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G A M E D AY TA B L O I D F O R S O O N E R F O O T B A L L | F R E E

INSIDE THE HUDDLE THIS WEEK

5

Oklahoma vs.

Florida A&M DEFENSE

The Sooners have to step up to cope with depleted defensive line P6 DEPTH CHART

See who’s on the field this weekend for Oklahoma P10 OFFENSE

Oklahoma’s running game needs Dom Whaley for it to be more effective P13

Metoyer ready to burst on the scene Freshman wide receiver says the pressure doesn’t faze him P8


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INSIDE THE HUDDLE

• Friday, September 7, 2012

GAME PREVIEW » FLORIDA A&M

OU to face Rattlers for home opener a Student Media publication in association with

160 Copeland Hall 860 Van Vleet Oval Norman, OK 73019-2052 phone: 405-325-3666 email: dailysports@ou.edu

James Corley Inside the Huddle editor twitter: @jamesfcorley

Kedric Kitchens Sports editor twitter: @Kedric Kitchens

Dillon Phillips Assistant sports editor twitter: @DillonPhillips_

Tobi Neidy Sports reporter twitter: @TobiAnn

Ross Stracke Sports reporter twitter: @RossStracke

Carter Baum Sports reporter twitter: @CarterBaum

Kearsten Howland Advertising manager

Sooners hope to improve consistency on offense, coach Bob Stoops says DILLON PHILLIPS Assistant Sports Editor

After a shaky start to the season with a 24-7 win on the road against UTEP, No. 5 Oklahoma returns to Norman for its home opener against Florida A&M. A ga i n s t t h e Mi n e r s, t h e Sooners struggled offensively — the score was tied at seven at halftime — and looked out of sync for most of the night. “Everyone was just a little off and when everyone is a little off it looks pretty bad out there,” senior quarterback Landry Jones said. “We’ll get better and move on down the road.” Coach Bob Stoops agreed with his quarterback, citing three offensive errors that contributed to the lackluster first half — a chop block that negated a long pass junior receiver Kenny Stills, a play where freshman receiver Trey Metoyer was unable to keep his feet in bound and a pass thrown behind wide-open senior receiver Justin Brown. “Offensively, I thought, just a little inconsistent,” coach B o b St o o p s s a i d . “ ( T h e re were) three opportunities in the first half (on deep passes) that we’re not as efficient as we need to be and therefore we’re sitting in their in a tight game.” Despite Oklahoma’s offensive woes, the defense held strong for most of the night. OU’s defense shutout the

MARK LAMBIE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oklahoma defensive end Chuka Ndulue (98) tackles Texas-El Paso’s running back Nathan Jeffery during OU’s 24-7 win against UTEP on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. The Sooners host FCS opponent Florida A&M on Saturday.

Miners — UTEP’s only score of the day came on a blocked punt — and only gave up one big play, a 71-yard run that gave the Miners almost 200

yards rushing. “Some alignment mistakes, nothing glaring like people say,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “They’re

pretty simple techniques to get better at.” The absence of senior SEE FAMU PAGE 3


INSIDE THE HUDDLE

Friday, September 7, 2012 •

3

FAMU: Oklahoma looks to pick up pace against FCS opponent Saturday Continued from page 2 defensive tackles Casey Walker and Stacey McGee forced the Sooners to play a number of inexperienced players on the defensive line, but Mike Stoops brushed off the issue of missing players. “We coach the players who are there,” Mike Stoops said. “Who we don’t have, we really don’t worry about.” A member of the Division I Fo o t b a l l C ha m p i o n s h i p Subdivision, Florida A&M shouldn’t give OU much of a challenge, but that doesn’t mean the Sooners are taking them lightly. “They have great skill players,” Bob Stoops said. “(Their) quarterback has a very live arm, very athletic. Skill guys can really move out. They do a lot of things similar to what we saw a week ago.” But like the Sooners, the Rattlers won’t be at full strength Saturday. F l o r i d a A & M c o a c h Jo e Taylor announced the suspension of four players Tuesday — sophomore wide receiver Lenworth Lennon, sophomore cornerback Devontate Johnson, sophomore wide receiver Dewayne Harvey and freshman offensive lineman Daniel Lennon. But the players Florida A&M does put on the field will have plenty of athleticism. “They’re a bunch of good athletes as you watch them play,” Bob Stoops said. “They’re very sound in the things they do.” THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Dillon Phillips, dphillips85@ou.edu

