How Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray pushed each other to greatness as Oklahoma teammates

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Through their two many years alongside one another at Oklahoma, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray in no way stopped competing.

Not so considerably for the starting off task. Mayfield experienced currently locked that up, having quarterbacked the Sooners to the Faculty Football Playoff through the 2015 season, weeks ahead of Murray arrived in Norman, Oklahoma, immediately after transferring from Texas A&M.

But that didn’t stop them from obtaining other means to contend, even in the smallest of techniques.

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“They’re out there in a heat-up drill, seeing who could throw the most effective spiral,” Oklahoma mentor Lincoln Riley recalled. “It was just constantly about that.”

Was it at any time, according to Austin Kendall, Tanner Schafer, Reece Clark and Connor McGinnis — the four other Oklahoma quarterbacks who shared a assembly place with Mayfield and Murray all through those 2016 and 2017 seasons.

“We normally turned each individual one drill into some kind of competition — just due to the fact they required to beat every single other, which was naturally really enjoyable,” McGinnis stated. “But oh my gosh, it was nonstop.”

This Sunday, the two former teammates will be out to beat each and every other the moment again, as Murray and the Cardinals journey to deal with Mayfield’s Browns in Cleveland (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox). In their 1st NFL meeting two seasons ago, Murray got the very best of Mayfield. Now, Mayfield will look to return the favor by handing the undefeated Cardinals their 1st reduction.

“Obviously he was the dude, but I gave him s— all the time,” Murray said. “It was competitive, but at the similar time, we experienced the very best quarterback space in the country — we understood it.

“The self-assurance, the swagger about that space was unmatched. … and it was fun.”

Unmatched, certainly. Mayfield and Murray grew to become the initially quarterbacks from the identical university to not only win the Heisman Trophy in back again-to-again seasons but go No. 1 total in consecutive NFL drafts.

“Really distinctive,” said previous Oklahoma mentor Bob Stoops, who handed the reins more than to Riley in 2017, just one calendar year right before Mayfield would do the same with Murray. “Just two unbelievably gifted, pushed persons that really were great illustrations for the team on how to be teammates, how to do the job and how to put together.”

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Still despite that drive to be the finest, Mayfield and Murray in no way authorized a most likely flamable scenario at Oklahoma to spill into controversy, even right after encountering a pitfall or two.

Mayfield embraced the levels of competition, as opposed to emotion threatened by Murray’s special capability. And even nevertheless he may possibly have been a starter practically any place else in school football, Murray by no means became disgruntled or a distraction for Mayfield or the Sooners, even soon after Mayfield retroactively was presented an more season of eligibility, which remaining Murray on the sidelines.

“It was a balanced partnership for us,” Mayfield claimed. “All egos were being place to the facet. … And we have been able to push each individual other and absolutely get the most effective out of each and every other.”

They channeled individuals competitive streaks to support the other in the long run achieve greatness — though owning entertaining along the way.

“For having two players of that caliber in the similar assembly place, it was about as beneficial as you could envision, mainly because there is certainly naturally a million distinct points that could’ve gone wrong the place it wouldn’t have been fantastic for one or the other or the two,” Riley stated prior to very last weekend’s Red River Showdown, when he benched former five-star recruit Spencer Rattler, in favor of a further, Caleb Williams, who propelled the Sooners to an unbelievable comeback victory around Texas.

“They failed to choose s— from just about every other, but it was a balanced competitors and a healthful regard,” Riley stated of Mayfield and Murray. “And they were being the two clever enough to determine out that they could discover anything from the other.

“They undoubtedly would’ve been excellent gamers in any case. But they pushed every single other to develop into even much better.”

Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray pushed each other to larger heights at Oklahoma. Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

WHEN MAYFIELD AND Murray had been the two at Oklahoma, follow appeared almost as remarkable as the game titles.

“Baker would be just yelling the complete day, swatting the defensive coaches on the butts” following huge plays, Stoops explained. “Unbelievable the power he brought, designed it enjoyment for everyone.”

Murray was as unbelievable working the scout-workforce offense, nearly untouchable each time he would scramble out of the pocket. Stoops said he and his assistants would rewatch these observe highlights, simply for leisure price.

“It was just like, holy cow,” Stoops reported.

