On Monday, the ever-simmering rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners heated up a bit more when Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray refused to comment on whether he respects the game of his counterpart, Sam Ehlinger.
“I have no comment on that,” Murray said, laughing.
With the two teams set to meet for a second time this season in the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington on Saturday, Murray is apparently still stinging about his first loss as a starting quarterback for the Sooners.
At least, that’s the impression conveyed by his inability to show a basic level of sportsmanship, as well as the belief of Texas senior defensive end Charles Omenihu. The Rowlett product came up in the same class as Murray, who went to Allen, so he knows about how Murray acts. The result is that Omenihu’s signature bluntness is only slightly softened when it comes to Murray.
“Ol’ boy doesn’t like losing,” Omenihu said. “But you lost, so it is what it is. His comment yesterday... I’m not surprised that he said that. If you know him or know how he is, it’s not surprising. To be honest with you, I really don’t care. It’s funny to me. I saw it and I started laughing. It’s very, very funny. I’m probably going to laugh after this, and go look at it and laugh some more.”
The team leader in sacks was less forthcoming when asked about whether he respects Murray, who came close to becoming his teammate back when the 2015 recruiting class signed a little less than four years ago.
“He’s cool,” Omenihu said. “It’s all good.”
So you do?
Is that a yes?
Ehlinger was more forthright, at least in some respects.
On Monday, he broke his self-imposed silence on social media to send this tweet:
Ok. Cool— Sam Ehlinger (@sehlinger3) November 26, 2018
“I don’t know, honestly. I shouldn’t be on it,” he said when asked about why he returned to social media.
Who were you tweeting at yesterday?
”Oh, I was just tweeting myself.”
Why that phrase?
”I don’t know, that’s a good question. I just like the phrase.”
When asked about the apparently testy exchange between Ehlinger and Murray in the immediate aftermath of Okahoma’s loss in the Cotton Bowl, the Texas quarterback said he went up to Murray to congratulate him on his performance.
Widely rumored to have told Murray to “take the loss” after the Oklahoma quarterback failed to accept Ehlinger’s congratulations, the memories of what happened after that are apparently a bit hazy now.
Ehlinger said he couldn’t recall what he said to Murray, called Murray a “great competitor,” and said that he was just excited about going to celebrate the win with his teammates.
Asked about Murray’s lack of a comment about respecting Ehlinger on Monday, the sophomore said he wasn’t bothered by it.
“I’d absolutely l love to comment on that,” Ehlinger said. “I absolutely respect his game.”
See, not so difficult. Ehlinger didn’t even appear to suffer any physical or emotional distress in offering that belief. Of course, he doesn’t have to battle through the sting of losing that game, either.
Other than Omenihu, Texas defenders were highly complimentary of Murray, too, just like Ehlinger — senior defensive tackle Chris Nelson called Murray the fastest quarterback he’s ever faced and freshman safety Caden Sterns compared Murray to former Virginia Tech and NFL star Michael Vick.
For Omenihu, though, it’s all about what happens at AT&T Stadium in a matter of hours.
“When you play the game, ain’t nothing they said on the podium is going to matter. You call it disrespect, I think it’s comedy. They handle things how they want to handle it. We’re going to handle it how we handle it. All I know is on Saturday it will all be handled.”
Forever and ever, amen.