Oklahoma Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Oklahoma Sooners
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Oklahoma Sooners Preview 2006 - OU Further Analysis

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 crown.

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.

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