2010 Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus
Game 1: SMU Mustangs (9.5.10) :: Game 2: @ New Mexico Lobos (9.11.10) :: Game 3: Texas Longhorns (9.18.10) :: Game 4: @ Iowa St. Cyclones (10.2.10) :: Game 5: Baylor Bears (10.09.10) :: Game 6: Oklahoma St. Cowboys :: Game 7: @ Colorado Buffaloes (10.23.10) :: Game 8: @ Texas A&M Aggies (10.30.10) :: Game 9: Missouri Tigers (11.06.10) :: Game 10: @ (11.13.10) :: Game 11: Weber St. Wildcats (11.20.10) :: Game 12: (11.27.10)
|Head Coach||Bob Stoops|
|2009 Record||8-5, 5-3|
|Starters Returning||9 Offense : 4 Defense|
|Blogs||Crimson and Cream Machine : Blatant Homerism : Boomer and Sooner|
|Links||Post-Spring Depth Chart|
Join me after the jump for a closer look at the Sooners.
|Pass Offense||289.23 (11)||386.77 (2)|
|Rush Offense||134.62 (77)||84.00 (115)|
|Total Offense||423.85 (23)||470.77 (4)|
|Scoring Offense||31.08 (29)||37.00 (7)|
|Pass Efficiency||130.68 (52)||143.79 (19)|
|Sacks Allowed||1.15 (16)||2.38 (87)|
|Pass Defense||179.69 (20)||225.62 (73)|
|Rush Defense||92.92 (8)||126.77 (38)|
|Total Defense||272.62 (8)||352.38 (49)|
|Scoring Defense||14.54 (7)||22.46 (41)|
|Pass Efficiency Defense||98.98 (7)||117.38 (35)|
|Sacks||2.92 (6)||3.09 (4)|
|Tackles For Loss||7.54 (9)||6.46 (34)|
|Turnover Margin||0.31 (36)||-0.46 (94)|
|Rushing||DeMarco Murray :: 171 Rushes : 705 Yards : 8 TD|
|Passing||Landry Jones :: 261/449 : 3,198 Yards : 14 INT : 26 TD|
|Receiving||Ryan Broyles :: 89 Receptions : 1,120 Yards : 11 TD|
|Tackles||Travis Lewis :: 56 Solo : 53 Assists : 109 Total|
|Sacks||Jeremy Beal :: 9 Solo : 4 Assists : 82 Yards : 11.0 Total|
|Interceptions||Quinton Carter :: 4 INT : 24 Yards : 0 TD|
Key Losses and Returning Impact Players
Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on the opponent, but I try my best. If I have something wrong, please let me know and I'll correct or revise as necessary.
QB Sam Bradford, RB Chris Brown, TE Germaine Grisham, DT Gerald McCoy, DE Auston English, LB Keenan Clayton, LB Ryan Reynolds, CB Dominique Franks CB Brian Jackson
Impact Offensive Player :: WR Ryan Broyles:
Based on production alone, Broyles is the hands-down best receiver in the Big 12 and certainly the best on his team. Even though he missed a game last year, he finished with 1,120 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns. Broyes caught for over 100 yards on six different occasions. Personally, I think Broyles is the best player on the team and if Jones can get him the ball in space, he's awfully dangerous.
Impact Defensive Player :: DE Jeremy Beal:
Gerald McCoy was dominant last year, but Beal may have been even better (I know, they played different positions). Beal finished with 11 sacks, 19 TFL and 69 tackles, which was good for 5th on the team. Beal is a dominant pass-rusher and is probably should be considered as one of the best pass-rushers in the Big 12 (along with Von Miller, Jared Crick, Aldon Smith and Sam Acho).
Head Coach Bob Stoops on QB Jones:
"Of course we didn't want to lose our (2008) Heisman Trophy winner," OU coach Bob Stoops said of Bradford's hard-luck season. "But it definitely made Landry a totally different player coming into this spring.
"He's a much more improved and comfortable player having gone through that entire year."
