Hurts on Sooners: Different team, same mission

Hurts on Mayfield, Murray comparisons: 'I'm me' (1:17)

Jalen Hurts deflects comparisons of former Oklahoma QBs Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and says he's focused on contributing to his new team. (1:17)

NORMAN, Okla. -- In his first interview since transferring to Oklahoma, quarterback Jalen Hurts embraced the pressure of replacing back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners while shifting the focus of questions about his Alabama past to his upcoming season with the Sooners.

"I think I clearly understood what I got myself into, but I also know I have expectations for myself," Hurts said Wednesday during a wide-ranging news conference. "This whole situation is unique. Everything about it is unique. For me, I know it's happening to a unique person. I'm not your average Joe. I'm built for these types of situations. Never really been anything in my way I couldn't overcome, or see through. I'm here to do whatever I can to help this team in any way, to achieve the things we want to achieve as a team."

In January, Hurts became one of the most high-profile transfers in college football history, leaving one playoff program for another.

In two seasons as the starter for the Crimson Tide, Hurts went 26-2, was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year, threw for 4,861 yards, rushed for another 809 yards and totaled 61 touchdowns.

But with the Alabama offense fizzling in the national championship game two seasons ago, Hurts was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa, who propelled the Crimson Tide to a comeback victory over Georgia. Before last season, Tagovailoa won the starting job, leaving Hurts as the backup.

"I'm wiser, I'm better, stronger for it," Hurts said. "You never get a guy that does those things, not lose that many games and end up in that situation, then to get the opportunity of a second chance, so they say, and take advantage of it.

"The things I've done and achieved, those won't help us win any games in the fall. This is not about the past. It's about what are we going to do with the time we have together as a team." Jalen Hurts

"New opportunity. Different team, on the same mission."

That opportunity includes succeeding Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, who both took the Sooners to the playoffs in coach Lincoln Riley's first two seasons at Oklahoma. Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick in last year's NFL draft and Murray could go No. 1 next month.

"I don't want to get into comparisons. Baker is Baker, Kyler is Kyler and I'm me," Hurts said. "Coach Riley has done an exceptional job thus far since I've been here, of setting that foundation of how things should be. To achieve more, you gotta elevate yourself, gotta give an honest self-assessment on yourself so you can do the things you want to do."

Hurts, without going into details, conceded a contrast between Alabama and Oklahoma, from the culture to the locker room to the coaches. But he said he has been adjusting well.

"It's always different. Nothing is ever the same," he said. "Think about the coaches. An older coach in Coach [Nick] Saban, a younger coach in Coach Riley. They are both great, dang good coaches.

"They both want nothing but that standard of play."

Hurts noted that he has grown as a player over the past three years, including as a passer, even while on the bench. Hurts was electric in relieving Tagovailoa in the SEC championship game, where he rallied Alabama to victory over Georgia, clinching the Crimson Tide's playoff spot.

But whenever asked about what he did at Alabama, Hurts quickly pivoted to Oklahoma.

"My past success, the things I've done and achieved, those won't help us win any games in the fall," Hurts said. "This is not about the past. It's about what are we going to do with the time we have together as a team.

"I feel like if we can come together and do those things, work hard, build that bond on all phases, the sky is the limit."