Oklahoma Sooners Spring Practice: Previewing the Offense
The Oklahoma Sooners are well into their spring practice schedule, going through four workouts this past week.
Sooners will also be getting in three workouts this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. One of those will be an intrasquad scrimmage. Head coach Bob Stoops expressed a desire to get a lot of work in before spring break starts on March 19.
As we continue to look at the 2012 edition of the Oklahoma Sooners, we turn our attention to the offense, and how the Sooners can progress during spring practice.
Quarterback: Landry Jones returns for his senior season, poised to break every passing record in OU history. While not every OU fan was happy with his decision, having Jones back at the helm is the best possible scenario for the Sooners’ offensive success this season. Sophomore Blake Bell is back as well, ready to engineer the “Belldozer” formation, which was virtually unstoppable last season. Although, Stoops said if the Sooners are able to solve their red zone issues, the Belldozer won’t be necessary anymore. Junior Drew Allen and redshirt freshman Kendal Thompson will be vying for back up positions. 2012 signee Trevor Knight will join the team in the summer.
Running Back: The Sooners are fairly thin at running back, at least during spring practice. Juniors Roy Finch and Brennan Clay lead the group, along with redshirt freshman Danzel Williams and sophomore Julian Winters. Stoops said fullbacks Marshall Musil and Trey Millard will also be getting a lot of carries in the spring. Williams is one of the best athletes on the team, and Finch and Clay have already established themselves as solid running backs. Dominique Whaley is expected to be ready by the beginning of fall camp. The Sooners will welcome in freshmen Alex Ross and David Smith, along with junior college transfer Damien Williams in the summer.
Wide receivers: Life without Ryan Broyles will be a lot easier if Landry Jones and the remaining wide receivers can establish a high level of chemistry during the next month of spring practice. Junior Kenny Stills will be looked at as the leader of the unit, and it will be up to him to step up into that role. Jaz Reynolds is a go, after a kidney ailment at the end of last season put his future in doubt. The Sooners have plenty of young talent at the position, but the receiver who could benefit the most from spring practice is newcomer Trey Metoyer. Metoyer, originally a member of the 2011 Sooner signing class, joined the Sooners in January after spending the fall at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. Metoyer is a big, physical receiver, and if he and Jones are able to establish a solid connection this spring, it will bode well for the OU offense in the 2012 season. OU also has four excellent recruits joining the squad in the fall.
Offensive line: The Sooners return the majority of the offensive line, losing two starters, but returning many more who saw action in 2011. Junior Gabe Ikard and seniors Ben Habern, Tyler Evans, and Lane Johnson anchor the line, but OU also has several younger players who have seen considerable action over the past few seasons. Juniors Bronson Irwin and Austin Woods have been impressive when they’ve seen the field, as have been sophomores Tyrus Thompson, Daryl Williams, and Adam Shead. Stoops has also praise redshirt freshman Derek Farniok, a 6’9″, 325 behemoth, for his work during the offseason. No matter what combination of players OU uses on the offensive line, they’ll be experienced and have great chemistry. Incoming junior college transfer Will Latu, who will join the Sooners in the summer, will also be in the mix for a starting spot at tackle.
Tight end: Easily the thinnest position for the OU offense. Without the new players on the roster this spring, OU would have been operating with just one tight end, redshirt freshman John-Philip Hughes. However, the additions of junior college transfer Brannon Green and freshman Taylor McNamara have bolstered the depth slightly. All three will be receiving all the reps during spring practice, so the learning curve is going to be steep. However, OU can’t wait around for these players to learn slowly. They need to learn the offense as soon as possible. However, with as many wide receivers OU has, the tight end might not be used as frequently in 2012. Freshman Sam Grant, a native of Ohio, will be joining the Sooners in the summer.