2010 Oklahoma Preview - Offense
Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Oklahoma Sooner Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: After the Spinal Tap drummer-like array of mishaps throughout last year, the O is now loaded with veterans and should be far better. The key will be the maturation of QB Landry Jones, who stepped in when Sam Bradford went down and had a good year. He'll get more help behind a line that suffered injury after injury in 2009 and should be far more consistent this season. The return of RB DeMarco Murray gives the ground game a star to work around, while WR Ryan Broyles will be on the short list for the Bilitnikoff Award as the leader of a fast, promising group of receivers.
Star of the offense: Junior WR Ryan Broyles
Passing: Landry Jones
261-449, 3,198 yds, 26 TD, 14 INT
Rushing: DeMarco Murray
171 carries, 705 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Ryan Broyles
89 catches, 1,120 yds, 15 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT Donald Stephenson
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR DeJuan Miller
Best pro prospect: Senior RB DeMarco Murray
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Broyles, 2) Murray, 3) QB Landry Jones
Strength of the offense: Speed and athleticism, passing game
Weakness of the offense: Cohesive offensive line, No. 2 receiver
Projected Starter: Thrown into a bad situation after Sam Bradford went down with a shocking injury, sophomore Landry Jones stepped in and came up with a better season than he got credit for. While he wasn't Bradford, he was terrific considering the offensive line wasn't nearly as strong as it was over the previous few years and the same firepower wasn't there in the receiving corps. At 6-4 and 216 pounds he has good size, a terrific arm, and handled himself well under the pressure leading all freshmen in passing yards and finished completing 58% of his throws for 3,198 yards and 26 scores with 14 interceptions. While there was a record-setting six touchdown pass day against Tulsa and five touchdown passes thrown against Texas A&M, he threw five interceptions in the loss to Nebraska and two against Texas. The talent is there, he was considered a top recruit a few years ago, and now he has the experience. There will be some rough spots, but he has the tools to be great.
Projected Top Reserves: Redshirt freshman Drew Allen got to school early last year and has had more than a year in the system, but he's not ready to step in and shine. A fantastic athlete with great speed, tremendous strength, and a live arm in a 6-5, 224-pound frame, he's a more mobile option than Jones and has all the tools. Now he needs some game action.
The Sooners picked up yet another big, talented pro-style quarterback in Blake Bell , a top recruit with 6-6, 215-pound size and a live arm. Considered by some to be the best passing quarterback prospect in this year's class, he'll get a few years to develop with a limitless upside to get excited about.
Watch Out For … Jones to be really, really good. No one ever blamed him for the team's problems last year, and while he didn't come up big in losses to BYU and Texas, and the five picks against Nebraska were a problem, he was just trying to survive at times. Now that he knows what he's doing, and with more experience around him, he should come up with a terrific year.
Strength: Pro-style passers. The days of having nice college talents who produce big because of the system and the team are over. Now the Sooners get the top-shelf quarterback prospects on a regular basis and there are two good once in Allen and Bell waiting in the wings.
Weakness: Overall experience. Jones has a year of time as the starter, but he's still scratching the surface on his career. Allen and Bell are talented but are still very, very young.
Outlook: The Sooners will always get big-time production out of their quarterbacks, and Jones has the talent and the potential to be a 4,000-yard passer if everything breaks right. Getting the backups some playing time is a must as the team will start from square one if Jones goes down or struggles.
Unit Rating: 7.5
Projected Starters: No, DeMarco Murray wasn't around in the Barry Switzer era and he didn't join Steve Owens in the Sooner backfield, but it just seems that way. The senior has always had elite talent with phenomenal athleticism and speed, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy through a slew of bad luck injuries. He has had a bad hamstring, a dislocated kneecap, and various other dings, but he has still carved out a decent career with 2,471 yards and 35 touchdowns to go along with 86 catches for 977 yards and eight scores. If he's right, he's an NFL-caliber runner who could carry the offense and come up with an All-America season. He's 6-0 and 214 pounds with 4.4 speed and tremendous quickness, and while he has tread on the tires, he could blow up if he can stay healthy.
Projected Top Reserves With Chris Brown gone, the opportunity is there for sophomore Jermie Calhoun to pick up the production and be a bigger factor. The 6-0, 218-pounder got his feet wet in his first year rushing for 220 yards and a score, with 94 yards in the blowout over Texas A&M, and he has the talent to blow up if he gets more work. One of the team's top recruits two years ago, he ran for 1,910 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior quarterback for Van High in Texas. Considered the No. 1 running back prospect in the nation by many in 2008, he has speed, vision, and good receiving skills.
