LOS ANGELES – Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is “under the weather,” according to an Oklahoma school spokesman and has missed three events tied to the College Football Playoff semifinal. Mayfield has practiced for the Sooners all week and is still expected to play against Georgia on Monday. But Mayfield’s absence from non-practice activities because of illness has become the buzz of the Rose Bowl.
The general feeling around the Oklahoma program is that Mayfield will be healthy for No. 2 Oklahoma’s game against No. 3 Georgia. “Baker will be good to go,” said OU tight end Mark Andrews. He added later with a chuckle: “He’s not dying or anything.”
Mayfield did not attend events at Disneyland on Wednesday or the traditional Lawry’s Beef Bowl on Thursday. He also did not attend media availability on Friday morning, which was surprising for a former walk-on who appears to relish the spotlight that has accompanied his storybook rise. Mayfield won the 2017 Heisman Trophy in a runaway vote and is considered the hands-down best player in the sport this season. He’s thrown 41 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Co-offensive coordinator Cale Gundy kept pointing a consistent chorus of questions about Mayfield’s status to OU head coach Lincoln Riley, who was not available to the media on Friday. Three times when asked about Mayfield, Gundy obediently said some version of, “You need to talk to Lincoln.”
Andrews downplayed Mayfield’s absence from team events. “I get a lot more interviews now,” he said with a smile. “That’s probably the only thing I noticed. It is weird not having him here just because he’s always here.”
Mayfield has looked sharp in practice this week. “I’m not going to talk about Baker,” Andrews said. “That’s for Coach Riley to talk about. These last two practices have been some of the best practices that we’ve had all year in terms of sharpness and energy. The guys are ready to play. These practices have been energy filled and passionate and guys flying around. It was really good to see.”
But until we see Mayfield line up in the shotgun on Monday, there will be questions about his status.
Georgia is operating under the assumption that Mayfield will play. “In a game like this, you expect him to be at his best,” said Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “You want him to be at his best.”
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