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OU football: Lincoln Riley says he's still unsure on quarterback battle, discusses Alex Grinch's intensity in OU's media day

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Hurts and Riley

Senior quarterback Jalen Hurts talks to head coach Lincoln Riley during the spring game April 12.

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley spoke to the media at OU's media day on Friday.

Riley — going into his third year at the helm of the Sooners — talked about topics that range from the Jalen Hurts quarterback battle to losing starters as a part of college football.

Here's what he had to say.

On the quarterback battle

Riley remained firm that he hasn't made a decision yet on who will be the starting quarterback this season. Senior quarterback Jalen Hurts is fighting for the top spot against redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai and redshirt junior Tanner Schafer. However, Schafer wasn't mentioned by Riley when asked about the competition.

"You always have to adjust and understand they're all fluid, they're all different and our No. 1 goal is to get the right guy," Riley said. "The philosophy behind that hasn't changed."

As the number of practices left before the season opener winds down, Riley says he would prefer to name a starter sooner than later.

"I would prefer to get it out of the way," Riley said. "You're able to start to focus your reps in on the starter and the team knows and everybody knows it and we can move on. But I haven't always done it that way. My first year at East Carolina we didn't name one until the first game. I'm not super experienced but I'm experienced enough to know I'm dang sure not doing it right now."

On Grinch's defense

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has shown both on and off the field that he isn't afraid to let his players know what he thinks. Riley says that Grinch's intensity is important to helping the Sooners' defense grow.

"You can't be scared to talk about the elephant in the room," Riley said. "You've gotta be real and you've gotta be honest and the only way that you can correct or change something is by not being afraid of those moments, not being afraid of being honest with what you're really seeing."

In the spring, Grinch said he'd tattoo the number 129 on his defensive players to signify OU's No. 129 ranking in pass defense, dead last in the FBS. Riley appreciates the honesty.

"You can't be scared to talk about the elephant in the room."

On Jalen Redmond

After appearing in just three games last season due to blood clots, redshirt freshman Jalen Redmond is practicing with no limitations.

"He's done well all summer, we don't anticipate any limitations with him," Riley said. "So yeah, he's done well and progressed well and I give a lot of credit to him and to our medical team and strength team for having to work together through that, but there's never any guarantees with any of this but he's certainly doing extremely well right now."

On losing starters from last season

Oklahoma is losing a lot of talent from last season including a Heisman-winning quarterback, four of five starters on the offensive line and the team's top wide receiver in 2018. Riley says he will approach this the same way he has in year's past.

"We lost a lot the previous year and we lost a lot the year before that and the year before that so that's just college ball you lose guys so you plan for it," Riley said. "That's why we recruit, why we evaluate, why we develop guys behind the scenes. You don't always know if a guys gonna transfer out, you don't always know if a guys gonna leave early but you know we're gonna lose those guys eventually."

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