Oklahoma will go into the 2019 college football season trying to replace several key players, including Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 NFL draft pick Kyler Murray, but head coach Lincoln Riley doesn't seem concerned.
"We don't plan on the offense dipping and we definitely expect the defense to be better," Riley said Monday, per Brett McMurphy of Stadium.
This will be the second straight season Oklahoma will have to replace a Heisman winner at quarterback after Baker Mayfield won the award in 2017.
The Sooners didn't miss a beat without Mayfield, posting a 12-2 record behind Murray while leading the country with 48.4 points per game.
Once again, the team found a new dynamic quarterback after landing Jalen Hurts as a graduate transfer following three seasons at Alabama. Hurts was a starter in his first two years until losing his job to Tua Tagovailoa, but he impressed throughout his time on the field with 48 passing touchdowns and 23 rushing touchdowns in his career.
Although he is less of a passing threat than either Mayfield or Murray, the new starting quarterback should be able to find plenty of success in this system.
The return of impact skill players like Kennedy Brooks and CeeDee Lamb should also ensure the offense remains one of the best in the country.
As Riley noted, the defense will also be scary with players like Kenneth Murray and Tre Brown returning after strong seasons.
Clemson and Alabama will once again be the favorites to win a championship, but Oklahoma shouldn't be too far behind them as a top contender in 2019.