Bob Stoops gave positive indications today in our visits both on the air and off that injured OU quarterback Baker Mayfield may be able to return for Saturday’s Bedlam game. The Sooners would clinch their ninth Big 12 title and put themselves in a strong position to be included in the College Football Playoff with a win in Stillwater. But playing without Mayfield would put the Sooners in a very vulnerable position as the OU offense struggled mightily in the second half when Mayfield was held out due to concussion concerns.
After we taped the Playback Show, the coach agreed when I asked Stoops if it was a positive indicator than instead of keeping Mayfield away from a loud stadium with bright lights in the second half, doctors allowed him to roam the sidelines. Stoops said, “Sure, as engaged as he was out there in the second half was a positive sign.” Stoops also sounded positive when asked if he expected Mayfield would be able to participate in practices this week leading into Bedlam. While saying, “it’s too early to say whether he’ll be able to go,” Stoops did not discount Mayfield’s chances of practicing, saying that the QBs don’t get hit in practice.
We will air more of what Stoops had to say on tonight’s Oklahoma Ford Sports Blitz tonight at 10:20 p.m. But the thing that struck me was you’ve gotta believe the coach is equipped with as much information as he can have regarding the status of his Heisman contender and with an update on the chances Mayfield will be ready. And the mood of the coach was positive and not overly guarded as he can be about injuries.
The fact that Mayfield played several series and threw a touchdown pass after suffering the injury from an unacceptably dirty hit is a good indication that the injury is not as severe as some head injuries. Medical people do not allow players to return to even watch games in severe concussion cases as loud noises and bright lights can be overwhelming.
My instincts tend to lead me to believe Mayfield’s chances of returning this week are good. But one thing was made unmistakably clear to me by the coach: OU will not shortcut any concussion protocols to get their QB back early.