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Dec. 31—SAN ANTONIO — Caleb Williams played it cool and he played it cool, it would appear, because it’s a big decision and big decisions should be made with counsel and deliberation even if, once made, they turn out to be obvious.

That’s where we are after what happened Wednesday night at the Alamodome, where Williams completed 21 of 27 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns, while running for 32 on five attempts.

Those were all his numbers except for these: 0 and 2.

Zero was the number of interceptions he threw and 2 were the number of yards he lost and they might have been his most important numbers because ever since leading the Sooners back from the dead Oct. 9 inside the Cotton Bowl, Williams had been defined by his failures as much as his successes and for the first time since, in Oklahoma’s 47-32 Alamo Bowl victory, Williams offered only successes and no failures.

And while I can’t sit here and tell you Jeff Lebby’s clearly a better offensive coach than Lincoln Riley, or that Cale Gundy or Ty Darlington are better quarterback coaches than Riley, what’s clear is that whole wait-too-long-in-the-pocket-and-leave-yourself-nowhere-to-throw-nor-run-to-either thing Williams suffered ever since Oct. 9 was all gone, just like that, and if Bob Stoops wasn’t going to stand for it, Brent Venables is unlikely to either and Williams has to know it and would be crazy not to be happy about it.

In six games, Riley couldn’t get him out of his worst habit and in one game, Stoops and his staff did.


That’s just the start.

When Venables joined Stoops for the postgame celebration, a moment after Stoops pilfered his baseball cap and placed a visor on Venables’ noggin, Venables took the microphone and, among other things, proclaimed the program’s bright future with Williams as its quarterback.

Venables wouldn’t have said it to convince Williams, but because he believed it. and on the off chance Williams needed convincing, he now knows the job is his, which is more than Lincoln Riley ever promised Jalen Hurts or Kyler Murray.

Williams, of course, kept his decision in play during OU’s postgame press conference (which happened to be Williams’ first turn with the media, too, yet another thing Riley never offered him).

“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said of staying or going. “I’m just enjoying this moment.

“This is probably one of the biggest moments I’ve ever had in football, honestly, and right now, I’m just enjoying it with this team and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Still, he offered tells.

“You can see it in practice and things like that, even when he’s not coaching … he has a whole lot of energy, a whole lot of passion for what he’s doing,” Williams said of Venables. “Like I said, I think Oklahoma chose the right guy to come in here and be the head guy.”

Would he say that because he’s leaving, trying to soften the blow?

Seems like a lot of trouble when he could have said nothing.

Would he tell us he’s been talking to Lebby, OU’s next offensive coordinator, every day since arriving in San Antonio, if where he planning to bolt?


Would he gush over his offensive line as he gushed over it late Wednesday night knowing he’d never play behind it again.

“I love those guys, each and every one of them the same, even the O-line that subs in,” Williams said. “You treat everybody the same, you love each one of them the same, you treat them all the same and they go out and do things like that for you, keep you off the ground.”

Could he say all that and take a hike, starting over elsewhere.

Perhaps, but the place he already knows, where everybody loves him already, where he enrolled early just to get a head start, where he’s already chosen to stay once, because even playing Wednesday required that choice while others skipped out, seems like a lot to leave behind.

Still, Caleb Williams played it cool, claiming he had a decision to make and it would take some time.

Yet, once he takes it, it would appear, he’s bound to understand he has every reason on earth to remain at Oklahoma.

Clay Horning

405 366-3526

Follow me @clayhorning