Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley announced Monday that Sooners QB Baker Mayfield, the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy this season, won't start but will play in this week's game against West Virginia. It will be Mayfield's final home game as a Sooner.
Mayfield made an obscene gesture and appeared to yell expletives toward the Kansas sideline during OU's win over the Jayhawks on Saturday.
Before the game, Kansas captains refused to shake hands with Mayfield and his fellow Sooner captains at midfield for the coin toss. Riley also announced Monday that Mayfield will not serve as a team captain against West Virginia.
"I know (this is) something that certainly is going to get his attention and I think he will handle the right way like he has (done with) just about everything here in his career," Riley said.
The coach also had high praise for Mayfield on Monday and became emotional during his statement about the QB, pausing for more than 30 seconds as he collected himself.
"I would also say that despite this, no matter how long I go coaching, whatever direction my career ends up being like, I don't know that I'll ever have a player that's as special to me as (Mayfield) is," Riley said. "... We've been through a lot together and he's a tremendous teammate, he's the best football player in America. He's got a great heart that a lot of people don't get the chance to see like I do. I'm proud as hell to be his coach."
Mayfield, a senior, is widely considered the favorite to win the Heisman, although this issue doesn't help his case. It's not the first time concerns about his maturity have been raised. Mayfield was arrested in the offseason and charged with public intoxication, fleeing and disorderly conduct. He accepted a plea deal in the case. Now, NFL teams will have another incident to ask him about when they meet with him leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.
NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah wrote earlier this month after scouting the Oklahoma QB in person that Mayfield is worthy of a first-round pick.