Very few people know what has been going on with the Oklahoma offense this summer due to the lockdown of fall camp. Even with the secrecy, many of the experts have the Sooners in the top five in the country this year heading into the season. With so many unknown variables, it is hard to tell if this ranking is justified. We might not find out too much about this team until they face Kansas State at home on Sept. 22. This additional time should give the team a chance to gel before facing off against a tough Big 12 schedule this year.
With the return of Landry Jones the offense looks to be in good shape to make another run at a Big 12 title this year. Quarterback is the most vital position in college football. Every year we see highly ranked teams with an unproven quarterback get an unexpected loss in the first few weeks of the season. Jones should bring enough poise to the offense to help them overcome some early season challenges. Blake Bell seems to be establishing himself as the backup and is also a valuable part of the offense when the Belldozer package is in the game.
The Sooners are returning several key skill position players, but they’ve also added several new faces this year. Kenny Stills is the one known quantity at receiver right now. After Stills the Sooners have an abundance of unproven talent. Trey Metoyer had a tremendous spring, but is yet to show his skills on Saturdays. He looks to be the early favorite as Jones’ number two receiver. The recent transfer of wide receiver Justin Brown from Penn State could be just what the team needs. He adds needed experience and talent having played big time college football for the Nittany Lions the past three years. The wild card could be the emergence of Jalen Saunders. He is a transfer from Fresno State. It’s not clear yet if the NCAA will allow him to play this year or not. He was an All-Conference player last year and if allowed to play could be a huge factor in the offense this fall.
The running back position appears to be restocked this year after last year’s injuries and attrition left the position lacking heading into the spring. Dom Whaley seems to be almost back to full strength. Brennan Clay should be the backup to start the season. This could also be the year when we finally see Trey Millard come in and get his fair share of the carries. Newcomer Damien Williams could make an immediate impact. He is a juco transfer with great power and speed.
With the losses of Ben Habern and Tyler Evans, the Sooners will rely heavily on Gabe Ikard to bring leadership to the line. The line also returns Adam Shead who proved to be a road grader in the middle last season. The right tackle position seems to be solidified with Daryl Williams manning that spot. However, the left tackle position is still up in the air with Lane Johnson and Tyrus Thompson battling it out heading into the season. The line is loaded with potential but will have a lot to prove if this team is going to be a contender this year.
Tomorrow: Part 2 – Defense