When Mayfield and Murray weren’t tormenting Oklahoma’s defenders, they ended up going at a person one more, competing to see who could bounce the most throws off the goalpost’s crossbar or land more passes into a trash can. The quarterbacks would usually break up groups by even and odd jersey numbers, so Mayfield (donning No. 6) and Murray (No. 1) could be on opposing sides losers usually had to have the winners’ shoulder pads within following practice.

“Listed here we are in the center of particular groups, a opportunity for those people men to relax, chill a minor little bit, and in its place they’re going all out, trying to win these quarterback online games,” reported Ohio University assistant coach Tyler Tettleton, a previous graduate assistant who worked with the quarterbacks at Oklahoma. “We seemed far more forward to that around something else in apply, just due to the fact of how enjoyable and competitive those two fellas produced it.”

That carried above into the assembly home, exactly where the quarterbacks perpetually squared off in a movie star guessing game they called “passcode.”

“Their stage of competitiveness was not like just about anything I’ve ever been all around. And I assume that’s what built us so great individuals yrs. Everybody was feeding off those people two guys. Not just the quarterback area, but the total crew.”

Tanner Schafer
Oklahoma QB 2017-present

“Say me and Kyler had been on a staff, me and Baker would arrive up with a celeb, and we every took turns saying a single word to our lover to try out to get them to guess it — it just bounced back again and forth till any individual guessed the movie star,” Clark stated. “And we would perform this for months on close, simply because they are like, ‘OK we’re taking part in to 10. No, no, no, we’re participating in first one particular to 20. No, no, initial one to 30.’ It just held likely on and on, just since they required to acquire even in some thing like that.”

When Mayfield and Murray were not enjoying passcode, the two would argue about almost nearly anything, from who would win the Masters that year, to who was far better in the video game Rocket League, to whose Texas substantial faculty alma mater experienced the remarkable football method.

“Their amount of competitiveness was not like just about anything I have ever been about,” explained Schafer, who is however on the Oklahoma roster. “And I consider which is what manufactured us so excellent all those several years. Everybody was feeding off those two men. Not just the quarterback place, but the complete workforce.”

It was a mutual bravado that also led to lots of trash discuss.

“He might display it in a different way,” Mayfield said of Murray, “but driving closed doors, he is pretty the trash talker. Will not allow him fool you.”

Mayfield teased Murray for carrying all over a keychain with a small bottle of sriracha sauce hooked up to it, which he would pop open to spice up his foods. Murray never ever passed up an opportunity to just take a shot at Mayfield’s speed — or, in his view, lack thereof.

“We would be seeing movie and Baker would get off on a scramble,” Clark stated, “and Kyler would variety of smirk, like ‘Oh, I would’ve taken that to the house.'”

But even though they liked goofing about, Mayfield and Murray have been all small business when it mattered.

“They understood every response to every single query,” Clark explained. “Just about every blitz that was coming, just about every safety, each line change, like the back of their hand.”

And as a result of that, Riley thinks, they also discovered from 1 yet another.

“The planning, Baker is very meticulous with that, and I believe Kyler took a lot from him,” Riley reported. “But I assume Kyler had the means in his brain to hold matters really simple. And I consider at moments with Baker — in some cases with quarterbacks, you cannot know also a lot, but you can be making an attempt to system much too much at situations — the way Kyler was in a position to split issues down and keep them pretty easy and continue to keep the primary point the principal thing, I think that is something that Baker took notice of.

“And all of that was enjoyment to check out unfold.”

Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray shared the Oklahoma sidelines in 2016 and 2017. (Photograph by Richard Rowe/Icon Sportswire

IN 2015, AS Mayfield guided Oklahoma to the playoff, Murray, then at Texas A&M, was seeking to transfer.

Because Mayfield had only a single time of eligibility remaining at the time, the Sooners had been hunting to choose a transfer quarterback. So Stoops had Riley, then in his very first calendar year as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator, analyze tape of a few potential quarterbacks — Will Grier, Kyle Allen, who have both equally considering that began video games in the NFL, and Murray — to ascertain which to go after.

“Lincoln arrives back and states, ‘I like all a few. All three can assist us and can get for us,'” Stoops recalled. “But this male Kyler Murray, he can win a Heisman Trophy.'”

2 Relevant

Sure more than enough, Murray would do just that in his lone year commencing for the Sooners.

