What We Learned

DALLAS — Head coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners answered a few questions surrounding the team at Media Days, so here's some things we learned.

  • They are very confident, yet not cocky--Linebacker Travis Lewis, quarterback Landry Jones and slot receiver Ryan Broyles each stated that their main goals are a Big 12 Championship and National Championship, and anything less than that would be a disappointment. That said, they know the type of work they'll have to put in to get there, as they all talked about bringing it every day in practice and games.

  • The team will honor Austin Box just on the field rather than by other means--There's talk that Box's locker will remain empty and there, but mainly, Jones and Broyles said they'll just play with an extra edge for Box. That suggests a patch on the uniform is unlikely, but that remains to be seen.

  • Stoops is openly against the Longhorn Network's intentions--He wasn't quiet about this, citing the fact that if any team is going to have a recruiting advantage, then all should have that advantage. The issue is with televising high school games, which Stoops said he's adamantly against.

  • Roy Finch should be fine health-wise heading into fall camp--When asked about the running back situation, Stoops had this to say about the shifty 5-foot-7, 166-pound back: "Roy, you know, missed some of spring with an injury, but we saw his quickness and ability to make people miss a year ago." Nowhere in there does he suggest another reoccurrence of that stress fracture, and Finch, although he was coming along slower than expect late in the spring, was getting healthy. Likely, he's just behind Brennan Clay and Jonathon Miller on the depth chart because of their progress in spring ball.

  • Jamell Fleming will have to fight to get his spot back--After getting reinstated recently, Fleming is in a competition with Gabe Lynn for the boundary corner position. That's exactly what Stoops emphasized: "Well, we're not much on handing anybody anything in our program. You guys know that. We don't just [say] because you're here, you get to play or you get to start..."

  • Linebacker Corey Nelson WILL play, regardless of where--Stoops said he may even shift to a defensive end spot at times, if that's what they have to do to get him on the field. Nelson is currently listed as the backup weak side linebacker behind Travis Lewis, while Tom Wort is at MIKE, but Stoops as well as Lewis insist that this guy will get playing time and lots of it in 2011. They raved about him as having the best spring of anyone, and if that rolls over into the fall, this linebacking corps is lethal.

  • There is reason to believe this could be the best receiving group is recent years--Broyles stressed this when I asked him about his sidekick Kenny Stills and the rest of the group. He said DeJuan Miller looks good, Jaz Reynolds has picked it up, along with Trey Franks, Justin McCay and everyone else. This is a loaded corps of receivers.

  • Lane Johnson could be a key contributor on the offensive line--Even though he's a backup to Donald Stephenson on the preseason depth chart, Stoops raved about the 6-foot-6, 296-pound tight end converted tackle. He said he "loves guys with that kind of range," and this is one of them.

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