QB Hurts debuts for Oklahoma in spring game

NCAAF

NORMAN, Okla. — In his public debut as a Sooner, quarterback Jalen Hurts seemed to be collected and in command during Oklahoma‘s spring game Friday night.

The Alabama transfer seemed to be having a little more fun, too.

Immediately after a 1-yard touchdown run on his final drive, Hurts ordered his offense to pose together in the end zone before the cameras — a ploy he confessed wouldn’t have gone over well with his previous coach.

“Not doing that at the other place,” Hurts said, smiling. “My old coach, Coach [Nick] Saban — I probably would get a chewing for that one.”

Hurts had reason to be all smiles Friday, delivering an impressively crisp showing while leading his Red squad to a 35-14 victory over the White before a crowd of 50,228.

“I think it was fun to be out there for the first time,” Hurts said of his new team. “Any opportunity I get to step on the field, I say it’s a big deal. Anytime I get to step on the green, I try to take advantage of it.”

Hurts took full advantage of his opportunities in a spring game that got moved up a day due to impending inclement weekend weather in Oklahoma. He completed his first attempt for 33 yards off a rollout, and went on to finish 11-of-14 passing for 174 yards and a touchdown. He had several electric runs, as well.

“I thought he handled it well,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “Made some nice plays. Made some good decisions from the pocket. He felt settled in the entire time. He was good.”

Although he had a record of 26-2 as the starting quarterback at Alabama, Hurts famously lost his starting job during halftime of the national championship game two years ago. After failing to win back the job from Tua Tagovailoa, he transferred this offseason to Oklahoma.

Yet despite playing in a new offense, being in Norman for just three months and facing the pressure of replacing back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, Hurts admitted to feeling relaxed Friday, leading his offense to touchdowns on two of his first three drives.

“I think the comfort will continue to come with time,” he said. “But there’s always more I can do. More we can push each other to do. Always more we can accomplish.”

Riley has yet to officially name Hurts his starter, having given redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai the opportunity to compete for the job as well. Riley has traditionally waited until mid-August before announcing a starting quarterback, though hinted Friday he might be open to naming a starter earlier than usual this time around.

“That’s not my decision,” said Hurts, when asked if he felt he had earned it. “All I can control is what I can control. Be where my feet are.”

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