Florida A&M head football coach Joe Taylor watches from the sidelines during a game against Miami (Fla.) in 2010. The Rattlers will face the Sooners at 6 p.m. Saturday at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.


4

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

• Friday, September 7, 2012

FOOTBALL » HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE

There’s no place like home for Sooners Newcomers excited to take the field in Norman for first time TOBI NEIDY Sports Reporter

After spending its first season opener away from the friendly confines of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium since 2009, the OU football team finally plays again in front of the Sooner faithful at 6 p.m. Saturday against Florida A&M. Several players — including Sooner newcomers Trey Metoyer, Damien Williams and Justin Brown — will be running out of the tunnel for the first time, an experience OU’s veteran players say never gets old. “There’s not a video game, drink or virtual simulator that will give you that feeling of running out in front of 85,000 fans,” senior defensive end R.J. Washington said. OU has sold out the last 80 home games, besting a previous school record of 69 home sellouts from 1971-84, and was ranked 13th nationally last season with an average home attendance of 85,161 fans. Having that many Sooner football aficionados on hand at every home game is what makes OU one of the toughest places for opponents to pull out a road win. The Sooners are 77-3 under coach Bob Stoops in Norman and previously held a 39 home-game winning streak (the nation’s fifthlongest in modern era) that lasted from 2005-11. With that much success, the players say its not hard to get excited in front of the home crowd knowing that they’ll have the energy of the stadium “We’re always excited to get in front of our fans,” senior defensive tackle David King said. “We had a few fans down (in El Paso) but it’s nothing like playing in front of our

INSIDE THE HUDDLE FILE PHOTO

The OU football team returns to Norman for a matchup against Florida A&M at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Sooners are tough to beat in Norman, amassing a 77-3 record under coach Bob Stoops at Owen Field.

fans going nuts.” “Everyone’s going to be jacked up for it.” Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between the Sooners and Football Championship Subdivision opponent, FAMU. The Rattlers finished with a 7-4

overall record last season and have 76 lettermen returning to the team’s roster. Under Stoops, OU is 3-0 against FCS opponents with a combined winning margin of 170-2. But after the lackluster performance in the season opener last

Saturday, co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell says the Sooners have no reason to overlook the Rattlers this weekend. “(FAMU) is a very aggressive football team that likes to play a lot of man and blitz coverage,” cooffensive coordinator Jay Norvell

said. “We’re going to have to be on top of our game, block a lot of moving fronts and take advantage and make big plays when they do blitz.” Tobi Neidy, tneidy@gmail.com


INSIDE THE HUDDLE

Friday, September 7, 2012 •

5

News from around the college football world FLORIDA A&M

TULSA

TULANE

Rattlers suspend four players just before meeting with No. 4 Oklahoma

Golden Hurricane lose top receiver to injury during season-opening loss

Green Wave coach visits hospital after suffering heat-related illness

The Florida A&M football team suspended four players just days before the team is set to take on No. 5 Oklahoma, according to an announcement released by Rattlers’ coach Joe Taylor on Tuesday. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Lenworth Lennon, sophomore cornerback Devontate Johnson, sophomore wide receiver Dewayne Harvey and freshman offensive lineman Daniel Lennon will sit out during the Sooners’ home opener on Saturday in Norman after violating team rules. Johnson was ranked ninth in the Football Championship Subdivision last season with five interceptions. Tobi Neidy, Sports Reporter

