That moment you’ve all been waiting for is here, college football season is among us. The Oklahoma Sooners are making their way to El Paso to take on the University of Texas-El Paso.
The Miners and the Sooners have met two times prior to this match-up, back in 2000 and then again in 2002. With the Sooners taking both games. In another, “the more you know” moment, Oklahoma has also not lost an opening road game since 1968. Head coach, Bob Stoops is 11-2 in openers.
The Miners went 2-6 last season in the CUSA and 5-7 overall. Unfortunately for UTEP, they have some major weaknesses going into this game. They have a Senior QB Nick Lamasion who had 1700 yards last season, and his two main targets in the air Jordan Leslie and Michael Edwards, but an non-existent running game. Their most experienced running back has 166 yards and 1 touchdown on the books for the Miners.
Speaking of rushing, their rush defense is a huge question mark. The Miners defense allowed an average of 190 ypg on the ground last year. I would expect the Sooners to be testing out Dom Whaley’s skills once again. To the Miners credit, the should have a strong defensive line, returning starters Josh Fely and Germard Reed.
The Miners size and speed is not going to hold up against the Sooners. They are going to have to really work to keep up with the Sooners hurry-up offense and the speed of the Sooners secondary. The Sooners need to remember to not take any team for granted going into this match-up and to not over think this game. One of the main issues for the Sooners in 2011 was consistency and under-estimating opponents. With that being said, Oklahoma wins this one, big time. The Miners will be able to maybe hang in there with the Sooners until the first quarter is over, then it is going to be a field day. Expect lots of back-up Sooners to come in and get as many reps as possible if the score does run start to get out of hand.
There was a lot of pressure going into the 2011 season for Oklahoma and with all of the changes being made in Norman, its going to be an interesting start for Sooner fans in 2012.
*Bob Stoops announced late Wednesday afternoon that DT Casey Walker is probable due to personal injuries, nothing football related. Once more news on this breaks, will update*
The game is scheduled for a 9:30 PM CST kick-off in El Paso.
Starting the week, the 2012 College Football Awards Watch Lists are being released. Today was the release of the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award. The Maxwell Award is given to the best all-around player in college football. The Bednarik Award is given to the Nation’s best defensive player.
Sooner Nation has 3 players on the watch list for the Maxwell and 2 on the Bednarik. The last time a Sooner won the Maxwell Award was in 2004, by Heisman winning QB Jason White. The 2012 Sooners on list are: Kenny Stills, Landry Jones and Dom Whaley. Bednarik list includes, Tony Jefferson and Demontre Hurst.
The Semi-Finalists for each award will be announced on October 29, with the Finalists being announced November 19. You can view the lists in their entirety here.
Tomorrow will bring the announcement of the Mackey Award and the Rimington Award.
For all those that are football deprived, the Sooners kicked off Spring Ball Monday. And as always Stoops held his press conference to give his two-cents on the way things will go down.
Stoops’ Presser Tidbits:
Casey Walker, Aaron Colvin, Tom Wort and Ben Habern are out of Spring practices to continue to heal from on-going injuries. Dom Whaley has made progress and is healing well, he will be out all of Spring ball as well. Jaz Reynolds has been cleared for a couple weeks and is back to full strength.
When the running game improves, will not be using the Belldozer package as much. Is very confident and has faith in Blake Bell’s ability to throw the ball. (What about Landry’s?)
Lane Johnson will be moving to left tackle, and Darryl Williams will be moving over to the right. He is really impressed over kicker Michael Hunicutt’s improvement over the off-season. He is also very impressed with R.J. Washington and is ready for him to take on a leadership role with the Sooners defense.
Stoops’ is hoping the Sooners and the Big XII night games are allocated more evenly, the prime time schedule wore him out. (Me too)
Joking about Mike, “I’m feeling a little insecure, his picture was in the paper the other day, and mine wasn’t.”
Stoops is a fan of the possibility that the BCS will turn to a four-team playoff system. “As long as everyone knows the rules going in.”
As always, Stoops was candid and seems to be excited to be back at it. He did mention (jokingly) that if coaching didn’t work out, he would take up golf. He had a great time playing in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The Spring schedule is as follows:
Practice No. 1
Practice No. 2
Practice No. 3
Practice No. 4
Practice No. 5
OU Pro Day
Practice No. 7
Practice No. 8
Practice No. 9
Practice No. 11
Practice No. 12
Practice No. 13
Practice No. 14
OU Spring Game
The Sooners will take the field later on Monday afternoon. Spring is in the air, and so is football.
