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Lincoln Riley Explains Choosing Jalen Hurts As Starting QB

A closeup of Lincoln Riley wearing an Oklahoma Sooners sweater.

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 11: Head Coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners observes during warm ups before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated TCU 38-20. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Lincoln Riley is heading into his third year as the Oklahoma head coach, and with it, his third starting quarterback. Riley announced that Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts would start the 2019 season and has addressed the decision.

According to George Schroeder of USA Today, Riley explained the key differences between Hurts and sophomore Tanner Mordecai. He revealed that Jalen was "a little bit better" and "a little bit more in control" of the offense.

Riley also made it clear that he tried not to factor in the respective experience of the two.

Hurts was a two-year starter at Alabama from 2016 to 2017. He won an SEC title in 2016 and led the Crimson Tide to back-to-back CFP National Championship Game appearances.

Mordecai, on the other hand, threw four passes for Oklahoma last year.

Lincoln Riley may not have felt that experience was a factor in the decision, but Hurts' advanced experience probably gave him a leg up in preparation.

Over the past two seasons, Oklahoma has produced two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who each went on to be the top pick in the NFL Draft, two Big 12 titles, and made back-to-back CFP appearances.

If Oklahoma hope to go farther than simply the opening round of the CFP, it certainly can't hurt to have a player leading the offense who has been to the title game in three straight seasons.