Tulsa will be without its top wide receiver for the rest of the season after senior Bryan Burnham tore a ligament in his right knee in the season opener. Coach Bill Blankenship announced after practice Tuesday night that an MRI showed that Burnham had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Burnham had led all Golden Hurricane wide receivers last season with 54 catches for 850 yards and nine touchdowns. Only halfback Willie Carter had more receptions and yards receiving last season. Burnham was hurt in the fourth quarter of Tulsa’s 38-23 loss at Iowa State on Saturday. He finished with a team-best nine catches for 90 yards. Blankenship says Burnham will need surgery. The Associated Press

Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson will be released from Tulane Hospital Tuesday evening after struggling with symptoms of apparent heat exhaustion during practice earlier in the day. University officials said in a statement Tuesday that Johnson “is in good condition and is expected to return to his coaching duties on Wednesday.” The 50-year-old Johnson, a New Orleans-area native, is in his first season at Tulane after spending the past six years as wide receivers coach for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. The Green Wave is coming off a 24-12 season-opening loss to Rutgers and plays again this Saturday at Tulsa. The Associated Press

Visit OUDaily.com for more news and information about all things Sooner sports.


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INSIDE THE HUDDLE

• Friday, September 7, 2012

ANALYSIS » DEFENSIVE LINE

Newcomers working to add depth on D-line Anderson, Phillips getting game-ready behind King, McFarland

PLAYERS TO WATCH David King Year: Senior

TOBI NEIDY Sports Reporter

The absence of depth at the defensive tackle position is already starting to take its toll on the Sooners, and it is forcing young players to step up. Without senior defensive tackles Stacy McGee (suspension) and Casey Walker (health-related issue), as well as sophomore Torrea Peterson (academic issues), seniors David King and Jamarkus McFarland were forced to play ever y snap until the Sooners took over a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter during the Sooners’ season opener last weekend against Texas-El Paso. And the Sooners said they could feel the aftershocks of taking that many snaps during the next day at practice. “I’m a little sore today, but that will all go away by Wednesday,” King said. Spending that much time on the field was not the Sooners’ original game plan that usually rotates DTs to keep sending out fresh legs, but defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said he had no choice but to rely on the two seniors. “You play with the personnel you’ve got available, and as of right now, we don’t have any other options,” Stoops said. However, the Sooner coaching staff is working to fix that personnel issue by molding redshirt freshmen Marquis Anderson and Jordan Phillip into OU’s next rotation of defensive tackles. Anderson, who enrolled at OU in the spring of 2011, was rated as the eighth overall defensive tackle by Rivals.com after posting 61 tackles, 19 quarterback hurries and two sacks during his senior year at Bryon M. Steele High School in Texas.

Position: Defensive line Hometown: Houston

Jamarkus McFarland Year: Senior Position: Defensive line Hometown: Lufkin, Texas

Phillips was one of the top prospects of the 2010 recruiting class as Rivals.com’s No. 1 player out of the state of Kansas after finishing his senior season at Circle High School with 68 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Last weekend was the first official time for either player to go up against someone other than his own teammates, but both players gained little experience during the three total snaps they registered with the clock winding down. “We’ve got to get [Anderson and Phillips] more playing time to get them comfortable,” Stoops said. “We wanted it to happen last week, but it didn‘t.” Several factors — mainly perfecting the fundamentals of the position — are keeping the young defensive tackles from collecting extended amounts of playing time right away. But King says he’s starting to see the two reserves correcting their mistakes in practice, and he said this weekend’s matchup against Football Championship Subdivision opponent Florida A&M should be an pivotal

JAMES CORLEY/THE DAILY

Members of the OU defensive line gather themselves after a play during the OU-Texas game last year. Seniors Jamarkus McFarland (97) and David King (90) have had more work to do with injuries and suspensions depleting the line’s depth.

