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December 30, 2017

Baker Mayfield

Pasadena, California

Q. How are you?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Been better.

Q. Why did you decide to come today?
BAKER MAYFIELD: So my teammates had to stop answering questions for you guys.

Q. What's it been like these last couple days? How have you been able to power through this?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It's easy going out there and practicing. You know, I'm playing football, and then going to a nice hotel, and then enjoying the process, been trying to.

Q. Are practices taking a lot out of you?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Yeah, a little bit. It's part of it. But I'd rather go out there and practice than have to go do other activities. I'd rather be with my teammates and working on our game plan.

Q. Is it a matter of being worn down after a month of activities, or what is it?
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, there was something going around. A couple other guys on the team have had it. It's flu-like. I wouldn't say it's the flu, but it's pretty much like that.

Q. With the voice you have now, can you direct the offense, or will you guys go to a sideline count?
BAKER MAYFIELD: You know, my voice sounds like this right now because I was yelling at practice yesterday. Yesterday was the best I've felt all week. But you know, taking a toll on me at practice means the next day I'm going to feel it. Yeah, I'll be all right.

Q. When was the last time you've played through an illness like this?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It's been a while. I had the flu back in 2013 my freshman year.

Q. When you're going through practice, are you going through your regular routine or are you kind of --
BAKER MAYFIELD: Done everything normal, the normal stuff. That's what we're sticking to, not treating it any differently. I'm out there with the guys, and like I said, I'm here, so they have to stop -- they're not answering questions on my part anymore.

Q. Outside of being ill, how do you feel about the offense?
BAKER MAYFIELD: We look pretty good right now. I think we're practicing well. I think we're settling into the game plan. Been working on it for a while, and I'm confident where we're at right now.

Q. (Indiscernible) how much of a bummer is this for you personally that this is happening?
BAKER MAYFIELD: You know, obviously I'd like to be out there with my team doing all the fun activities that the Rose Bowl puts on, but when it comes down to it, it's not going to enter my play. I'll still be out there Monday for the most important thing.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Yeah, I'm not dying.

Q. Besides come here, have you done anything else outside of practice?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Pretty much in my room. I've gotten a couple bites to eat around the hotel, but that's about it.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: They're very good. I mean, it just stands out to you on film. They've got playmakers. They play well as a unit. I think just how they call plays, they disguise their blitzes and their coverages very well. But they just have guys that pop out on film. Obviously No. 3 is the biggest one. But they play well as a unit.

Q. How much of a motivation is it (indiscernible)?
BAKER MAYFIELD: We're not an underdog. We're not an underdog.

Q. When did you start feeling like this?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Christmas back home. I went back home, and my mom was pretty worried to send me out like that.

Q. Usually getting to a bowl game means you've had a successful year, but (indiscernible) how do you temper the emotion knowing that winning the first one is not the end?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Because I came back to win a national title, and our team, we've had our eyes set on that, and we know to get there we have to win this next one. That's been our mentality ever since the Iowa State loss is we have to play championship games every week, so for us we're not going to treat this one any differently.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: He's been huge. You know, and his growth has been even bigger. Maturity throughout the whole process. He's become a huge playmaker, obviously. His speed is elite. It's something that not many people can ever say they have, but he's just a special player, and we've been lucky to have him.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Well, I thought we were close, but I guess he could actually tell you the truth. But I just know he's a good playmaker. That shows. The stuff that he's done for them, obviously, a talented guy that we wish we would have gotten, but right now he's happy with where he's at, and we're happy with where we're at, too.

Q. Where is the Heisman?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It's with the school in Norman.

Q. Where will it be?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It'll be with my parents.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: I wouldn't say there was turmoil from Stoops to Riley at all. It was about as smooth as it could have possibly have gone. The two of them are great people, great leaders, great role models for us, and how they handled it together really set the foundation for how the players should handle it, and kudos to our leadership group for letting all the young guys know that we're not going to let the standards drop at all. Coach Riley has been in the system and we're familiar with what he likes to do, so for us we just need to go out there and do our job.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: A little coffee and honey and lemon. I'm sick of drinking tea.

