Expectations no different on offense in 2012

NORMAN, Okla. — It's no secret that the Big 12 is an offensive powerhouse conference, and it's no secret that OU has been one of the leading forces of that.

In 2008 with Sam Bradford at the helm, the Sooners, of course, put together five straight 60-plus-point games in a year in which they averaged 547.9 yards per game.

Last year, they ranked fifth in the nation with 512.31 yards per contest, while in-state rival Oklahoma State finished in third at 549.85 yards per game.

And the expectations for a high-octane offense are no different this time around.

"Hopefully we put a fast, explosive one that is capable of taking care of the ball and moving the ball and controlling it," said co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. "You know, ultimately we gotta play one snap at a time. We gotta play smart. We gotta play hard, and we gotta play physical.

"Those are the things that we keep talking to our guys about and, you know, I think our young guys have all bought into it. But again, you don't know what you've got until you go out there and play."

Fifth-year signal caller Landry Jones doesn't fall shy of restating anything Heupel said.

"I mean, I expect us to be a great offense," Jones said. "You know, if you're not going into the year and expecting yourself to be a great offense, then what are you really doing? So, you know, I expect us to be great and I expect us to be able to run the ball and throw it around a little bit."

Yes, running the ball will be key to maintain a healthy offensive mix to keep defenses off Jones as much as possible.

"I expect us to be better in the running game and hopefully that'll be the case," said head coach Bob Stoops.

The tools are clearly there with the return of starting running back Dominique Whaley, who led the team with 627 rushing yards and nine touchdowns before going down with a broken ankle a season ago.

OU also has Brennan Clay and Arizona Western JUCO transfer Damien Williams in that stable, among others.

Because of that, much of OU's success in running the ball relies on the now-rebuilt starting offensive line, as guards Adam Shead and Bronson Irwin have moved into those spots after center Ben Habern concluded his career and right guard Tyler Evans tore his ACL the first of camp.

"The key is just consistent execution," said centers and guards coach James Patton. "You know, it doesn't change. Getting hats on hats, being fundamentally sound and then going out and doing it against live bodies and our opponents and people we're going to see this week."

The weapons are clearly in Jones' arsenal in the passing game with veteran Kenny Stills, along with expected newcomer standout Trey Metoyer, Penn State transfer Justin Brown, JUCO transfer LaColton Bester and true freshmen Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard, who have all found their way on the two-deep.

Consistency, as Patton stated, will also be crucial in the receiving game.

One thing's for sure: The Sooners don't plan to slow things down.

They'll again be in that no-huddle offense which has helped them post so much production in recent years. Perhaps even late in games that might not be close.

"I mean, we always can to burn out clocks and things like that," Stoops said. "You know, but there's different ways of using the clock without having to huddle, too. So, I just think we need to be productive. If you're gonna no-huddle, you know, you need to be efficient more than anything in what you're doing."

As far as a set amount of plays OU's aiming for in the season-opener, Heupel wouldn't pinpoint an exact number.

"We'll see," Heupel said. "You know, it depends on the flow of the game. It depends how our kids are transitioning and reacting to things early in the football game. So, you know, the game kind of unfolds. Each one has got its own identity, and we'll find out what that is on Saturday."

And we'll find out just somewhat of the capabilities of perhaps another explosive Sooner offense in live action for the first time.

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