opportunity for the pair to fight for playing minutes. “It’s the little things, technique-wise — hand placement,

foot movement — that they have to work on,” King said. “They’ve got it mentally. But they should play more this week, and we’ll see

what they can do in front of the Sooner crowd on Saturday.” Tobi Neidy, tneidy@gmail.com


INSIDE THE HUDDLE

Friday, September 7, 2012 •

7

COLUMN » SCHEDULING

Matchups against FCS foes are waste of time SPORTS COLUMNIST

Dillon Phillips dphillips85@ou.edu

I

nterdivisional play is, unfortunately, becoming a common trend in college football. When teams are looking to schedule an easy win or are in a pinch and need to fill an open week, a Football Championship Subdivision team will do the trick. Sure, there have been some competitive games and exciting upsets in interdivisional play — see Michigan vs. Appalachian State in 2007 — but those are few and far between. More commonly seen in the SEC, paying “Davids” hundreds of thousands of dollars to take a beating from “Goliaths” has now permeated the Big 12 as a common practice. In coach Bob Stoops’ first season at Oklahoma, the Sooners opened the season against Indiana State — winning handedly, 49-0. Three years ago, Oklahoma massacred Tennessee Chattanooga, 57-2. At halftime, the score was 50-0. The next year, Oklahoma shut

— a bottom-of-the-barrel FCS team that was 1-10 last year — and covered a record spread of 67 ½ points, eviscerating Savannah State, 84-0. It was reported that 95 players saw action, several of which weren’t listed on the roster. Junior running back Joseph Randle had 102 yards rushing on six carries. His backup, sophomore running back Desmond Roland, had 104 yards on nine carries. True freshman quarterback Wes Lunt didn’t throw an incompletion. He was 11-for-11 in his first ever start. Savannah State doesn’t belong in the same league as Oklahoma State, much less the same field. Last weekend’s game was a glorified scrimmage, a lopsided exhibition. So why do these games keep getting scheduled? There are 124 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Each play 12 games a season. If there are too many scheduling conflicts, reSUE OGROCKI/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Oklahoma State wide receiver Brandon Sheperd, left, grabs a touchdown pass in front of Savannah State defensive back duce the amount of games. Because it’s not just the fans who John Wilson, right, in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Oklahoma State-Savannah State game in Stillwater. The Cowboys are hurting from the lack of combeat Savannah State, a Football Championship Subdivision team, 84-0. petitiveness in these contests — the coaches are wasting their time, and the players are risking injury in out Idaho State, 64-0 — a game combined score of 170-2. during a season and one of them during which the Sooners’ offense Besides not making for the most came against an FCS opponent — meaningless games. was criticized for being stood up competitive football games, intertough luck. It didn’t count. on the goal line. divisional play between Football Which brings up the all-imporDillon Phillips is a journalism And in 2012, Florida A&M anxBowl Subdivision and FCS teams tant question: What’s the point? junior and assistant sports editor iously awaits the chance to take its doesn’t count toward bowl Just look at what happened for The Daily. Follow him on place among the other FCS teams eligibility. in Stillwater last weekend. The Twitter at @DillonPhillips_. who have lost to the Sooners by a That’s right. Win six games Cowboys played Savannah State


