NORMAN — Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley has announced more details for the Sooners' April 14 spring game, including game format, rosters and honorary head coaches.
Breaking from recent tradition, OU this year will feature a true game format with red and white rosters chosen by the coaching staff and balanced as evenly as possible. Also unlike recent spring games, a traditional scoring system will be utilized.
Saturday's spring game will be Riley's fourth at OU, but his first as head coach.
"We wanted to stoke it up for our players," said Riley, who coached the Sooners to a 12-2 record last year and a No. 3 national finish. "We get in the same mode of offense going against defense all the time, and so this will be new and exciting for our guys. And we also think this will be something that our fans will really embrace. The fact that there's not some unusual creative scoring system will make it very easy for the casual fan to follow."
"We're trying to stoke up the whole experience and this is just a part of it."
- Lincoln Riley
He added, "It's going to make the game competitive, create some really cool situational football that will be really fun for the fans and good for our players. We're trying to stoke up the whole experience and this is just a part of it."
Riley and the Sooners also unveiled NFL free agent running back Adrian Peterson and Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams as honorary head coaches. Peterson will oversee the white team and be assisted by Baltimore Ravens safety Tony Jefferson. Williams will preside over the red team and be helped by offensive tackle Lane Johnson, who just won the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"There's such a great and strong tradition of excellent players here," said Riley, "and our former players are so gracious about coming back that we wanted to include them in the game. We came up with this idea, pitched it to a few of our NFL guys and they were probably even more excited about it than we were. I think it will be fun for our players, our fans, the NFL guys, everybody."
Peterson's team will be quarterbacked by Kyler Murray and feature returning starters Amani Bledsoe, Marquise Brown, Parnell Motley, Marquise Overton and Dru Samia, as well as punter/kicker Austin Seibert.
Williams' squad will feature quarterback Austin Kendall and include returning starters Rodney Anderson, Bobby Evans, Caleb Kelly, CeeDee Lamb, Tre Norwood and Ben Powers. Kelly is sitting out due to offseason surgery.
Riley indicated that, for multiple reasons, assembling the two rosters was somewhat tricky.
"It's not an easy process," he said, "because not only do you have to consider offense and defense, you also have to consider being able to do what we want to do on special teams and being able to get into our different packages. We may have a few guys who will have to play on both teams. The injury situation also factored in just a little bit. Other than that, we just tried to make it as competitive and as even as possible."
OU's spring game will kick off at approximately 1:15 p.m. Saturday at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The contest will be preceded by an in-stadium Trace Adkins concert that is scheduled to start at 12:30. Several other pregame events are also on tap, starting with OU's annual spring sale (7:30 a.m. inside McCasland Field House) and followed by Fan Fest and food trucks (9:30 a.m.) and a Bob Stoops statue dedication (10 a.m. on Switzer Center south lawn).
Spring game tickets are available now for $5 to season ticket holders and for $10 to non-season ticket holders. All seating is general admission, and normal game entry policies remain in place relative to permitted items. Several campus parking lots will be free to fans, and stadium gates will open to the public at 11 a.m.
* Rosters subject to change