As Oklahoma’s quarterback battle continues to develop, freshman Caleb Williams was seen scrimmaging with the Sooners’ first-team offense by The Daily at practice Tuesday, while redshirt sophomore Spencer Rattler was working with the second team.
The Daily watched the offensive practice regimen from a public building near the OU football practice field, with no athletics employees discouraging observation. The Daily does not observe practice regularly, but did so Tuesday under heightened interest given the situation.
Williams outsnapped Rattler 15-7 in the pre-stretching portion of practice. He was later seen primarily scrimmaging with starting receivers Jadon Haselwood, Marvin Mims and Mike Woods, while Rattler threw to backups Trevon West, Brian Darby and Jalil Farooq, among others.
Amid rumors that Rattler was absent from practice Monday, his father, Mike Rattler, informed The Daily that he had been feeling ill, and that his absence was cleared by OU coach Lincoln Riley after they met Monday morning.
“For right now, he’s focused on working for this team, and we’ll see what happens after Jan. 10,” Mike Rattler said. “Hopefully he’ll be playing in the national championship on Jan. 10, and then after that we’ll evaluate where he is as far as if any teams are interested in him in the NFL, we’ll consider that.
“If we think, ‘Hey, you know what, we may ought to do another year or something at Oklahoma, wherever’… we’re leaving our options open whereas that is concerned, but for the most part, right now, we don’t even talk about it, because he’s got a task at hand to deal with.”
During OU’s 55-48 comeback win over Texas on Saturday, Rattler was benched for Williams in the second quarter after throwing an interception and fumbling. Williams responded with a furious come-from-behind effort, completing 16-of-25 passes with three total touchdowns and 88 rushing yards. Williams was a consensus five-star recruit out of high school, and played his first extended period of meaningful snaps against the Longhorns.
After the game, Williams celebrated with the rest of the team amid the Cotton Bowl, while Rattler celebrated briefly with his teammates and congratulated the other team before leaving the field. Mike told The Daily on Tuesday that Spencer was ushered to the locker room by an OU compliance officer to avoid confrontation with fans and media.
Rattler finished the game 8-for-15 for 111 yards with a rushing touchdown. He re-entered the game in the fourth quarter to complete a two-point pass that drew Oklahoma even with Texas, 41-41, with 7:25 remaining.
Neither Rattler or Williams were made available to the media after the game. In Monday’s Big 12 coaches call, Riley told reporters he’s not ready to name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. home matchup against TCU.
Previously, Rattler was heckled by the OU student section when he threw an interception against West Virginia on Sept. 25. Fans chanted “We want Caleb,” calling for the freshman backup Williams to supplant Rattler.
Despite that, and the complex quarterback situation he now finds himself in, Rattler’s inner circle says he’s currently committed to the Sooners. Rattler spoke to his longtime quarterback trainer Mike Giovando on Monday, and discussed improvements he can implement moving forward.
“I believe things work out for people that do the right thing,” Giovando told The Daily on Monday. “We’re gonna do the right thing. As long as we keep doing the right thing, he’s going to play on Sundays, I have no doubt.”