8

• Friday, September 7, 2012

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

Friday, September 7, 2012 •

COVER STORY

Metoyer faces high expectations DILLON PHILLIPS

train with highlight-reel catches during practice and a six-catch, 72-yard performance in OU fans had been waiting a year-and-a-half the annual Red-White game. to see freshman receiver Trey Metoyer make Despite Metoyer’s pedestrian performance his Sooner debut against UTEP Saturday. against UTEP, Stoops insists that this is still In his first game, Metoyer caught four the same player that wowed so many during passes for 21 yards — far less an impact than the spring. many had expected. “I still have great confidence in Trey. He’s “He hadn’t played in a game and some of going to be really good, and again, it’s just it showed,” coach Bob Stoops said. “(On one one of those things. You have to keep playplay) Metoyer is an inch out of ing. And the more you play, he’s bounds on a fade route that he going to continue to get better “I worked hard scores a touchdown on. And and make those plays he almost for what I got, that’s him; he’s a young guy, made.” and [going to hasn’t played much.” As far as the hype goes, Hargrave] was my Metoyer said he isn’t affected by Metoyer’s debut in the crimonly setback. I told the expectations other put on son and cream not only failed to myself, no more meet its lofty expectations, but it him. setbacks after that.” “They talk about the big was also a year past due. After signing with the Sooners’ hype and the pressure, but I reTREY METOYER, FRESHMAN WIDE RECEIVER in February of 2011, the five-star ally just brush it off,” Metoyer recruit and second-best receiver said. “[Because] I’ve done been in the country failed to qualify at OU. through a lot of adversity in my life, (so) hype Instead, he was forced to enroll at Hargrave is nothing. I just look at it as a compliment Military Academy in Chatham, Va. for a seaand keep on moving.” son before coming to Oklahoma — an experiAnd the skeptics? He doesn’t think about ence he said changed him for the better. them much either. “It makes you appreciate things a lot more,” “You know, a lot of people, they say, ‘Well, Metoyer said. “I worked hard for what I got, when you get to college you might [not be the and [going to Hargrave] was my only setback. star like you were in high school],’” Metoyer I told myself, no more setbacks after that.” said. “I just wanted to show them I’m going to While at Hargrave, the prospect of Metoyer ball, regardless.” playing for the Sooners almost drove him At the end of the day, Metoyer said the only mad. obstacle that stands in his path is himself. “I pictured myself in a uniform up here, ev“I feel like can’t nobody stop me except eryday,” Metoyer said. “I couldn’t even watch me,” Metoyer said. “As long as I’m alive, as the games knowing that was supposed to be long as I’m living, as long as I’m on this team, me.” I’m going to try to become the best. Metoyer officially arrived on campus dur“I feel like if you’re a baller, you’re going to ing the spring and only added fuel to his hype go ball, no matter what.” Sports Reporter

EVIN MORRISON/THE DAILY

Freshman wide receiver Trey Metoyer (right) runs from senior saftey Javon Harris (30) during the 2012 Red-White spring game. Metoyer took an unconventional route to get to the Sooners, and his arrival comes with high expectations.

9


10

• Friday, September 7, 2012

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

Oklahoma depth chart OFFENSE LT

LG

C

RG

RT

TE

WR

WR

WR

QB

FB

RB

DEFENSE

69 Lane Johnson

Sr.

11 R.J. Washington

Sr.

71 Tyrus Thompson

So.

10 Rashod Favors or

Jr.

74 Adam Shead

So.

91 Charles Tapper

Fr.

54 Nila Kasitati

R-Fr.

90 David King

Sr.

64 Gabe Ikard

Jr.

56 Ty Darlington

Fr.

68 Bronson Irwin

Jr.

50 Austin Woods

Jr.

79 Daryl Williams

So.

72 Derek Farniok

R-Fr.

85 Geneo Grissom or

DE

DT

80 Jordan Phillips

R-Fr.

97 Jamarkus McFarland

Sr.

53 Casey Walker

Sr.

98 Chuka Ndulue

So.

84 Mike Onuoha

Fr.

7 Corey Nelson

Jr.

So.

25 Aaron Franklin or

So.

88 Taylor McNamara

Fr.

5 Joseph Ibiloye

Sr.

82 Brandon Green

Jr.

21 Tom Wort

Jr.

17 Trey Metoyer

Fr.

20 Frank Shannon or

18 Lacolton Bester

Jr.

44 Jaydan Bird

Sr.

19 Justin Brown

Sr.

9 Gabe Lynn

Jr.

13 Durron Neal

Fr.

2 Julian Wilson

So.

