From Backup To Starter, Caleb Williams is Oklahoma’s Superman

From Backup To Starter, Caleb Williams is Oklahoma’s Superman

Football

From Backup To Starter, Caleb Williams is Oklahoma’s Superman

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Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At the beginning of the Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas, it was Spencer Rattler at quarterback for the Sooners. In the first half, Rattler completed only eight of 15 passes for 111 yards, a fumble, zero touchdowns, and one interception. Lincoln Riley finally made the switch after being down 21 points and put in Caleb Williams just before the half.

Williams, who has the nickname of “Superman” lived up to it, as he came off the bench and brought life back to Oklahoma’s offense with a 66-yard touchdown run. Williams would end up finishing the day completing 16-of-25 passes for 212 yards, two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and seven scoring drives. This led to 35 points in the second half to give the Sooners the 55-48 win over the Longhorns. Not only did Williams help lead the team back from a deficit, but he also helped the team as a whole find a rhythm. With Rattler at quarterback the Sooners running back Kennedy Brooks only had 62 yards over 12 carries, with Williams he had 161 yards over 15 carries. The fact that the running backs were able to be more productive can be accounted for by this Texas defense seeing Williams running ability as a threat. Throughout the entire game with Williams in the game, the offense seemed to work better and Williams himself seemed very composed and took over as a leader on the field. Over the three games Rattler had played in the offense had an efficiency rating of .391, while Williams who played part of the Texas game and the entire TCU game produced an efficiency rating of .636.

Now some may have thought this is because there wasn’t much film for Texas to actually prepare for Williams in the game, but Williams flashed his talent again against TCU. TCU had time to prepare for Williams, but could not slow him down at all. The last time Williams was a starter was in 2019 of his junior season as he never got a senior season due to the pandemic, and yet again he looked as if he had been playing with no gap time. He led the Sooners to another win of 50+ points, this time it was 52-31 over TCU. Williams’ start as a true freshman for Oklahoma is the first since Cale Gundy in 1990 and is the fifth quarterback overall in school history. Yet the decision for Williams to get the start wasn’t announced to the public until five minutes before kickoff, but as soon as it was announced the crowd erupted in cheers, and Williams’ performance was just as electric.

With the Sooners first two drives of the game, Williams completed 10 of 11 passes for 206 yards and it led to back-to-back touchdowns. 

Williams would end up finishing the game completing 18-of-23 passes for 295 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, 66 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown. 

The skills he showcased throughout the two games he has been in so far he is drawing strong comparisons to previous Sooner quarterbacks, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield. Sooners safety Pat Fields had this to say with the comparison “He’s fiery. I didn’t play with Baker, but I think he kinda has some traits of Baker Mayfield. I played with K1 and I think he has some traits of K1 in terms of what we can do with the ball in his hands, how dynamic he is.” Wide receiver Jordan Haselwood was his favorite target on the night with six receptions for 56 yards and three touchdowns. Haselwood as well went on to speak nothing but good things about Williams after the game saying “I don’t think he ever feels pressure. He’s always like in a good mood. Even last week, he felt no pressure. Like no fear, and you can tell by the way he played. Just a great kid. He can sling it, he can run, he can do whatever he needs to do to get the ball downfield.” The energy Williams brings not only on the field but in the locker room has really helped this offense look more explosive.

So who exactly is Caleb Williams who has helped this Sooners offense get back to high standards? Williams comes from Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C. One of the most memorable plays came in his sophomore year in 2018 when he launched a 53-yard Hail Mary pass, this pass completion helped win the team a championship. To help Williams develop into this quarterback, it was with the help of his father, Carl Williams. His father owns a sports training facility called the Athletic Republic and with the resources helped his son with strength and conditioning, along with passing techniques. With the athleticism and skills Williams showcased throughout his high school career he was the second-rated quarterback recruit in 2021. Williams was actually rated as the first quarterback in his class until Quinn Ewers decided to enroll early at Ohio State in the 2021 class. Overall his ranking nationally was No. 16 according to the 2021 ESPN 300. 

What Caleb Williams is doing right now as a true freshman is exciting to watch, and with having multiple more years to still develop his craft he will be a fun player to watch as he works on some areas that need improvement. With Williams solidifying the spot as the starter the question still remains of what Rattler will now end up doing as he tries to revitalize his career.

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