Q. If you were Coach Riley and just had the usual business relationship, coach-player, is he the (indiscernible)?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I'm not sure I understand.

Q. If you guys just had a pure football relationship, part of the reason he got the job is obviously because you guys mesh so well --
BAKER MAYFIELD: I wouldn't say it's just because of me. Oklahoma has had a lot of talented guys. He's had talented coaches around him. But when it comes down to it, that's him. He's climbed the coaching ranks because of how special he is and how well he adapts to his players and the people around him. It's not the guys that make him, it's how he adapts to the players around him.

Q. Was it your choice to come today?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Yeah. I mean, obviously they would have liked to have had me here earlier, but when I realized that the players, my teammates and some of these coaches would have to answer questions on my behalf, I got sick of it, and I know they're tired of it, too. They know I'm out there at practice, and like I said, I'm not dying, but I don't feel 100 percent right now. But I'm here for them so they don't have to answer questions.

Q. Are you concerned about (indiscernible)?

Q. Do you go out for coffee or have somebody bring it?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I had somebody at the hotel drive.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Yeah, feeling a little bit better. You know, the biggest thing for me is just the energy level and my voice, as well. Yesterday I felt great, or the best I've felt in a while. But this morning, I think yelling at practice did not help.

Q. How much are you worried about your voice being loud enough?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It'll be all right.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: I hope I'm 100 percent by Monday. I think I will be.

Q. It's been since 2000 since this program has won a National Championship. You guys have positioned yourselves well. How much do you think (indiscernible)?
BAKER MAYFIELD: The tradition at OU is something that is special, so a national title is obviously the most important thing. It would be huge for our fan base. They've been talking about it. After our Big 12 game, they kept saying, two more, two more, and that's just the truth. We have our eyes set on the big one, but to get there we have to take care of business right now, and that's all that matters.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: I don't know if you watched Ohio State play last night, but yeah.

Q. With the voice, in today's game people can run a game with just hand signals and things like that?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Yeah, we could run a game based off of hand signals, but at the same time, you need to be able to communicate at the line. There's adjustments within plays when the clock is running down that you need to be able to make. But luckily our guys right now are locked into our game plan. They know exactly what we're going to execute.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: People always want to hate on the Big 12. They say that we don't play defense. But what they don't realize is we have the best offenses in the country. That shows in the bowl games. We've started out well. TCU played well, Oklahoma State. I mean, it's just showed. It's good for the conference.

Q. Were you at home and just were kind of agonizing about whether you were going to be here?
BAKER MAYFIELD: When I turned on the TV and the first thing was that I was not going to be here, and then all of a sudden the first question asked to Coach Riley was about me, then I realized this whole thing is not about me. University of Oklahoma is here to play a playoff game. It's not about any sickness that I have. We're here to win a game, and that's what it needs to be about. My teammates don't need to answer questions on my behalf. I'm not dying. I'll be playing. We're focused on our goal.

Q. Literally a few minutes ago you watched him on TV answering questions about you --

Q. And you decided to make an effort to come.

Q. Who brought you over here?
BAKER MAYFIELD: They have a hotel driver, the team.

Q. What goes through your mind not just about being the best player in OU history but even that the discussion exists?
BAKER MAYFIELD: It's pretty crazy. The thing for me is we talk about it all the time, hanging up a banner in our indoor facility, and the big one would be a national title banner. I'm not worried about the statue. I came back to win the big banner.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: They have a lot more weapons than just me. They have a special team. We have a great offensive line, talented running backs, talented receivers. You know, I think that we've been able to exploit this season is what a team wants to focus on, we go otherwise. We'll see. That's actually how they want to game plan us, but we'll be ready to adjust.

Q. What kind of treatment are you getting, and what's going to happen between now and Monday?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Lots of medicine that I'm sick of taking, and too much tea and honey.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, done the same routine. For me maybe the conditioning after, but that's about it.

Q. Have you ever been through anything like this where you've had to take medicine to try and get you healthy enough to play?
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, nothing that's been this rapid, but it is what it is.