The Sooners gave the Aggies a conference departing gift Saturday afternoon, beating them 41-25. The first half sluggish play continued for Oklahoma until the flood gates opened up early at the start of the second half. Unfortunately, some bad news follows a big win.
Ryan Broyles Will Go Down As A Sooner Legend
Sooners may have won the game Saturday against Texas A&M, but they lost a team leader. Sooners leading receiver, Senior Ryan Broyles, tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee, and will miss the rest of this season.
Broyles left the field last night in tears, knowing before he got to the locker room that this would be his last appearance at Owen Field in front of an always sold out Sooner crowd.
Coach Stoops was very emotional when talking about Broyles with press after the game:
He’s such a special, special player. It’s deflating for him and for all of us. Your heart drops when you first hear it.
It is a huge blow coming off last weeks loss of RB Dom Whaley. The Sooners are now missing two of their biggest offensive weapons for the rest of the year. The silver-lining is that we are lucky to be very deep in both positions and are very heavy on talent outside and on the ground.
After a slow start and a only a three point lead going in to the half, the Sooners turned it on in the third quarter. And in typical second half Aggies fashion, they rolled over and let it happen. Oklahoma scored 28 unanswered points in the third quarter. The Aggies tried to pull together a rally late in the 4th, scoring 2 touchdowns and scoring on a two point conversion to try and make a comeback run. They attempted this though with less then 4 minutes left on the clock. I salute the try, but it was too little, too late. Even Aggie head coach Mike Sherman should have known that.
Game Stats from SoonerSports.com
Number of Plays
3rd Down Conversions
4th Down Conversions
Kick Return Yards
Punt Return Yards
Time of Possession
OU – Jones
A&M – Tannehill
OU – Finch
A&M – Michael
OU – Reynolds
A&M – Swope
Oklahoma’s defense was still playing with that same passion they had during the Kansas State game. Another thing we got to see that we saw during the Kansas State game was the edition of the Bell package on the offense. QB Blake Bell is being brought in to convert on third down conversions and running Oklahoma’s version of the wildcat, being dubbed the Bell Dozer by the media.
Bell converted six third downs and a touchdown and was the player of the game according to the speaker system at Owen Field. It was well deserved. When Bell came out on the field, the fans went nuts. The Bell Dozer has quickly caught on has been successful over the last two games. No knock on Landry Jones, but it is a great change of pace to put a QB in on third downs that can move. Landry isn’t the quickest on his feet.
In what started off as a somber post-game presser with Stoops talking about Broyles, had a little light of laughter when Blake Bell came out to answer questions. Bell was asked by media what he thought of his new moniker, the Bell Dozer and was asked how much he weighed now. Bell answered with 255. Stoops immediately jumped in and said, “255? You are about a cheeseburger away from 260.” See, Stoops DOES have a personality. He’s not a robot.
It is one of those wins that we are excited to have, it’s always a good day when someone beats the Aggies. But on the other side of that, we lost a player that has been a role model and a key component on this Sooner team for four years. Ryan Broyles will go in the record books as one of the best wide-receivers that the Sooners and the nation has ever seen.
There is Only One Oklahoma, and there will be Only One Ryan Broyles. Sooner Nation will greatly miss him. Get well Ryan.
After a huge win in Manhattan, Kansas last Saturday, the Sooners are back in action in Norman against the Texas Aggies this weekend. This will be the last time the Sooners and the Aggies meet up during season play, since the Aggies are leaving the Big XII next year to join the Southeastern Conference.
Even though the Sooners will be missing their No. 1 running back Dom Whaley for the game, they celebrate the return of Ben Habern and Jamell Fleming.
Jamell Fleming returning an interception for a touchdown at this years Red River Shootout
Habern, who broke his forearm during the Mizzou game, has been taking snaps this week. Gabe Ikard, who has been filling in for Habern at center for the last 5 games, will most likely return to left guard. Stoops said that depending on how the week goes, Habern will be back at center or at guard this coming Saturday.
Cornerback Jamell Fleming has been practicing with the team all week after missing several due to a knee injury against Kansas. Fleming underwent arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago and was said to be cleared last week against Kansas State, but told trainers he didn’t feel confident in his knee yet.
Having Fleming back at cornerback will be a major impact for the Sooner secondary, though last week, they showed major improvement from the Texas Tech debacle.
