Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was brought to tears twice Monday while addressing his actions in Saturday’s game at Kansas and his feelings on the resulting discipline for his final home game this weekend.
Under a message painted onto the wall above the Sooners’ news conference backdrop reading “Mental Toughness = Doing the Right Thing for the Team,” Mayfield twice struggled to compose himself before wiping away tears while answering questions about the consequences from Saturday and what his family means to him.
Mayfield will not start Saturday’s game against West Virginia as disciplinary action, coach Lincoln Riley said Monday. Mayfield, a senior, will also not serve as a captain on Oklahoma’s senior day, his final home game.
“Playing at OU is something I always dreamed of,” Mayfield said while addressing reporters after Monday’s practice. “Not starting is what it is. But not being a team captain is something so much more. It would be hard if it were a regular game. But it being my last one here ever, it means a lot more. It’s going to be tough.”
Mayfield acknowledged that he put Riley in “a terrible spot” and said his conversation with him was hard.
“Our relationship is the main reason,” Mayfield said. “He wants the best for me, and so it’s tough. It was difficult.”
During the third quarter of Oklahoma’s 41-3 win in Lawrence, Mayfield grabbed his crotch and appeared to yell “F— you!” at the Jayhawks’ sideline.
“This decision was difficult,” said Riley, who also became emotional during his weekly news conference, unable to speak for several seconds.
Mayfield, the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy, said that he understood Riley’s decision and even called it “necessary.”
“Doesn’t matter who you are, you need to handle yourself the right way,” Mayfield said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re the starting quarterback. If you don’t act the right way, Coach Riley is going to discipline you. And that’s the way it needs to be.”
Mayfield also struggled to compose himself when asked about his family.
“My family’s one-of-a-kind,” Mayfield said. “We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. But the one thing is, we’ve always stayed together, so, very thankful for them because they’ve never faltered. They’ve always been there no matter what it is, no matter what mistake it was. They’ve been the best family anybody could’ve ever been for me. And I love ’em.”
Sophomore Kyler Murray will start in place of Mayfield. Murray, a former transfer from Texas A&M, has appeared in five games for the Sooners this season, completing 16 of 19 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns. Before signing with the Aggies, Murray was the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback recruit in 2015.
Riley declined during his weekly news conference to disclose when Mayfield would enter the game against the Mountaineers.
“I’m proud as hell to be his coach,” Riley said. “This darn sure shouldn’t taint all the great things he’s accomplished here on and off the field.”