T. Lewis Has Great Spring: LB Travis Lewis had a great spring according to DC Venables:
"Travis had a great spring. I saw him improve. A lot of older guys have the tendency to either not get better or regress, and he took it personally and attacked his weaknesses. Had a great attitude and was a great leader. That’s one position I can say is set, he’s our starting Will. He’s earned it, and he needs to continue to lead that way going into the offseason."
Jones More Comfortable: OU quarterback Landry Jones is more comfortable this year:
"Young guys sometimes maybe try to hang on (to the football) a little too long and get some sacks," offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. "But you can tell that Landry is much more comfortable. He looks more fluid running around. He's started scrambling. He's taking care of his body. He's in better shape, running a lot better."
Added center Ben Habern: "He shows a lot more confidence in the pocket. I think he's trusting the o-line a lot more."
Freshman WR to Make Impact: Freshman receiver Kenny Stills led the Red/White game in receptions:
"I felt like when I left high school that’s what the possibilities were for me," Stills said. "I felt like if I was going to leave early, I better put my best foot forward and go out there and work hard every day and try to get on the field."
It was an impressive debut.
The Sooners struggled at receiver beyond Ryan Broyles and Dejuan Miller, who emerged late in the season, last year. Having a big spring game could elevate Stills’ status heading into the fall.
"He looks like a guy that’s got a chance to be a good player. He looks like he could be one of our more comfortable, instinctive guys, ahead of the curve," offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. "If we’re playing today, you would think he would have a nice role."
McFarland Can't Be McCoy: DT Jamarkus McFarland must lead a young defensive line:
"I can't take his place," McFarland said. "I don't know if some of the guys can. But we all are different players."
Right now, the Sooners have just four scholarship defensive tackles. One of those, Justin Chaisson, redshirted last season and has never played the position before. Another, Stacy McGee, spent some time in 2009 helping out on the offensive line. Another, Casey Walker, has almost zero game experience.
Which leaves McFarland, the most experienced of the group, despite the fact he was a true freshman last season.
It's a big spring for OU's defensive tackles.
"We're lacking right now," McFarland said.
Not to worry, McFarland says. Not with Jackie Shipp still coaching the position. If Adrian Taylor returns from a severely broken leg he suffered in the Sun Bowl, then the defensive tackles currently participating in spring practice will have some experience and leadership to help them along. If Taylor can't go, McFarland says they'll be fine anyway.
Murray Not a Spectator: During the spring, RB DeMarco Murray was not a spectator:
Instead, the running back from Las Vegas is healthy, and looking to make significant gains this off-season to go out his season year in style as Oklahoma’s featured back.
"To not have to take four or five months off and get back used to taking hits, carrying the ball, making cuts. ... and instead working out and getting stronger and faster will help me," said Murray, who had the option of turning pro, but decided to return to Norman for his final season, in part because he felt he could improve his draft stock.
"I’m feeling good right now just like I did my freshman season."
Offensive Line Seeks Chemistry: Last year's battered offensive line looks to rebound this year with better chemistry:
In 13 games, the Sooners started 11 different O-line combinations. Injuries were a major part of the formula. But so was inconsistency. So was inexperience. So was ineffectiveness.
"It gave me a lot of character, built a lot of character in me," said Cory Brandon.
"Last season, first game, we had like a billion penalties," said Tyler Evans.
Now, O-line coach James Patton and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, more than halfway through spring practice, are hoping this year's offensive line is less about mixing and testing, and more about identifying which elements go where.
"They're kind of staying pretty steady right now with where we're at," Wilson said.
That means Cory Brandon is at left tackle and Donald Stephenson is at right tackle. Jarvis Jones and Stephen Good are at guard, backed up by Evans and Tavaris Jeffries. And the big news of the week was the limited return of Ben Habern at center, where he splits time with Brian Lepak. Both Habern and Lepak are coming off injuries from last season.
"Chemistry's important," Brandon said.
Beal Dominates Spring Game: DE Jeremy Beal was outstanding during OU's spring game:
Speaking of Beal, if Saturday has been an actual game, he might have killed somebody’s quarterback. The senior end had five sacks and was basically unblockable by anyone the Red could throw at him.
He looks to be in store for an All-American-type season.