“Sometimes you see things more than and more than,” Riley said, “and then all of a sudden you see a thing that is just totally distinctive and it just hits you in a various way. Which is how his tape hit for me.”

By that position, Mayfield was entrenched as the starter. But Murray’s natural talent in no way permitted Mayfield to experience complacent.

“Baker deep down knew that he experienced to go on to play at a high level,” Riley mentioned, “just since he had a different good participant in the place.”

But Mayfield welcomed the problem.

“He experienced the self-self esteem to say, throw whoever in entrance of me, I’m heading to choose him down,” Clark mentioned. “And Kyler was so self-self-assured, he realized, even if he only had a year, he was heading to make it all occur.”

When Murray at first picked Oklahoma, however, he assumed he’d have two decades to play. But the summer time after the 2015 year, the Large 12 Convention voted to give Mayfield a year of eligibility again, given that he walked-on to Oklahoma when he transferred from Texas Tech. The Sooners privately apprehensive Murray may well leave as a consequence.

“But he failed to flinch,” Stoops reported.

Baker And Kyler At Oklahoma

Award Baker ’17 Kyler ’18
Big 12 Off. POY Indeed Of course
AP All-American Yes Yes
Heisman Sure Indeed
AP Participant of Yr Indeed Certainly
Davey O’Brien Indeed Yes
Manning Award Indeed Yes

Murray redshirted in the course of the 2016 year. Then in 2017, he was the backup, as Mayfield gained the Heisman.

“Bake’s a fantastic participant. He will get a whole lot of despise and all that, but I viewed firsthand each and each day, how hard he labored, make throws that a large amount of people are unable to make,” Murray mentioned. “I am happy that I got to learn from him throughout all those a long time.”

Murray finally got his opportunity, ironically, in Mayfield’s ultimate higher education household video game. Mayfield had been suspended from starting off in opposition to West Virginia for grabbing his crotch and yelling, “F— you!” to the Kansas sidelines the weekend ahead of, immediately after the Jayhawks snubbed Mayfield’s handshake try at midfield following the pregame coin toss. That put Murray guiding heart on the opening collection towards the Mountaineers.

Prior to the first snap, Stoops advised those people in his stadium suite to buckle up. And absolutely sure adequate, on the extremely 1st engage in, Murray took off for a 66-lawn run prior to remaining dragged down at the West Virginia 4-lawn line.

“And the human being most fired up on our sideline is Baker,” Riley reported. “That was just them, how they had been.”

The upcoming day, while, as they watched the film, Mayfield could not resist lobbing a “not fast adequate” jab again at Murray for staying caught from driving.

“The respect those guys experienced for each and every other went a long way,” mentioned Austin Kendall, now Louisiana Tech’s setting up quarterback, who pointed out how a lot he figured out from Mayfield and Murray about management and preparing. “And I revered the hell out of those people guys for it.”

Mayfield’s Browns lost to Murray’s Cardinals in their initially NFL assembly. Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire

Months Later, IN the aftermath of the season-ending-defeat to Georgia in the Rose Bowl, Mayfield stood a couple of ft away from Murray’s locker. As soon as he concluded answering inquiries about dropping the heartbreaking time beyond regulation thriller, he beelined to Murray and gave him a hug.

“They’re in excellent palms,” Mayfield experienced stated times prior to of the Sooners. “Kyler is the finest athlete in the state. … They are going to be just fine.”

Just as Mayfield had predicted, Oklahoma was far more than wonderful. Murray went on to split Mayfield’s FBS single-time passing efficiency record whilst winning the Heisman and leading Oklahoma back to the playoff.

“You could just notify he experienced it — the way he elevated his teammates, the way he performed,” Mayfield stated. “He may well display it in a distinct way, but he’s extremely aggressive. That’s an additional cause why he is the place he is.”

Their shared results from college or university has due to the fact carried into the execs.

Very last period, Mayfield led the Browns to their to start with playoff victory in 26 many years. And driving Murray’s magnificent start, Arizona is the NFL’s last unbeaten workforce this year.

“They ended up a whole lot of enjoyable to have in the room. … And I consider they finished up obtaining the ideal out of just about every other,” Riley stated. “They’re the ones that deserve the credit score because they managed it in a way that a lot of individuals would not have.”

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss contributed.