Sources say Jackson will be out for 2012, Reynolds suspended at least seven games and the other two out for lengthy periods of time, so should that all be the case, the impacts and what it means loom large.
1. OU's receiving experience is shot--The unit went from five available scholarship wide receivers on the current spring roster to two in one series of events. Out of those two, only Kenny Stills stands in not as a freshman. Spring standout Trey Metoyer enrolled at mid-semester and is a true freshman without any Division I experience. Franks, Jackson and Reynolds all provided live game experience and that will be sorely missed both on the practice fields grooming the incoming youngsters and on game day.
2. The Sooners lose at least one starter--Though wide receivers coach Jay Norvell doesn't exactly list his starters, Reynolds was to certain to be one coming out of last year and the spring. He finished third on the team with 41 catches for 715 yards and five touchdowns and led the team with his 17.4 yards per reception. Reynolds finish second just to star slot receiver Ryan Broyles and Stills, who racked up 1,157 and 849 yards, respectively. None of the other three players suspended were expected to be starters.
3. Two-deep takes four serious hits--Never mind the fact that three of the four aren't probably going to be in the starting 11 on Saturday, but they're in the second 11. Franks and Jackson, the latter of the two as a true freshman, both contributed last season. Franks finished with 22 catches for 196 yards, and Jackson excelled at the end of the season, snatching nine of his 12 season receptions for 134 of his 165 yards in the final four contests. Hayes, who participated in a special teams role last year with three tackles in eight games, figured to battle for time at safety. Then there's Reynolds, whose impact can't be overstated.
What it means:
1. Metoyer MUST be a force immediately--Forget about the true freshman card. Metoyer won't be allowed that excuse on this team because he'll, at the very least, have to give OU the production Reynolds won't be able to. He'll be expected to contribute on a consistent basis, be a big time playmaker. No doubt, Metoyer showed all the signs of that in the Red-White game, leading the team with six catches for 72 yards. So, while he's a great bet for some solid numbers and won't likely show many freshman hiccups, he won't be afforded that excuse.
2. Sooners will start at least one true freshman at wideout--It's not too hard to gaze into the crystal ball and visualize some of the starting lineup at receiver. The only two scholarship guys on the roster right now figure to be in that group. Metoyer, as previously mentioned, is a true frosh, so therefore one will be a starter. What remains to be seen is the impact of the other incoming freshmen, including Durron Neal, Sterling Shepard and Derrick Woods. JUCO transfer Courtney Gardner, barring the completion of his summer class, is also expected to arrive on campus, so he could be amongst the starting three. Fact of the matter, though, is OU will start one freshman and maybe two if Neal or Shepard crack and lineup ahead of Gardner.
3. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has to work around his first casualty--Granted it's not Tony Jefferson or Demontre Hurst or a big name DB, but it's one that makes up an important part of his group from a depth standpoint. The 6-foot, 181-pound defensive back from Lancaster, Texas gives the Sooners what any reserve gives his team: another body. He's a talented player that definitely could have cracked the lineup at some point for reps. So, it's disappointing Stoops has to lose a member of his secondary that can provide that role.