LOS ANGELES – Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield’s flare for the dramatic even managed to extend to media day at the Rose Bowl. Mayfield said he’s been battling “flu-like” symptoms this week, practicing for the No. 2 Sooners’ College Football Playoff semifinal game with No. 3 Georgia but generally feeling under the weather. “I’m not dying,” Mayfield said. “But I’m not feeling 100 percent right now.”
Mayfield initially decided to skip media day at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. But he flipped on the television in his hotel room and saw coach Lincoln Riley answer question after question about him. Mayfield hopped in a car and traversed the mile from the team hotel to the media hotel to give an update on his health and not force his teammates to speak for him. “I wouldn’t say it’s the flu,” Mayfield said, his voice low and scratchy. “It’s something bad. You don’t want it.”
Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy this season and is the most indispensable player for both Oklahoma and any team in the College Football Playoff. The question that will loom until kickoff is how Mayfield’s illness will impact the Sooners.
Mayfield has practiced with the team, but Riley did add that they’ve limited him in some areas to preserve his energy. “I think he’ll be ready to play,” Riley said. “He’ll be ready to play. Will he be at 100 percent physically? We’ll see. But he’s not going to miss this one.”
Mayfield said he started to feel ill over Christmas break and has been managing it since. He said he’s been taking an antibiotic, drinking tea with lemon and going through a lot of tissues.
He added that he’s been able to retain his food and fluids, which has given him confidence that he’ll be able to play at a high level. “To be able to stay out there the whole game and be 100 percent for all four quarters or however long it takes, that’s a big thing for me,” Mayfield said. “Being able to eat and keep up my fluids, I’m pretty sure that’s been a positive.”
With kickoff about 48 hours away, Riley remains optimistic that Riley can shake the symptoms and play at the highest level. “We’ll deal with it,” Riley said. “I don’t think it’ll be a big factor in this game.”
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