6-0, 190-pound sophomore Jonathan Miller had a knee injury in his true freshman season, but he was able to see a little bit of work in seven games rushing 18 times for 130 yards and a score. A speedster with excellent cutback ability and slippery moves, but he needs to get 100% healthy. He still has a redshirt year to take, and could use a bit more time.
Top running back recruit Brennan Clay is expected to see time early one; he's too good not to see time. On everyone's list of the best prospects in this year's class, the 5-11, 194-pounder out of San Diego can catch, hit the home run, and is a smart player. Versatile, he was the first player in California history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 1,000 yards worth of passes.
Roy Finch wasn't considered the top recruit that Clay was, but the 5-8, 180-pounder who got away from Florida fits the OU mold as a quick, tough back who can catch the ball. He's not going to power over anyone, but he can fly and has a nose for the goal line.
Redshirt freshman Marshall Musil will step in at fullback when the offense uses on. He's not a big blocker at just 6-0 and 218 pounds, but he was a good high school runner and could be great around the goal line. He's also a receiver with soft hands and tremendous speed; he was a top Kansas high school sprinter.
Watch Out For … Murray to come up with a special season. He's not going to be used on kickoff returns ever again, even though he was a special returner in his first two years, and he's not going to be overworked, but he's going to be the featured back and he could be a lock for 15+ touchdowns and be in the hunt for major honors if he can stay healthy. He's too good not to finish off with a bang.
Strength: Quick, speed backs. Murray can move but he might not even be the anchor on the OU running back relay team. Calhoun, Finch, and Clay have elite jets, and even the fullback, Musil, is a special straight-line runner.
Weakness: Power. OU backs at all sizes are never afraid to hit anyone, but there isn't a thumper to guarantee a first down on fourth-and-short. There also isn't a slew of experience behind Murray, who's hardly a sure thing to stay healthy.
Outlook: Last year the Sooners had a near 50/50 split of carries between Murray and Chris Brown, and while the ground game was good, it wasn't strong enough to carry the offense when the passing attack wasn't working. That should change this year with an improved line to run behind and a more consistent passing
game to take the heat away.
Unit Rating: 8.5
Projected Starters: The Sooners needed a No. 1 target to emerge from the pack going into last year, and they really needed a player to settle things down once Sam Bradford went down and with Jermaine Gresham out. Junior Ryan Broyles stepped up his game and became terrific with a team-leading 89 catches for 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns for the offense, while averaging a tremendous 15.87 yards per punt return. A steady speedster, he was dominant at times with three, three-touchdown games including a 13-catch, 156-yard, three touchdown effort against Stanford in the Sun Bowl. The problem is his size at a wispy 5-11 and 178 pounds, and he could have problems staying healthy. He was knocked out of the Miami game and missed the Baylor game the week after, but he's tough, fast, and has a knack for always coming up with the key catch.
6-4, 224-pound junior DeJuan Miller grew into a dangerous target as the season went on finishing with 36 catches for 434 yards and a score with nine grabs against Kansas State and six against Stanford. Very fast (he was a New Jersey state sprinting champion) and very quick, he cuts and moves fluidly and could flourish on the other side of Broyles.
Looking to play a bigger role is sophomore Jaz Reynolds , a 6-2, 181-pound promising prospect who saw a little bit of time as a true freshman catching 13 passes for 256 yards averaging 19.7 yards per grab. He wasn't considered a top-shelf recruit, but he could be a big-time producer seeing single coverage on every play. He has the speed to be a deep threat.
With Jermaine Gresham and Brody Eldridge not factors last year, senior Erik Mensik got to see plenty of time with three starts and finishing with two catches for 14 yards. He's not an elite receiver, but at 6-6 and 265 pounds he's a good blocker who knows what he's doing. He'll be more like a third offensive tackle than a receiver, and he can fill in on the offensive line if needed, like he did late last year starting two games at right tackle.
Projected Top Reserves: While he didn't blow up, 6-1, 187-pound senior Brandon Caleb finished fourth on the team with 26 catches for 408 yards and two scores averaging 15.7 yards per grab. He has decent size and uses it well as a physical target with good athleticism and toughness. Athletic, he was a three-time Virginia state championship long jumper and also won titles in the high hurdles.
Senior Cameron Kenney came in from the JUCO ranks and produced right away catching 22 passes for 268 yards with a touchdown with his best performance a six-grab, 72-yard, one score game against Miami when Ryan Broyles went down. The 6-1, 190-pounder has excellent deep speed and will be used more as a deep threat, home-run hitter on the outside.
Senior Mossis Madu started off his career as a running back and has 724 career yards and eight touchdowns (highlighted by a 114-yard day in the 2008 Big 12 Championship), but he moved over to receiver and ended up getting less work. He caught 12 passes as a sophomore running back and just seven as a receiver last season, but he was a decent kickoff returner. At 6-0 and 200 pounds he's built more like a running back, but he's tough in the slot and has excellent quickness.
