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It had to have been an awkward situation for Oklahoma freshman quarterback Caleb Williams.
With the Sooners struggling on offense to begin the 2021 season and redshirt sophomore Spencer Rattler’s Heisman aspirations taking a turn for the worse, a groundswell movement for Williams began to take shape. It finally came to a head during the “Red River Showdown” on Oct. 9 vs. Texas.
Down 28-7 in the first quarter, then head coach Lincoln Riley knew it was time to make a change. Williams proved his head coach right, leading the Sooners back to a 55-48 victory over the Longhorns. It was Williams’ team from there as Rattler spent more time holding a clipboard than throwing a football for the rest of the season.
While Williams admitted Monday on “The Podcast on the Prairie” there was no animosity between him and Rattler, he said they weren’t exactly close either.
“Me and Spence, we weren’t best friends,” Williams said. “I can say that. We weren’t best friends, but we didn’t hate each other either. There’s a bunch of other guys that I’m not best friends with and don’t hate them, either, on the team.”
Many wondered when Williams took over for Rattler, how their relationship would change. Not so much, Williams said.
“Everybody tried to make a thing out of nothing throughout the whole season,” Williams said. “Just throwing it out there. There was nothing to be made from it. There are guys or girls that you meet all the time that you aren’t best friends with and won’t be best friends with. You don’t hate them, don’t envy them or anything like that.”
Since that fall day at the Cotton Bowl, a lot has changed in Norman. Rattler has since entered the transfer portal and committed to South Carolina. Riley has taken his revolutionary offense further west, all the way to Southern California. Williams is still there, although he now plays under new head coach Brent Venables.
Along with Rattler, junior tight end Austin Stogner also made the move to the Gamecocks. The two will be coached by a familiar face in head coach Shane Beamer, who served on Oklahoma’s staff from 2018-20.
“Congrats to them, by the way,” Williams said. “I’m happy for them. It was a fun journey being around them.”