Sermon goes to next level
Trey Sermon is easygoing off the football field. On game day, though, the OU running back flips a switch and goes for broke.
It’s not that Trey Sermon didn’t make much of an impression during the spring and in preseason camp, but Oklahoma’s freshman running back entered the season behind three other more experienced backs on the Sooners’ depth chart.
Through two games, the Marietta, Ga., product is looking like he should be the No. 1 back for the Sooners.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said he saw something he hadn’t seen in Sermon last week during the Sooners’ 31-16 win at Ohio State.
“He’s a guy that’s very relaxed off the field,” Mayfield said. “He’s a very easygoing guy. Saturday, there was a switch that flipped in his head. I hadn’t seen it. We don’t necessarily go to the ground and go full-go in scrimmages or practices during the offseason or during camp.
“He’s a guy that when the lights come on, he turns into a different guy. It was good to see him turn it on Saturday on the big stage like that. I think guys that can show up in big games like that, it’s a special talent.”
Mayfield, of course, should know.
One of his biggest plays in the win over the Buckeyes was also Sermon’s defining play of the game, with Mayfield scrambling around running toward the line of scrimmage before throwing a dart to Sermon in traffic inside the 5-yard line. Sermon caught the ball and fought
through contact to make it into the end zone.
Sermon said he was ready for the moment.
“I was just so prepared,” he said. “Coming in early with all the other guys and really just grinding and practicing with them kind of prepared me.”
On the play before Sermon’s touchdown, he took a direct snap for a
He wasn’t the first back Oklahoma used in the game. Abdul Adams started but after losing a fumble, Sermon was inserted and save for a bit when Rodney Anderson spelled him, Sermon was the running back the rest of the way.
He finished with 17 carries for 62 yards and three catches for 23 yards and a touchdown.
Sermon was one of a large group of 2017 signees who joined the Sooners in January and went through spring practice. Several of those players — most noticeably Sermon and linebacker Kenneth Murray — are already making big contributions.
Coach Lincoln Riley said he saw a similar transformation that Mayfield noticed.
“He’s kind of a quiet, reserved kid but in that arena, he was not intimidated by any stretch,” Riley said. You kind of saw the competitiveness and fire start to come out of him and he was very confident. He just had a great look in his eye.
“As a coach, you can just tell most of the time in environments like that. You just look them in the eye and you can tell if they’re ready or if they’re maybe a little skittish and he wasn’t at all. He was ready to play and handled it very well.”
Freshman Trey Sermon scored a touchdown against Ohio State and emerged as the featured running back with 17 carries.