When watching the Aggies this season in a couple of games, the first thing that comes to mind is “The Curious Case of the Aggie Defense”. Everything seems to be happening in reverse order. The offense is making strides forward, then the defense comes out on the field and puts the Aggies back. It has been very apparent this season that the departure of certain players on the Aggie defense really hurt the dynamics this year. Cough cough, Von Miller cough.
The Aggie defense touts the prestigious title of worst pass rush defense in FBS, allowing 318 yards in the air per game. And here comes the Sooner offense who is second in the country for passing, bringing an average of 396 yards per game. This could get interesting.
So the loss of RB Dom Whaley might not be as big as impact this week when thinking about the Sooners offensive attack plan.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Aggies are solid. They have one of the best running games in the Big XII averaging 225 yards per game. Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray are a deadly running combo for the Aggie offense. Aggie QB Ryan Tannehill has 18 touchdowns and 2322 yards so far, and might be one of the most effective QB’s the Sooners have seen so far this season. He is smart and utilizes the entire field very efficiently. He will keep the Sooner secondary on their toes with Ryan Swope and Jeff Fuller on the outside. Aggie coach Mike Sherman hopes to have Jeff Fuller back in full force on Saturday, who is suffering a bruised toe.
Sooner defensive back and Thorpe Award semi-finalist, Tony Jefferson on coming back to Norman this weekend:
We still have a long way to go. We’re making big plays, but we’re still a little wish-washy in some areas, so we can still even be better. We definitely owe Owen Field an apology. We’re looking forward to getting back out there and playing football like we know we can.
The Sooners are also looking for a little bit of redemption from last season. They traveled down to College Station to take on the Aggies at Kyle Field, and left losing 33-19. Oklahoma is 12-2 at home vs the Aggies, and own the series, 18-11.
We need to give the Aggies the proper goodbye from the conference and have a remake of 2003. Yes, I know that isn’t going to happen, but it is still fun to reminisce, no? Aggies do you remember 2003? I bet you do. If not, let me refresh your memory. Bob Stoops had to tell Sooner running backs to lay down on the field after 1st and goal hand-offs, to not make the score go over 80-0…..
Want to see video of it? I knew you did.
Running up the score are we? The Texas Aggies beat Baylor 73-10 the week before, so I wouldn’t feel that awful for them. I love how in one of the last plays of the game, A&M defensive back Melvin Bullitt stops a Sooner running back and gets up like he just won the National Championship. The score was 77-0 at the time and the player was ordered to lay down. Nice stop guy.
Again, it’s not 2003, so the likely hood of that happening is very slim. This is a very good offensive unit that the Aggies have this season, and the game will be a lot closer then 77-0.
The game is this Saturday with kickoff set for 2:30 CST. It will be shown on ABC regionally and ESPN 2 if you are out of the regional viewing area. West Coast will have to catch it on ESPN 3.
Walk-on Running Back Dom Whaley, who suffered through a season-ending injury against Kansas State, got some good news after the game Saturday night. Head coach Bob Stoops told him he would be put on scholarship starting in December.
Whaley is the Sooners leading rusher, with 9 touchdowns and 627 yards. He has been averaging 5.5 yards per carry so far this season. At the start of the year, no one expected Whaley to even be a contender to be in the running back rotation much; and the number one carrier at that.
Stoops told Dom the good news after the game on Saturday night to give him the reassurance he was still a major part of this team.
This (injury) won’t change that, I didn’t want him to be worried about it.
Very classy move by the Sooner coaching staff.
With Whaley out for the year, the No. 1 guy will most likely be Roy Finch. Brandon Williams and Brennan Clay will also receive some snaps, but Finch should be declared the starter.
Whaley had surgery Sunday morning, having a pin put into his ankle, but not expected to be back 100 percent until next season.
This is well deserved by Whaley. What a great surprise edition he has been to the Sooners running game.
Coach Bob Stoops and Former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez at Spring Practice
It was football day in Norman yesterday. Beautiful weather, wonderful scenery and of course the Sooners playing football.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered about who will rightfully own which position come Fall, but there were quite a few stand-outs.
I don’t know if it was the picture perfect Spring weather or not, but the crowd yesterday was somewhat lethargic. That is until a surprise breakout run from a walk-on running back.
Yes a walk on. Dom Whaley wowed the crowd with a 40 yard run yesterday. I know I was asking myself who the heck this kid was. Whaley had 10 carries and a total of 65 yards. More than any of the other running backs I was anxious to see. The RB spot is wide open at this point, though I still feel it will fall into the hands of Roy Finch, who did well behind DeMarco Murray last season.