Clay Horning: Rattler's redemption tour could begin in Lawrence

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Oct. 22—Perhaps we should be writing about Alex Grinch's Sooner defense for what it has done the last two weeks, allowing 79 points and 1,045 yards to Texas and TCU.

It's certainly alarming, but Oklahoma has been beset by injuries, especially in its secondary and it's Kansas on the docket, so it's likely not to matter, and after Texas Tech a week from today, the Sooners finally get their bye week, which means the defense's redemption tour can begin Nov. 13 at Baylor, which ought to be right on time.

Today, though, stands a good chance to begin somebody else's redemption tour, provided provided Spencer Rattler wants one.

Remember him?

It's Kansas.

The average score between the Sooners and Jayhawks since Lincoln Riley joined the staff is 50-14.

Thus, it seems like there might be an opportunity for OU to put its backup quarterback into the game.

It came up earlier in the week and when the question is touchy, Riley is almost always interesting (if not accurate).

"Obviously, what you need is the game being in control," he said. "That's the first thing, and after that, I think, it's who's the starter and what does he need and who's the backup and what does he need."

It was talked about in press box only last week, when it appeared the rout might be on early — could Rattler bear being placed in long-term mop-up duty and would Riley subject him to it?

Fortunately, the defense broke down and the chance never presented.

This could be different and Rattler should want the opportunity to get back on the field, under any circumstances.

Riley made a good point why he might stick with Caleb Williams, pointing out that that he's got a starter "that's a little inexperienced and a guy that is currently our No. 2 that is very experienced."

But Rattler should still want in and Riley should want to put him in because, for now and beyond, Rattler needs to prove he's a team player.

Watching Williams turn things around at Texas, Rattler watching from the sideline with his helmet on was not a good look.

Watching him walk up the Cotton Bowl ramp before his team had finished celebrating, though quite human, wasn't a great look either.

Not to mention, in an NIL age, he's the first major college football star to fall flat after cashing in.

Now's his time to be a good soldier, and he ought to want the role for selfish and selfless reasons, both.

In pro wrestling's old territory days, when a star gave notice, while performing under that notice, he was frequently made to lose — to "job" — to others on the roster, thereby enhancing the talent he was leaving behind.

Buddy Landell, on his way out of Mid-South, comes to mind.

It carried no glory, but it proved a performer's willingness to be a team player to every other promoter he might want a job from someday.

That's where Rattler is.

He doesn't even have to job, he can play his best.

His willingness to relieve the rest of the season, with a smile on his face, will make him a champion to his teammates, a stand-up guy to everybody watching, to NFL front offices, should that be his next move, or to any university that might become his next stop.

He can do it.

He should want to do it.

Even if he has to fake it to begin, good chance he'll feel like a teammate again quickly and eventually love it.

Should he, others will love him for it, in the crowd, in the press box and everybody watching from home.

Everybody loves a redemption story, not because they're corny or schmaltzy, but because they're real.

On the list of things Rattler can still deliver, it's on top.

Clay Horning

405 366-3526

Follow me @clayhorning

cfhorning@normantranscript.com

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