NORMAN, Okla. — Lincoln Riley can’t imagine a fall without football.

“I feel by September, the world is going to need football,” the Oklahoma football coach said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. “Hopefully, I think a lot of that will be determined by our country’s response to this and how serious every single person takes it. Hopefully we, as a country, can do the best we can.” 

Riley, like plenty of other coaches around the country, is still adjusting to the strange reality of a world without sports. His Sooners were scheduled to be almost halfway through spring football by now. Instead, the team is scattered around the country and in-person workouts are prohibited as the country works to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there are some difficulties, Riley said his team is better prepared to handle this type of circumstance better now that they would’ve been last year — even at quarterback where redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler and redshirt sophomore Tanner Mordecai are battling for the job.

“It just doesn’t give me anxiety right now,” Riley said of the loss of quarterback reps. “These guys, I’ve been in the meeting room with them for a long time. I’ve seen them play, seen them practice, seen how they prepare and just getting a feel for their knowledge of what we’re doing. I’ve got a lot of confidence in those two.”

Riley said some players are starting to return to Norman, “just because they’re ready to be back in their places right now” but estimated that 80-85% of the Sooners remained at home.

Sunday, the Big 12 released guidelines allowing for programs to conduct two hours of virtual meetings each week and to send athletes both strength and conditioning plans and limited equipment and apparel.

“I was excited about the steps,” Riley said. “We needed to take them. So glad that we got to a point where we were able to do a few of those things.

“Now, I think some of this will evolve.”

Riley specifically mentioned the current limit of two hours per week of virtual group activities — including film study.

“We’re in a period right now football-wise where we are supposed to have 20 hours a week with our guys,” Riley said. “We get that that’s not feasible. We totally understand that. I think with the amount of time that these guys have right now, other than working out and handling their classwork virtually, there’s a lot of time that we could continue to be improving these guys.

“I hope at some point we can ramp that up a little bit to make up for some lost time. Not just competitively, but from a development standpoint. They all want to get to their peak as players.”

One of the most difficult things, Riley said, is coming up with personalized workout plans for each player.

Even players within position groups sometimes have varied goals to meet during strength and conditioning sessions, but in this environment the added factor of having players with different access to equipment makes that customization more difficult.

“The accessibility ranges from nothing to some guys still having full facilities to work out at,” Riley said. “They work out at different times, and their access to different nutrition is varied as well. It’s become very individualized. I give Coach (Bennie) Wylie, our strength staff and our nutrition team a bunch of credit because you can’t just lay out a blanket plan for your team. You have to take those things into consideration.”