C Habern Looks to Improve: OU's center Ben Habern has recovered from a broken fibula and says that injuries was the biggest problem last year:
Looking back at it, now that you’ve had some time to reflect, what, besides the injuries, was the problem with the line? "Honestly, I think the injuries were the biggest part of it. Then it was just the fact that we had to keep rotating guys in and we just couldn’t find a solid five guys that would fit. You guys saw it, and everybody else saw the different guards and different tackles we had in there. We had tackles going to guard, guards going to center and tackles going to center, and tight ends coming in. It was just a weird year and we never were able to have that stable line that we needed to have. I feel like that’s where we’re getting right now."
vs. Texas Tech:
The more and more I research each and every team on Texas Tech's schedule, the more I think that there's really not a clear and convincing argument for anyone to be atop the Big 12. It seems as each and every team has lost significant talent and OU is no different. The Sooners had 7 players drafted, including four 1st round picks in Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham who played little, if any last year. The thing I always have to keep reminding myself is that there's probably a pretty good chance that OU is replacing talent with talent, but I still have a hard time convincing myself experience doesn't matter.
Offensively, I think the direction of the offense will be guided as to how well L. Jones plays each and every game. I think that Jones is an okay quarterback, and perhaps he'll get better with a year of experience, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to say at the end of the year, each game will be dependent on how Jones plays. It also wouldn't surprise me to see OU run the ball more this year, especially with a healthy Murray and an offensive line that should be better. And despite the fact that the offensive line did struggle last year, as a unit, they still only allowed 15 sacks for the year. However, there are significant questions. Donald Stephenson is expected to take over the left tackle position, but Stephenson was suspended for the entire 2009 season for undisclosed team rule violations. Then this spring he was arrested because he had warrants out for failing to take care of some minor traffic violations. That's who will be protecting Jones blindside. The rest of the line should be okay, with Habern coming back from the injury and the left guard (Stephen Good), right guard (Tyler Evans) and right tackle (Cory Brandon) positions played most of last year.
The receiver position is mostly unknown, other than Broyles. As mentioned above, freshman WR Stills had a terrific spring, but the returning wide-outs don't have the biggest numbers in terms of production. The team's second leading receiver is RB Murray and the other receivers were okay, but from what I can tell from the spring reports, there weren't many receivers that did much of anything to really distinguish themselves from their competition (i.e. there wasn't one player that stepped up to be the second in command behind Broyles). Murray should be fine at running back, assuming he stays healthy. Behind Murray is very little experience, but I'm pretty sure that OU hasn't had problems with running backs in quite some time.
Defensively, the Sooners are replacing both cornerbacks, which is always an adjustment. Sophomore Demontre Hurst and senior Jonathan Nelson look to be the starters. Both played quite a bit last year, especially Nelson, who still finished with 47 tackles last year. Both safeties return (I think they both started for most, if not all of last year) in Sam Proctor and Quinton Carter.
LB Travis Lewis will most likely lead the defense in terms of tackles for the third straight year. OU is very high on redshirt freshman LB Tom Wort, who was injured last year, but most are expecting that he makes an immediate impact. LB's Austin Box and Ronnell Lewis also return to fill in the gaps if Wort isn't ready. The defensive line is very young (not including the defensive ends). The two-deep for the Sooners at DT and NG consists of 3 sophomores and 1 senior, Adrian Taylor, who was pretty good last year. The strength of the defense is probably in the DE's Beal and Frank Alexander. Alexander will have to step up his game, but Beal is exceptional.
Overall, the Sooner defense should, again, be very good, but I'm still not sold that the Sooner offense will be up to their typical expectations. Lots of holes to fill and players, especially receivers and offensive linemen, need to step up their play. I'm not 100% sold that OU is the best team in the Big 12, although it's been pointed out that of OU's five losses last year, four were by a touchdown or less: BYU - 1 point; Miami (FL) - 1 point; Texas - 3 points; and Nebraska - 7 points. The loss to Texas Tech was the one really bad loss for the Sooners. Despite all of their problems last year, they were close on a bunch of them, and I can certainly understand why Sooners are hopeful in 2010.