When the offense needs more of a receiving threat at tight end, junior Trent Ratterree will step in for Eric Mensik after getting four starts last year and catching 11 passes for 152 yards. The 6-3, 225-pound junior doesn't have special skills, but he's a decent athlete with nice hands and good route-running ability.
Watch Out For … Broyles to be a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. No OU player has ever won it, but Broyles will be on the radar from the start and should be even better with a more experienced Landry Jones throwing to him and with a better supporting cast around him.
Strength: Speed and quickness. OU's receiving corps is packed with former high school all-star sprinters and enough overall speed to blow past everyone. Even last year when the Sooners were rebuilding they averaged a solid 12.5 yards per catch with 28 touchdowns.
Weakness: Tight end. There's no Jermaine Gresham to count on with Mensik a blocker and Ratterree a limited talent. The offense might need star recruit Austin Haywood to be a factor sooner than later.
Outlook: Everything will be fine as long as Broyles is healthy. He's the star of the show and will be the focus of the passing game, but he's not a big target and might have times when he's banged up. Last year, RB DeMarco Murray was second on the team in catches while the rest of the receivers were fine, but hardly special. Miller and Reynolds have to do more.
Unit Rating: 8
Projected Starters: The first step will be to find a left tackle to replace All-American Trent Williams. 6-6, 285-pound junior Donald Stephenson is extremely strong and is one of the team's most athletic lineman, and he has all the raw tools, but he didn't play last year and he only saw a little bit of work in 2008. He isn't a lock to hold down the job, but he has the upside to be the one the offense works around for the next few years.
Getting a look at left tackle but likely to play on the right is senior Cory Brandon , a 6-7, 310-pound veteran who stepped in on the left side late last year when the line had to do some shuffling. He's not the best athlete among the linemen, but he's big, has a great reach, and is one of the team's most physical run blockers now that he has grown into his frame. He spent most of last year on the right side and should earn All-Big 12 honors if he stays there.
Very quietly, sophomore center Ben Habern came up with a nice year taking over for mainstay Jon Cooper. The 6-3, 288-pounder has had an ankle problem in his first two seasons and missed the last two games of last year with it, but he was able to get a year of eligibility back after getting hurt in his freshman campaign. Extremely talented, he was one of the nation's top center recruits and has all-star potential if he can last the season.
Back at a starting spot at left guard is Stephen Good , a 6-6, 291-pound veteran who spent five games at right guard and two on the left. He's a tough, strong veteran who was considered the team's second-best run blocker behind Trent Williams last year, but he's average in pass protection. He has the talent to be a rock for the next two years, but he has to stay healthy and it would be nice if he could stay in one spot.
Sophomore Tyler Evans is a strong blocker who got four starts at right guard but missed time with an ankle problem. In a perfect world, he's a stalwart at right guard for the next three years and turns into a key run blocker. He's one of the biggest linemen on the team and is becoming one of the strongest.
Projected Top Reserves: Jarvis Jones will likely see plenty of time somewhere on the line. The 6-7, 297-pound junior was a good blocker for half the season before getting knocked out for the year with a heel injury. Able to play either tackle or guard, he spent most of last year at right tackle and will begin this season getting time in the rotation at left tackle. The former LSU Tiger was a superstar recruit as a defensive lineman, moved over to the offensive side early on, and then moved over to OU.
Pushing for time at one of the tackle spots is massive redshirt freshman Josh Aladenoye , a 6-5, 342-pound mauler who has surprising athleticism for a player of his size and tremendous upside. He's not really a left tackle with a bit too much bulk, but he could be a rock on the right side when needed.
Watch Out For … Habern to be considered among the nation's best centers. However, he has to keep his ankle healthy and he has to be on the field. With good size, great quickness off the ball, and a world of upside, he should be an all-star before his career is over.
Strength: Talent and experience. The positive coming out of all the injuries and issues last year was the experience that several players received. Now there's depth to count on and more for the coaching staff to work with. The right combination shouldn't be hard to find with a little bit more time.
Weakness: A star No. 1 blocker to work behind. There's a boatload of good players to work with and the line should be a rock, but there isn't a Trent Williams or a Phil Loadholt or a Duke Robinson who's a sure-thing All-American. In other words, there isn't a true anchor … at least not yet.
Outlook: The Oklahoma starting offensive line for the opener against BYU was the one time all year that that lineup played together, and the longest string of games with the same starting lineup was three games in a row. Even so, and as bad as things got with injuries, the line gave up just 15 sacks. While the running game wasn't dominant, it wasn't bad. This year there's experience, talent, and the hope that things can't be that bad again. Don't be shocked if the line turns into a strength again.
Unit Rating: 7.5
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