Blog Entry

Spring Practice Primer: Oklahoma

Posted on: March 22, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 4:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Oklahoma , who started spring practice on Monday . 

Spring Practice Question: Will Oklahoma replace DeMarco Murray with a committee of backs, or will one man emerge with the job? 

There are going to be a lot of expectations on the Oklahoma Sooners heading into 2011. Though we're a long time away from the first preseason polls of the year, and we all know that preseason polls are utterly useless, a lot of folks seem to think that Oklahoma will begin the season as the top-ranked team in the country. Which makes sense.

The Sooners are coming off another Big 12 title and a win in the Fiesta Bowl, and they're also getting back two of the best offensive players in the country in quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles.

A nice duo for new co-offensive coordinators Josh Huepel and Jay Norvell to have at their disposal as the replace Kevin Wilson, who took the head coaching job at Indiana. What won't be so easy for them to do is find a replacement for running back DeMarco Murray.

In his four years with the Sooners, Murray produced 5,256 yards and 63 touchdowns rushing and receiving. That's not the kind of production you can just replace. So who will be the man to pick up where Murray left off?

Well, odds are that it won't be just one back doing so, but rather a committee. Roy Finch did a nice job backing Murray up in 2010 as a freshman, but also had to miss the Fiesta Bowl with a stress fracture. Considering he's only 5'8 and 180 pounds, durability has to be a concern for Finch. Odds are that he won't be able to carry the load by himself, which will open the door for one of Oklahoma's other backs.

Going in to camp Brennan Clay is listed at number one on the running back depth chart, but he only carried the ball 36 times for 127 yards as a freshman. There's also Jermie Calhoun, Jonathan Miller and Iowa transfer Brandon Wegher who could take some carries this season.

Spring Practice Primers
Still, if I had to place money on who I think would emerge from all these backs as the featured guy, it wouldn't be any of those players I've already named. What's incredibly telling about what the Sooners would like to see happen this spring, incoming freshman Brandon Williams, who just enrolled this semester, is listed behind Clay on the depth chart.

Williams, a 6'1 188-pound running back out of Royal High School in Brookshire, Texas, may have been the crown jewel of Oklahoma's 2011 recruiting class. He'll also get a chance to win the starting job this spring, which is why he enrolled early.

During his junior and senior seasons at Royal, Williams rushed for 4,253 yards and 47 touchdowns. He also caught 47 passes for 656 yards and 6 more touchdowns. That's some DeMarco Murray-like production right there.

Of course, there's a difference between the Big 12 and high school football, even in the state of Texas, so whether or not Williams is able to handle the job at Oklahoma remains to be seen. Especially when you consider that it's national title or bust in Norman.

Whether or not he'll be able to handle it we'll begin to learn this spring. So while there are plenty of things to keep an eye on with the Sooners this spring, I have a feeling that most eyes will be on Williams.

Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: April 27, 2011 8:47 pm

Spring Practice Primer: Oklahoma

Who will replace Murray?  Try anyone that doesn't run straight into the back of his blocker.  Murray was good as a receiver out of the backfield...but if they are looking for a running back it won't be hard to replace Murray.

Since: Sep 21, 2008
Posted on: March 31, 2011 1:53 am

Spring Practice Primer: Oklahoma

No mention whatsoever of the defense......ok.

The offense was going to be fine regardless.  This offensive squad sets up like 08 in that they are scary deep at wideout, returning qb with big stats, te who could be all world, an experienced o line, and a running corp that while young has shown big promise.  Offense could go top five at end of season, if not top 3 if the running game creates balance and guys guessing.

I am not totally sold yet on the defense, but I am on the LB corp.  This squad is the best in the country returning (with maybe Alabama being better) and is primed to get both sacks and tackles for losses.  Box is really good healthy, and Lewis is a stud period.  Wart is scary fast, though still unpolished as a sophmore.  Mix into that some Jefferson at strong side/ 3rd db role and it's on.  The dline has some question marks, but has some very proven players, and I think moving Ronnel Lewis to DE will payoff.  Undersized, but really fast and scary strong.  Alexander and King get more consistant and you got a pretty good front with Mcfarland and McGee holding down the middle.  Db is the big question mark though.  Colvin is really solid, and Hurst got alot more consistant as a tackler later in the year (and was already pretty solid as a cover guy, but small).  Flemming is a huge loss if it turns out that way.  If he can return, than OU is 5 deep at cb with gabe lynn seeing time as well.  If he cant, lynn is your starter depending on the safety move for Colvin.  Harris was already a contributor on special teams, and should fit nicely at free safety, but he is no Quinton Carter, and will have big shoes to fill.

Since: Mar 29, 2011
Posted on: March 29, 2011 11:14 am

Spring Practice Primer: Oklahoma

Brandon Wegher who could take some carries this season

Sorry, he has left the team and did not even make it to the first practice.   Please update your records. 

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