Setting the stage: OU-ULM

OU begins its season Saturday. What's the biggest question for each team? Who is going to shine? Will OU start 2013 on the right foot?

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma's game during the 2013 season.

ULM (0-0) at OU (0-0)

When: 6 p.m. CT Saturday

OU's biggest question going into the game

Last week the answer to this would have been the quarterback situation. Naming redshirt freshman Trevor Knight as the starter opened a lot of eyes.

But in talking to multiple players and coaches this week, nobody seemed hesitant as to why Knight shouldn't fare well Saturday in his first start.

Knight has so many weapons to work with at running back and wide receiver to go along with an incredibly experienced offensive line. Simply put – he doesn't have to do it all by himself.

But the defense is another story. Young and unproven at defensive line. Linebackers were practically nonexistent during the latter half of the 2012 season. Outside of Aaron Colvin, there are questions abound in the secondary.

Heck, even OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops knows it.

"I'm nervous, too," Stoops said. "I'll be as nervous as anybody. But you know, you trust your players, trust the system, make some good calls and get them in the right position to make some plays.

"Again, we feel like we can matchup. We've just got to make sure – it gets down to making mistakes. We've got to limit our mistakes Saturday night."

That will be even tougher to do since two starters, defensive tackle Chuka Ndulue and cornerback Cortez Johnson, will miss the game because of one-game suspensions.

ULM's biggest question going into the game

Will the Warhawks be able to do it for the second year in a row? ULM got the 2012 season started with a bang with a major upset at Arkansas.

They're not sneaking up on anybody this time around.

"With all these starters back, they're a team that is very used to coming into stadium and places like this and playing well," OU coach Bob Stoops said. "They're used to winning. They won eight games last year. Todd Berry and his staff have a great, great job building that team over the last four years."

All the talk has centered around OU's quarterback, but it's ULM's Kolton Browning that could be the one causing all the headaches for OU fans. Browning is the school's all-time leader in touchdown passes and is tied for the all-time lead in total touchdowns.

Browning led the team in passing and rushing last season, accumulating more than 3,500 yards of total offense and 36 touchdowns.

Quotable

"He's a young guy so he's leading by example. I think that's the first way you can lead. He's consistent in how he approaches every day. He's been consistent in the offseason. He's the same guy every day out there on the practice field. He makes a mistake, but he doesn't hang his head. He comes back and responds in a big way, and we've got some guys who have played a lot of football who see the energy and effort that he brings. And I think our offense can feed off that." - OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel on what Trevor Knight brings to the table

Breakout player

OU wide receiver LaColtan Bester. When Bester signed in spring 2012, the thought was he was there to add another body in case something happened. Bester has gone from afterthought to most likely getting the starting nod Saturday. OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell didn't say Bester would start but implied it. He has had a great camp and loves to block, which should help him out if OU does decide to get physical with its offense.

Prediction

OU 37, ULM 20. It won't be easy as this is not a cupcake at all. But the Sooners should be able to find a lot of success offensively even if some of those scores turn into field goals instead of touchdowns. Knight has a solid game, thanks in large part to the running success of Brennan Clay and Damien Williams in the first half. The OU defense struggles at times but causes two turnovers in the second half to make sure the Warhawks don't start thinking upset.


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