1st and Ten – Growth and
Evaluation – All you’d like to see from a young QB is
growth. Okay, so maybe you want 4,000 yards and 40 TDs, but
that’s not realistic. Growth, now that’s reasonable. Each
week, show up prepared, manage the game and don’t make
mistakes. You can’t ask a redshirt freshman to do more than
that really. Sometimes that is difficult enough. Just ask
Oklahoma QB Rhett Bomar. The former high school stud QB from
Grand Prairie, TX found out how tough it was to succeed at the
quarterback position in college. But, what he also learned was
that this Oklahoma team would often ride his wave, if you will.
When Bomar struggled, the Sooners seemed to struggle. Now, he
didn’t have that kid from Palestine, Texas in the backfield for
the full year, which probably stunted his progress, and also
sped up the growing process, all at the same time. Early in the
season, the Sooner QB was more like a bull in a china shop.
Every throw was 100 miles an hour. He ran with reckless
abandon, running through anyone and anything. But, as the
season progressed the game slowed down for him. Take for
example, the Holiday Bowl in which he was voted the offensive
MVP of the game with a 17 of 30 performance for 229 yards and
one touchdown. It was that touchdown throw to JD Runnels (who
will be missed dearly) that showed how far he had come. He had
to put some touch on it and put in the one spot that Runnels
could catch the ball. Throughout that game, Bomar’s footwork
and decision making were strong and he kept the chains moving.
With that season behind him, he’ll have more pressure this year
dealing with a new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson (who’ll be
‘super, thanks for asking’) and an offensive line that must
replace four of five starters. But, if last year is any
indication, he should continue to grow and move the Sooners up
and down the field.
2nd and Seven – Mr. Smith
Goes to Norman – The name Reggie Smith may only be familiar
to baseball fans who followed the LA Dodgers back in the 1970s,
but in Norman, there’s only one Reggie Smith. The true
sophomore stepped into the Sooner secondary last year at strong
safety and made his way on to Freshman All-America teams by
season’s end. The sky is the absolute limit for Smith who has
the Sooner faithful buzzing. What makes Smith so special is
that he could play any position in the secondary and eventually
be a first team All-American. The Sooners have had their share
of big-time DBs and Smith is definitely the next to wear the
3rd and Three – Linebacker U?
– In a similar manner to the way the Dallas Cowboys were
anointed America’s Team, Penn State ‘earned’ it’s moniker -
Linebacker U. For as good as the linebackers have been in Happy
Valley, the Sooner faithful could generate a convincing argument
for being Linebacker U, especially over the past 20 years.
Think of the backers that we’ve seen come through Norman since
1986. Brian Bosworth. Rocky Calmus. Lance Mitchell. Teddy
Lehman. Torrance Marshall. Four Butkus Awards in that group.
Then, there’s this year’s duo – Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer
– arguably, the best linebacker duo in the nation. The latter
was named first team All-Big XII and is the leader of the
defense. Latimer was second on the team in tackles behind
Alexander. The Oklahoma linemen do a tremendous job of freeing
up Latimer and Alexander to get to the ball and make tackles,
which they do well. But, in the mold of their predecessors,
these two can affect the game in so many ways, they’re physical
and nasty and they’ll lead this defense throughout 2006.
4th and One – And, don’t
think we forgot AD – There’s a word for the way he runs.
Adrian Peterson, that is. Violent. Explosive. Purposeful.
Punishing. Beautiful. Okay, so maybe there are a few words
that help describe his running style. But, the word we’re
looking for here is valuable. So, maybe it doesn’t describe how
he runs, but it does describe #28 as an Oklahoma Sooner. There
might not be a more valuable football player to his respective
team than Peterson. Sure, there are so many great players in
college football, but Peterson? His passionate running style
filters through this team. Watch what happens when Peterson
runs over a defender on his way for six. Every single member of
this team feeds off of what two eight does with the ball in his
hands. When he was injured last year, that swagger and
confidence was minimized. They did win a few games in his
absence, but this is a completely different team, in so many
respects, when AD carries it 20+ times in a game. Oh yeah, one
more word, just thought about – healthy. Uh oh.