4 Kenny Stills

Jr.

23 Kass Everett

Jr.

3 Sterling Shepard

Fr.

14 Aaron Colvin

Jr.

22 Roy Finch

Jr.

27 Gary Simon

Fr.

12 Landry Jones

Sr.

30 Javon Harris

Sr.

10 Blake Bell

So.

9 Gabe Lynn

Jr.

15 Drew Allen

Jr.

1 Tony Jefferson

Jr.

33 Trey Millard

Jr.

42 Jesse Paulsen

Sr.

48 Aaron Ripkowski

So.

6 Demontre Hurst

Sr.

8 Dominique Whaley

Sr.

15 Lamar Harris

Sr.

24 Brennan Clay or

Jr.

26 Zack Sanchez

Fr.

26 Damien Williams

Jr.

DT

DE

SLB

MLB

WLB

BCB

SS

FS

FCB

R-Fr.


INSIDE THE HUDDLE

NEWS | LIFESTYLE | ARTS

| CAMPUS NEWS | LIFESTYLE | MULTIMEDIA | MARKETPLACE | SPORTS |

| CAMPUS NEWS | LIFESTYLE | MULTIMEDIA | MARKETPLACE | SPORTS |

NEWS | LIFESTYLE | ARTS

Friday, September 7, 2012 •

11

The University of Oklahoma L I B R A R I E S Western History Collections presents 1904 World’s Fair Souvenirs Art of the American Arms Makers Traveling America with the Fred Harvey Company Bob Burke Collection: Great Stars of Western American Film, Television & Music Open to the public during regular hours. Open until kick-off on game days. Monnet Hall, Room 452 For more info, call (405) 325-3641

History of Science Collections presents

“A Living Library: The Growth of History of Science Collections from 1976-2012” Featuring the works of Copernicus, Kepler, Edison, Einstein and Darwin among others. Open to the public during regular hours; open 12-4 p.m. on Saturdays. No appointment necessary. Bizzell Memorial Library, 5th floor For more info, call (405) 325-2741.

libraries.ou.edu


12

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

• Friday, September 7, 2012

The Daily’s NCAA football pick ’em challenge The Daily’s writers make their predictions for 10 college football games this week, selecting one matchup as their lock.

James Corley

Kedric Kitchens

Dillon Phillips

Tobi Neidy

Ross Stracke

Brent Stenstrom

SEASON RECORD (LOCKS)

0-0 (0-0)

0-0 (0-0)

0-0 (0-0)

0-0 (0-0)

0-0 (0-0)

0-0 (0-0)

Florida A&M at No. 5 Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Washington at No. 3 LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

No. 7 Georgia at Missouri

Georgia

Georgia

Missouri

Georgia

Georgia

Missouri

No. 16 Nebraska at UCLA

Nebraska

Nebraska

Nebraska

Nebraska

UCLA

Nebraska

No. 18 Oklahoma State at Arizona

Oklahoma State

Arizona

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State

No. 24 Florida at Texas A&M

Florida

Texas A&M

Florida

Texas A&M

Texas A&M

Texas A&M

Utah at Utah State

Utah State

Utah

Utah

Utah

Utah State

Utah

Auburn at Mississippi State

Auburn

Mississippi State

Mississippi State

Mississippi State

Auburn

Auburn

Penn State at Virginia

Virginia

Virginia

Virginia

Virginia

Virginia

Penn State

Illinois State at Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan

Illinois State

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INSIDE THE HUDDLE

Friday, September 7, 2012 •

13

COLUMN » RUNNING BACKS

OU needs to boost running game to succeed SPORTS COLUMNIST

AT A GLANCE Sooners rushing 37 carries, 205 yards, one touchdown

Kedric Kitchens kitchens_kedric@ou.edu

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U has had some truly great running backs: Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray. The legacy those players strived to create and maintain was not upheld Saturday against UTEP, not by the Sooners at least. The best running back in the game was UTEP’s Nathan Jeffery, who ran for 177 yards on 21 carries. Conversely, the Sooners starting back, senior Dominique Whaley, ran for just 54 yards on 11 carries. And before I get called out for ignoring OU’s top back — yes, junior Damien Williams ran for 103 yards including a 65-yard touchdown sprint. But most of his 10 carries, including the 65 yarder, came in garbage time against a backup UTEP defense that really had no business being on the field with the Sooners in the first place. Whaley is coming off a serious injury from a year ago, and as such, it would be understandable for him to be a little concerned about

