The week of the spring game has finally reached us, so Sooners Illustrated now delves into the five most important things to watch for in this year's game.
1. Which quarterback runs with the ones and gets the most reps—Will the coaching staff tip their hand in any way as to the signal caller that has performed the best so far this spring? We'll find out. Good things are surfacing about Kendal Thompson, perceived to be a dark horse heading into the spring competition. Meanwhile, Blake Bell has the most experience, and Trevor Knight has the ability to showcase Johnny Manziel-like escapability with a powerful arm on the run.
2. The zone read—Surprisingly enough, the Sooners went into the zone read with media watching at the beginning of spring ball. It's not surprising they expect to use that come fall with their plethora of mobile quarterback options. But it's not Bob Stoops' style to showcase anything they might use in front of the press, and he, whether by accident or not, did so this spring. Now, the question remains how much, if at all, they'll run it in the spring game.
3. Offensive line's blocking for the run under new coach Bill Bedenbaugh—Much has been made of OU's improved run blocking during spring ball under the former West Virginia offensive line coach. The time now comes for the unit to show it in front of fans in a live setting. This should be interesting.
4. Pressure up front defensively—There's a lot of moving parts for fellow new position coach Jerry Montgomery to manage on the defensive line, but he seems to be doing a good job. Chuka Ndulue has moved inside to the defensive tackle position alongside Jordan Phillips and others, and Geneo Grissom, Mike Onuoha and Charles Tapper, by all accounts, are having good springs. Can they get past a veteran OU offensive line, though?
5. The involvement of the linebackers—Last year it was very unusual in terms of OU's lack of mid level support in the defense. It frustrated Tom Wort enough to leave for the NFL Draft. But linebackers coach Tim Kish and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops have changed up their schemes now to get their linebackers more involved, and it's paying off in the form of more confidence amongst the group. Corey Nelson discussed that when he met with the media the other day, and so did Eric Striker, who has moved to the Mike spot. Watch these guys come Saturday.