A couple of weeks ago Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops released the list of freshmen he expected to see playing time this season. The list was essentially the entire Class of 2013 minus a few names.
But saying they'll see time and actually seeing them out on the field are two totally different things. It didn't take long to see Stoops was preaching the truth. True freshmen littered the special teams lineup and a few saw playing time late in OU's 34-0 victory against ULM.
One of those was running back Keith Ford. Entered into the game in the fourth quarter, Ford delivered exactly what OU fans are hoping for. He came in and ran over and through a couple of ULM defenders en route to gaining 20 yards on four carries.
"Keith was really strong," Stoops said. "He ran hard, ran fast. He's got a bright future, definitely."
It won't be easy for Ford to break through the running back rotation with three seniors in front of him, but it also won't be easy for Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel to keep him off the field.
Wide receiver Austin Bennett caught his first ball of his career with an 11-yard reception in the fourth quarter. And toward the end of the game, you started to see the future of the defense with names like L.J. Moore, Hatari Byrd and Dominique Alexander out there. Alexander was credited with his first tackle.
Defensive lineman Matt Dimon didn't make a tackle, but he was definitely a vital part of the line rotation throughout the night. He showed the versatility to be lined up either inside or outside.
What the freshmen lack in experience they are making up with positive energy. Their contributions are going to be vital sooner than later.
"We're going to need all those guys," Stoops said. "They're competing hard and off to a good start."