Q. Have you been able to eat okay?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Yeah. No, I think the good sign has been I've been hungry, and keeping up with the fluids. But yeah, so the voice is the biggest problem now.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, they put me on an antibiotic, so I've been able to be around the team. The biggest thing would be not going to the events and having to get rest instead. But that's what I'd say.

Q. What's your thought on Jake Fromm, a freshman being able to do what he's doing?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Talented guy, but the biggest thing for me that stands out is how he commands the huddle. Not normally do you see a true freshman take command of a huddle that has a lot of older guys, veterans in it, and then also lead them to the playoffs. It takes a special person. I have a lot of respect for Jake.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: That's happened a lot. You know, that's something that teams that have had a little bit of success, they've done that. You know, they drop into coverage and have a couple people for spies. Based on our scramble drill and what we like to execute when people aren't open. That's something we'll be ready for.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: I've heard nothing but great things about the Rose Bowl. I've heard that there's not a blade of grass out of place. There's nothing like it. People call it the Granddaddy of Them All, I think. Everybody talks about it, but until you're out there, it's not really a true thing for you.

Q. (Indiscernible). How much does you being under the weather, maybe not (indiscernible)?
BAKER MAYFIELD: I would say that I'm as involved in anything football-wise. I've been there for everything we're doing schematically and practice-wise. You know, yeah, like I said, I'd rather be there with my teammates on the events outside of practice. But we have a special team. There's a reason we're in the playoffs, and it's not solely based on me. They're not going to miss a beat without me. We also have a talented guy in Kyler Murray behind me. This team will be fine whether I'm 100 percent or not.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Well, I'm able to get all my energy to practice, whatever we have planned for hours at a time, and then I'll need some rest after. But it's continuing to get stronger.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, he wanted me here, I think, so he had to stop answering questions, as well. He won't be mad.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, we stress about hydration all the time, whether you're sick or not. It's a huge thing to be able to have stamina throughout the whole game. You've got to be 100 percent for all four quarters or however long it takes. That's been a big thing for me, but being able to eat and keep up with my fluids and push that, that's been a positive.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: It's not over. You know, the best is yet to come.

Q. When did you start to feel bad?
BAKER MAYFIELD: Right around Christmas.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: They play well as a unit. They've got talented guys. There's not a weakness about them, and that's what you see week in and week out from them. There's a reason they're the SEC champs and there's a reason they're in the playoffs.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Talented player. Obviously he wouldn't be starting there without that. That's the obvious. But his leadership, the way he takes command in the huddle, a lot of respect for a guy like that at a young age, to have the respect of veteran people that have been in the program for a while.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, you have to be aware of a talented guy like that. You can't treat him like the others because he can make a lot of special plays that not many people can. Got to know where No. 3 is at all times.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: You know, that's just something that we've talked about, maybe trying to get me down here last night. We talked about that. But I woke up this morning not feeling too hot. Then I realized that everybody was going to have to answer questions on my behalf again, and I decided I needed to come.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Flu-like, but I don't know, whatever you want to call it.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Um, I think during our workouts, I realized the talent we had coming back, and then also some of the freshmen that we had coming in. I think for us we had a special group, but then it's the team chemistry was the biggest thing, how we handled certain things, and how we handled Coach Stoops stepping down I think was the biggest thing for me.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: It wasn't a distraction, the way we handled this and the way the guys handled it could have gone really bad, and instead it went really well. It was a positive for us.

Q. How much does this game (indiscernible)?
BAKER MAYFIELD: That was a bitter taste in the guys' mouths. I think obviously losing is not something you ever want to feel, but losing a playoff game when you're that close to finishing your ultimate goals hurts even worse. That's something we've talked about, the guys that were there for that, even the guys that redshirted and didn't necessarily play but they were there, as well, that's something you never want to feel again.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Yeah, no, that was something that was on our shirts the whole time was ATL, we had it on the back. That was our ultimate goal and we knew we had to take care of business one week at a time to do that, and right now the focus is on the Rose Bowl, and then we'll talk about that after.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: No, but that might help, though.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BAKER MAYFIELD: Lots of medicine, lots of boxes of tea, a few things (indiscernible), and a few lemons. I've had to go down to the hotel to have a couple boxes of Kleenex brought up.

Q. (Indiscernible).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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