Media Days: 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.

  • This new and latest version of the Sooners is embracing the usual high expectations--They come every year, and it's no different this time around, but neither is the team's response to it. Quarterback Landry Jones, center Ben Habern and field cornerback Demontre Hurst, as well as head coach Bob Stoops, all said they're aware of and welcome the predictions to be Big 12 Champions and in the national title race.

  • Stoops does prefer a late start time to at least one other scenario--Known to complain about playing late under the lights so many times in recent days, the Sooner head man admitted he had a hand in the start time for the season opener. The reason why he pushed for an 8:30 p.m. MT kickoff? The heat. Stoops said he would rather his team play late at night than in the 130 degree heat, which it would likely be on the field in El Paso on an early September afternoon.

  • There are no known complications in running back Dominique Whaley's recovery--The former walk-on sensation who led the team in rushing yards prior to his broken ankle appears to be fully healthy. There have been no setbacks, and Stoops' only concern is the cuts once he gets out there in full pads for fall camp.

  • The belief is that the offensive line could be as productive as the 2008 unit that spearheaded an explosive offense en route to the BCS National Championship Game--That's lofty expectations, but they're fairly warranted for a unit that poses three senior starters plus a junior combining for 96 career starts. Four returning starters round out a group that only loses Donald Stephenson from the corps a year ago.

  • Jones still believes he's a better athlete than wife Whitney Hand--The two recently got married a few weeks ago, and the debate goes on. While he was cautious in how he said it, Jones made it clear he still insists he's the better athlete when he commented, grinning, that they'd "have to have a little competition to figure that one out."

  • If any player is expected for a monster season, it's free safety Tony Jefferson--Yes, there are high hopes for true freshman wide receiver Trey Metoyer, and he probably will be the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, but from all indications, everyone associated with the team expects Jefferson to be that much of a playmaker and more on the defensive side of the ball. Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors are likely for this ballhawking safety that will now be in his natural position after defensive coordinator Mike Stoops' arrival and return.

  • They're fully aware of their brutal schedule--The Sooners must play three conference champions from a year ago and two of those on the road. West Virginia and TCU pose late season away challenges, but ones the team said they're looking forward to.

  • There is not quite as much concern from the team as it may seem with the wide receiving corps--Yes, from the outside looking in, it appears troublesome. The Sooners are without three guys from a year ago in Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson, who were all suspended indefinitely. But Jones was convincing that the youngsters, including Metoyer, Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard, might just be ready to step up immediately.

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