Baker Mayfield was again a no-show. Then he showed. He arrived at Saturday’s media day 20 minutes late, 20 minutes after he’d heard, via the TV in his room at a downtown hotel, the first several questions directed to Oklahoma Lincoln concern the man who wasn’t here.
“I know they wanted me to be here,” Mayfield said. “My teammates and coaches were answering questions on my behalf, and I know they were getting sick of it. I turned on the TV and the first thing I heard was that I wasn’t here, and the first question to coach Riley was about me. Really, this isn’t about me.”
So Mayfield bummed a ride -- the College Football Playoff is great about providing transportation to those in need, it must be said -- and arrived at the L.A. Downtown Hotel. His arrival came as a shock. A small group of writers were standing outside the ballroom listening to OU athletic director Joe Castiglione when Mayfield swooped up the escalator. I can attest the Castiglione media opportunity ended forthwith.
When Mayfield was seated at his designated podium, further complications ensure. His microphone wasn’t working, which meant that nobody not within a foot of him could hear his responses, and given that the guy has been sick for the better part of a week you’d rather not be a foot from him. He looked, it must be said, like someone who’s sick -- wan, raspy, weary around the eyes. He kept sipping on a drink: “Coffee with lemon,” he said. “I’m sick of drinking tea.”
Prognosis: “I’m not dying. But I’m not feeling 100 percent right now.”
Further medical notes: “I felt better yesterday than I have. The biggest concern is the energy level on my voice.”
Riley had said that Mayfield felt bad on the flight Tuesday and got worse once here. He said there was no chance his quarterback wouldn’t play in the Rose Bowl, but added this disclaimer: “Will he be 100 percent? We’ll see.”
A couple of football questions for Mayfield: Has Oklahoma seen a defense like Georgia’s? “I don’t know if you watched Ohio State play (USC) last night.”
And what of his conference’s reputation as the league defense forgot? “People always want to hate on the Big 12 and say we don’t play defense, but really we have the best offenses in the nation.”
And that was essentially that. On the fourth day, Baker Mayfield talked. We now return to your programming.