dead, but I still think it’s the best week of the year for Big 12 football. There’s a lot of returning players for OU that know the magnitude of the game. I’m sure nothing’s changed with (senior quarterback) Sam Ehlinger’s mentality going into this. He’s been to what, three of these? I’m sure he knows that this is a big deal.
DT: You go to OU, but I’m wondering, who you got this weekend?
CM: I usually pick OU to win conference games, and it’s hard to pick against them. But after seeing these last two games, I tell you if the defensive backs don’t get their acts together with tackling, Texas is going to have a game against OU. But I think I’m still going to go with OU. I think it’ll be a close game.