the field to watch a couple of kickoffs sail over his head and obviously provided no spark. Now, with 11 carries for Whaley, 10 for Williams and six for Clay, I understand the desire to get touches to all of the Sooners’ backs. But Whaley won’t get going without the amount of carries garnered by a feature back of his caliber. Sophomore quarterback Blake Bell was again effective with his patented “Belldozer” package but not quite as much as last season. And his effectiveness will only decrease as the Sooners play tougher and tougher defenses in the Big 12. OU is a passing team, as it has been for more than a decade — NAME NAME/ORGANIZATION even with greats like Peterson and Senior running back Dominique Whaley (8) shakes a tackle against Tulsa last season. For OU to be successful this season, Murray on the team — and that it needs Whaley to be more successful than he was against UTEP on Saturday when he ran for just 54 yards on 11 carries. won’t be changing anytime soon. But, if you want to keep opposing defenses honest in any way, his health, and he ran like it. situations as much more than a the running game really wasn’t Every cut the senior took looked distraction. working, giving a big, strong back the Sooners can’t be one-trick potimid, and one thing you cannot Junior fullback Trey Millard, like Millard 10 or 15 carries to soft- nies, and the “Belldozer” can’t be be as a running back, is timid. whom coaches have said all sumen up the defense could only help the only effective run package. Junior Brennan Clay, as the mer will be receiving more touch- open things up. group’s best receiver, seems to be es, got just two. Last year, when the running slotted as the third down back. Bottom line, Millard needs game needed a spark, they turned Kedric Kitchens is a journalism That’s all well and good, but more looks, especially if Whaley to junior Roy Finch — now a con- junior and sports editor for The he really wasn’t used in those continues to underperform. When verted receiver — but he only saw Daily.

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INSIDE THE HUDDLE

• Friday, September 7, 2012

ANALYSIS » OFFENSE

Sooners out of sync since season debut Jones, receivers need work to get on same page, Stills says TOBI NEIDY Sports Reporter

Watching the Oklahoma offense sputter through the first three quarters of the season opener Saturday night against UTEP was like watching the Sooner Schooner struggle to gain traction on a muddy road. OU has its work cut out for it getting the wagon cruising again Saturday against Florida A&M. Against UTEP, senior quarterback Landry Jones finished with sub-par numbers, completing 21 of 36 passes for 222 yards with more sacks (three) than scores (two). At times, the newly-pieced-together wide receiving group showed its potential with the long ball, including a 68-yarder to junior wideout Kenny Stills for the Sooners’ first touchdown of the game. But after the dropped passes, the sailing tosses and the lack of shedding defenders, it was obvious Jones and his receiving corps have to get past some growing pains if they want a chance to play for hardware at the end of the season. “It doesn’t matter what you do or how much you talk about it — you don’t know what you have until you play a game,” co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. “And until you play and work those things out, you’ll have to have some learning experiences.” Two factors hurt the chemistry between Jones and his receivers this offseason: the graduation of NCAA career receptions leader Ryan Broyles and several key spring suspensions. Trey Franks, Jaz Reynolds and Kameel Jackson were set to be the next generation of receivers after being submerged in the OU offense for more than just an offseason. Instead, all three were suspended indefinitely, and Jackson decided to

MARK LAMBIE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Left: Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones throws against UTEP during OU’s 24-7 win Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Above: UTEP lineman Horace Miller, left, rushes OU’s Landry Jones on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Jones had to avoid pressure several times during the game.

