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On Sale at Newsstands on July 24, 2020!
King's Corner
Legendary OU football coach Talks about Navigating the pandemic and star quarterbacks

In each new edition of Sooner Spectator, we ask coaching legend Barry Switzer to share his thoughts on a variety of topics, ranging from football to food to his favorite anecdotes. In the latest installment of King's Corner, The King shares his thoughts on dealing with the coronavirus, the 2020 football season and keys to recruiting great quarterbacks.

Sooner Spectator: As a coach, how difficult do you feel it would be right now trying to navigate everything that is going on with the pandemic?

Barry Switzer: (Laughing) They didn't pay me enough back when I coached to handle something like this. But seriously, it's a difficult situation, no doubt about it. I've said for a long time that it's more difficult to be a college coach these days just because of the social media aspect with young players and trying to keep everyone happy and on the same page. When you add in something like this coronavirus and all of the issues and challenges it creates, I know Coach Riley and his staff have their hands full over there, just like every other coach in every program around the country. It's something we haven't seen before, so it's something you're trying to figure out and adjust to.

SS: When you look at the way the virus has not really flattened, are you hopeful there will still be a way to have a football season?

Switzer: Yeah, I'm hopeful. Sure. I definitely want a college football season to take place this fall. Will it happen? I don't know. If I'm an athletic director, I'm damn concerned about everything that is going on and finding ways to make that happen. We're talking about $100 million athletic department budgets that depend on the success of college football, and if they don't figure it out, I hate to see the impact on a lot of the non-revenue producing sports. Some might not ever recover. Hopefully, as we get closer to August, this will start to slow down and they will have a better understanding of how to move forward.

SS: What are your thoughts on the NCAA ruling that will allow student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness in the future?

Switzer: The thing that worries me the most about something like that is how it opens the door for outside agents and companies to get involved in recruiting and so many other aspects of the sport. I don't see how that can be a good thing for college football. There is something to be said for athletes receiving compensation but I'm not sure how they are going to regulate that sort of thing from player to player. To me, you have to prove yourself on the field before you can say what you may or may not be worth in that situation. I'm not sure I like the idea, but I guess we will see how it all works once it is put into place.

SS: OU just got a commitment from Caleb Williams, the No. 1-ranked quarterback prospect in the country. Is that a product of what Lincoln Riley and the Sooners have done on offense the last few seasons?

Switzer: Oh, without a doubt. Look at what his quarterbacks have done at Oklahoma just over the last three seasons -- two Heisman winners, two first-round NFL draft picks and another Heisman finalist. I feel it's a great advantage for someone like Coach Riley to not only call the plays but to work so closely with the quarterbacks, developing close relationships in that room and game-planning with those guys. We've seen it with Baker Mayfield and again with Kyler Murray and then last season with the (Jalen) Hurts kid. So when it comes to recruiting quarterback prospects, I believe Lincoln and Oklahoma definitely have a leg up on basically any other coach and program out there that aren't in a similar position.

(Editor's Note: This story appears in the 2020 Football Preview Issue. To subscribe to Sooner Spectator, call 405-364-4515)