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OU football: Lincoln Riley talks more on OU-Texas clock error, Tanner Mordecai in press conference

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Lincoln Riley

OU coach Lincoln Riley during the Big 12 Championship game on Dec. 7.

Oklahoma (2-2, 1-2 Big 12) head coach Lincoln Riley has had a few days to process a wild quadruple overtime OU-Texas win, a game that featured six turnovers, a blocked punt, a blocked field goal, a brief quarterback change and time clock controversy.

Three days after the thriller, here's what Riley had to say in Tuesday's Zoom conference:

More on the clock controversy

Over the past few days, Sooner fans have taken to social media to express anger about the fact that Texas was afforded 36 additional seconds on the game clock in the fourth quarter, where the Longhorns orchestrated a furious comeback to put the game in overtime.

According to reports from The Athletic's Jason Kersey and The Tulsa World's Eric Bailey, the Big 12 acknowledged the mistake. Fortunately for the Sooners, they won anyway, but arguably without the error, any overtimes wouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

In Monday's Big 12 coaches media teleconference, before the Big 12's statement, Riley addressed it, saying his sideline was "not happy about it." Riley said Tuesday Big 12 officials liaison Greg Burks gave Riley a heads up they were releasing a statement. To Riley, Burks and the Big 12 have been transparent and Riley is thankful for that.

"Greg gave me a heads up that they were gonna put out that statement yesterday afternoon, which was a classy move. Bu, Greg's been great. I mean, he's fantastic to communicate with. They're battling. Nobody wants to hear it right now for players or officials, but our officials, there's a lot of challenges with COVID as well...

"It's difficult for everybody, not just the players and the coaches and the fans. So, again, Greg's been very transparent about that and owns mistakes and holds his guys accountable and continues to push to get them better, just like we're trying to do with our team."

Tanner Mordecai

With the game tied at 10-10 in the beginning of the second quarter Saturday, Riley told quarterback Spencer Rattler he need to take a breather after throwing an interception and committing a fumble. Redshirt sophomore Tanner Mordecai entered the game to play his first significant snaps of the season. He finished the day 5-7 for 52 passing yards.

Riley said the decision to put in Mordecai was an in-the-moment call. Whether he intended to have him play just a few drives or the whole game, Riley said he didn't ponder any of these decisions, insisting that he only focuses on the now.

"I never make you know those decisions as far as kind of what I'm going to do down the line. I think just kind of looking at the situation as it was, it made the most sense to put Tanner in. And then halftime I had a chance to kind of reevaluate it and felt like the right thing was to get Spencer back in there.

"I feel like he handled it well and was ready to go. We don't want to put Tanner in and think, 'Well, I'm just gonna put Tanner in for the series' or 'Well, we'll put Tanner in the whole game.' I think in the moment making the best decision you can and then you just take the new information you have and just continue to keep making the best decisions for the team."

David Ugwoegbu

Sophomore linebacker and special teams member David Ugwoegbu had quite the game Saturday with a blocked punt and a blocked overtime field goal. But he's also coming into his own a the linebacker position.

Riley talked about Ugwoegbu's move from rush to inside linebacker, and about how he didn't want two talented linebackers in Nik Bonitto and Ugwoegbu both at the same position. To Riley, Ugwoegbu has fit into the position nicely. He has 10 total tackles and a sack on the season.

"He's really progressed," Riley said. "We felt like we needed some of the depth and the experience that David had from playing in a year and some of that talent in the inside linebacker room. So we've always thought he had a skill set that could potentially fit there, and he's done a good job handling it.

"They're different types of players, but there's a lot of similarities to him and (former OU linebacker Kenneth Murray) in that, you know, Kenneth's first year or two here, you could tell he was going to be really good at the position, but you can also tell that he hadn't played it and was kind of learning on the fly. And I think there's been some of that with David. But David has really progressed nicely to the point where, you know, we're very confident with him being in the game making plays, and I think a game like that will do nothing but boost his confidence."

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Caleb McCourry is the assistant sports editor at The Daily and is a junior at OU majoring in English. He's covered football, basketball and volleyball. 

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