Insight Bowl Preparation: Major Concerns

NORMAN, Okla. — These are treacherous times for the Sooner football program, with a number of negative things taking place lately, and Sooners Illustrated details the biggest concerns.

1. Running back Brandon Williams is on his way out--Just when it looked like Williams was settling in, he's now prepared to head out. Head coach Bob Stoops made it official that OU has allowed him to transfer after the season by granting him his release. It seems like the most likely destination for Williams is Texas A&M, but that has yet to be determined. He's injured for the bowl game and will not play. With Williams' exit, three Sooner running backs will have left in 2011.

2. The Sooners are without a returning scholarship tight end entering 2012--Seniors Trent Ratterree and James Hanna are set to graduate, and Austin Haywood didn't find his way back onto the team after being given a second opportunity. Monday, Stoops announced Max Stevenson, who underwent pectoral surgery, will also not return. Stevenson told Stoops he just didn't want to play anymore. That means JUCO tight end Brannon Green, along with incoming freshman Laith Harlow, must really step it up.

3. More transfers could be coming very soon--It appears to be a revolving door for players on their way out with Williams transferring and rumors of sophomore defensive tackle Josh Aladenoye, redshirt freshman defensive back James Haynes, redshirt freshman wide receiver Justin McCay and others leaving as well. Stoops specifically addressed this entire issue Monday, saying the following:

"Well, I mean, there's reasons for every, for a lot. Like you said, some want more playing time. I'm not speaking on any particular individual. Some have multiple issues that you don't know about within the program, whether it be class attendance, whether it be workout absences, whether it be drug testing policies, whether it be...Everything that they have to handle, there's a lot to it. And to be an athlete and in good standing here, you got to meet certain standards, and if they're not, then, you know, maybe some guys need to find somewhere where they don't have to meet such standards. So, there's all kinds of reasons why."

4. Injuries have really hammered the Sooners once again--The latest news came recently when it was announced that Williams, wide receiver Jaz Reynolds and fullback Aaron Ripkowski would miss the bowl game. The depth chart is shrinking right in front of them every day. In fact, linebacker Jaydan Bird will move from linebacker to play some fullback in the Insight Bowl, if that's any indication of just how bad it is.

5. Will running back Roy Finch play?--There was some talk that Finch might not play in the bowl game due for a violation of team policies. However, when asked if he'd see the field in Arizona, Stoops suggested he would.

"Yes, wondering why he wouldn't," Stoops said. "I don't know that, so I'm fully expecting him to play. So, I don't know what you're referencing."

Apparently he will play. But should he not, that means OU will be down to just Clay and possibly Trey Millard at the running back position.

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