AT A GLANCE Lost production Ryan Broyles: 83 receptions, 1157 yards, 10 touchdowns Jaz Reynolds: 41 receptions, 715 yards, five touchdowns Trey Franks: 22 receptions, 196 yards MARK LAMBIE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

transfer instead of wait. Now, OU has to rely on two newcomers who are still learning the Sooner playbook: freshman Trey Metoyer and senior Justin Brown. “[Metoyer] hadn’t played a real game in two years, [Brown] has only been here a month,” Norvell said. “(The offense) had several players that hadn’t played in a game with us.” Metoyer joined the Sooners after spending one year improving

his grades at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. Brown transferred from Penn State after the NCAA allowed the team’s players to change schools without eligibility penalties. But it was evident in the first outing that OU’s offense wasn’t completely on the same page after the Sooners were forced to punt five times in the first half. “We were just off,” Jones said. “And when everyone’s off, it looks

Kameel Jackson: 12 receptions, 165 yards Statistics from the 2011 season

really bad out there.” And just like the receivers have to get used to playing with Jones, he has to get comfortable with the new sets of hands he’ll be throwing to this season. “It’s not so much timing, but [Jones] has to trust that [his receivers are] going to be in their spots and get their depths on the

routes,” Stills said. But if there was one thing the new receivers should have learned from the film room this week, it’s that they have to be ready for any pass that comes their way. Jones improved his mobility in the offseason, which showed Saturday when he had to scramble for his life when the line failed. And if that happens again this weekend against Florida A&M’s man and blitz coverages, Jones will need his receivers to not give up on plays. “We’ve worked on hard when the pocket breaks down that the quarterback scrambles to stay alive with them, and that’s what happened on Kenny’s touchdown,” Norvell said. “There’s not many guys that can make that throw, and that’s why guys have to say on their toes.”

Tobi Neidy, tneidy@gmail.com


INSIDE THE HUDDLE

Friday, September 7, 2012 •

Name that Sooner Think you know the Sooners? Here are 16 faces from the 2012 OU football team. See if you can identify the players and coaches. Answers are at the bottom of the page, but no cheating!

Answers:

(from top left) Stacy McGee, Trey Millard, Aaron Colvin, Blake Bell, Gabe Lynn,

Demontre Hurst, Mike Stoops, Landry Jones, R.J. Washington, Gabe Ikard, Kenny Stills, Michael Hunnicutt, Trey Metoyer, David King, Dominique Whaley, Josh Heupel

13-16

Congrats, you are a Sooner know-it-all.

9-12

Good, but good doesn’t cut it at Oklahoma.

5-8

You sure could use some more Sooner sense.

0-4

You call yourself an OU fan? C’mon, man!

15


16

• Friday, September 7, 2012

INSIDE THE HUDDLE

INSIDE THE HUDDLE FILE PHOTOS (2010)

TAILGATING PROS »

Fall Saturdays are about two things around these parts: football and tailgating. Sooner fans take their tailgating rituals, recipes and luxury outdoor tent setups quite seriously, and Inside the Huddle wants to feature the best of the best.

Submit your best recipes, photos and rituals to jcorley@ou.edu to be featured in Inside the Huddle’s Sept. 21 issue. Email with “ITH: Tailgating” as the subject line. Please include your full name and contact information in case we would like to ask follow-up questions.

80 SAVE UP TO

% OFF

Tent! he t er nd U s em It ot D Loo k for Red

NORMAN: Sooner Mall (3447 W. Main St.) OKLAHOMA CITY: 10109 N. May (Between Hefner & Britton Rd) TULSA: 6808 S. Memorial Drive

www.sunandski.com facebook.com/SunAndSki.Norman

Inside the Huddle, September 7, 2012  

Inside the Huddle, September 7, 2012

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