OU football: Frustrated with OU basketball? Are you ready for some spring football?

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02: The Oklahoma Sooners pose for a team photo after winning the Big 12 Championship against the TCU Horned Frogs 41-17 at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02: The Oklahoma Sooners pose for a team photo after winning the Big 12 Championship against the TCU Horned Frogs 41-17 at AT /

Fans and alums of the Kansas Jayhawks are fond of saying that football is nothing more than a bridge to the college basketball season. At Oklahoma, the exact opposite is true: Basketball, as well as all other Sooner sports programs, are the bridge to OU football.

On Saturday, the three-time defending Big 12 champions and winners of 10 Big 12 championships overall, will commence spring practice and  getting ready for the 2018 season.

It also will begin head coach Lincoln Riley’s second season at the helm, and he vows to start making some ,changes, including changing some things with how the annual Red-White spring game is conducted.

By NCAA rules, spring practice sessions are limited to 15 days, including a spring game, which must be conducted over a 34-day span. Physical contact drills are allowed on just 12 of the 15 practice dates.

One of the big differences this spring from the past three years is the absence of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is moving on to the NFL. For the first time in three-seasons, there will be a quarterback battle, although it will be junior Kyler Murray’s job to lose.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

This will be Riley’s first spring as head coach of the Sooners. Last year, Bob Stoops was still in charge. Riley didn’t assume the top job until early June, when Stoops announced his surprise retirement and handed the reins to Riley, who then was the Sooners’ offensive coordinator.

Riley says he doesn’t plan to change things that much in his first spring practice as the Sooners’ head coach, but there will be some adjustments.

“There are a few things we’re going to do differently practice schedule wise,” he said in a question and answer interview published on the OU athletic website.

"“The biggest difference is probably going to be just the emphasis on the spring game and all that will entail.”"

The Oklahoma spring game is scheduled for April 14 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Riley’s told the Oklahoma City Oklahoman that his goal is to fill the stadium with 80,000 fans for the spring game.

The second-year head coach was not specific about the changes – or “tweaks,” as he calls them – he plans to incorporate in this year’s spring game.

Two new assistant coaches were added to the staff at the beginning of this year. Shane Beamer joined the Sooner coaching staff to work with tight ends and special teams, and Bennie Wylie is the new strength and conditioning coach, replacing longtime OU assistant Jerry Schmidt, who left to join the staff at Texas A&M.

Beamer comes from a family with a strong football pedigree. He is the son of longtime Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer. Last season Beamer coached special teams for Georgia, which defeated OU in overtime in the College Football Playoff semifinals.