Caleb Williams Expresses Frustration with Coach Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma

Caleb Williams discusses early struggles at Oklahoma

by Nouman Rasool
Caleb Williams Expresses Frustration with Coach Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma
© Stacy Revere/Getty Images

USC's star quarterback Caleb Williams, widely tipped as the top pick for the 2024 NFL Draft, recently opened up about the challenges he faced under head coach Lincoln Riley during his tenure at the University of Oklahoma.

His candid revelations came during an appearance on the Pivot Podcast, where he shared insights into his rocky start and eventual rise in college football. Williams, a five-star recruit from Washington, D.C., joined Oklahoma in 2021 with high expectations and the ambition to outshine then-starter Spencer Rattler.

Despite his confidence and the buzz surrounding his arrival, Williams did not secure the starting quarterback position until the latter part of the season. "I told people before I went there that I was going to start and play and beat him out.

I thought I’d beat him out in Spring, and he was projected No. 1 and all of that,” Williams explained on the podcast. However, it took nearly half the season before he could prove his mettle on the field.

Frustration Over Vague Guidance

The young quarterback expressed frustration with the vague guidance he received from Riley, emphasizing how the minimal feedback of "keep going" left him perplexed and dissatisfied.

"It’s something that I didn’t understand, those two words, I did not understand when he told me, because I wasn’t asking him. I wasn’t coming to him to beg for playing time. I never came to him," Williams recounted.

This lack of clear communication added to his frustration as he felt ready to contribute more significantly to the team's success. Williams's patience and perseverance eventually paid off as he took over the starting role and never looked back.

His stellar performance earned him Freshman All-American honors, boasting 1,912 passing yards and 21 touchdowns by the end of his first season. His skill and determination were undeniable as he stated, "When I got my shot, yeah, nothing else is going to happen other than me being the guy”.

After his breakout season, Williams followed Riley to USC, where he continued to impress, clinching the prestigious Heisman Trophy in 2022. His journey from a hopeful freshman to a leading quarterback prospect underscores the resilience and talent that makes him a frontrunner for the next NFL Draft.

Williams's story not only highlights his athletic prowess but also sheds light on the complexities and challenges within collegiate sports dynamics, especially under high-stakes and high-pressure coaching environments.