Baker Mayfield was the key cog in the well-oiled machine that was the Oklahoma Sooners’ elite offense in 2017, but just because Mayfield is now an NFL quarterback doesn’t mean the Sooners will be fireworks on that side of the ball in 2018.
Of course, replacing Mayfield is no easy task, nor is replacing his top target in Mark Andrews, but Oklahoma’s offense will still feature an abundance of weapons. In 2017, running backs Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon combined for 1,905 yards and 18 touchdowns, and the duo will be in for an increased load in 2018. 1,000-yard receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will headline Oklahoma’s aerial attack alongside budding star CeeDee Lamb, who totaled 807 yards as a freshman.
To an extent, all that’s missing is a quarterback, as junior Kyler Murray will have to weigh the choice or manning the Sooners offense or pursuing a professional baseball career. Should the dynamic dual-threat field general choose the former, the Sooners will boast what Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon ranked as the No. 3 offense entering 2018.
“Provided Murray chooses football over baseball, OU will be one of the country’s best big-play offenses,” Kenyon said. “Murray, who is a bigger running threat than Baker Mayfield, shouldn’t be expected to match the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner’s FBS record efficiency. But with Lincoln Riley overseeing the offense, it’s safe to expect great numbers from Murray as a passer.”
The fact that this is Oklahoma’s reality is nothing short of remarkable, and speaks to Lincoln Riley’s genius as an offensive mastermind. Oklahoma lost not only its Heisman-winning gunslinger, but its tight end and left tackle to the NFL, as well, with Andrews and Orlando Brown each being selected by the Baltimore Ravens.
That’s the kind of embarrassment of riches the Sooners are enjoying these days. No experience Heisman winner? No problem. Oklahoma’s offense should be as potent as any in 2018.