OU midterm grades: offense

Looking back and grading OU's offense through the first half of the season.

Oklahoma is 5-1 heading into the second half of the regular season, but how have the Sooners done so far? Grading OU in all three phases of the game.

Offense

Quarterback

For the first time in a while, this is a question for the Sooners going forward. Is Blake Bell the answer? Does Trevor Knight deserve another shot? Should Kendal Thompson get his opportunity?

Maybe the best word to describe the play has been uneven. There have been times Bell has looked like he's in firm control of the offense. But the last two weeks have seen questionable decisions as well as costly turnovers at inopportune times.

Overall, OU quarterbacks are 106-of-179 for 1,179 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. But OU has failed to throw for a touchdown in the last two games. It's not as simple as saying the quarterback play will dictate where the Sooners are playing for their bowl game, but consistency is needed.

Grade: C+

Running back

This position is one reason why doling out grades by position and not by individual. This is a true running back-by-committee. Brennan Clay leads the gang with 476 yards and three touchdowns, but OU has four running backs that have accumulated at least 100 yards.

Clay, Roy Finch and Damien Williams each bring something different to the table and have had their time to shine. Lurking in the distance is freshman Keith Ford, who is just bringing a certain presence when he's in the game.

OU is averaging a staggering 226.7 yards per game and there's not much more you can ask for from the group.

Grade: A-

Trey Millard

He deserves his own category. Whether it's blocking, running, receiving or tackling on special teams, Millard has been every bit as good as advertised.

He has rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown and caught eight balls for 53 yards and another score. But his value isn't in the numbers as he has been the team's offensive player of the game on multiple occasions.

Grade: A

Wide receiver

This sort of goes hand-in-hand with quarterback. If the play isn't consistent at quarterback, the numbers aren't going to pop out at receiver.

OU only has four players with at least 10 receptions and only two with more than 20 in Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders.

But lately it hasn't looked like there have been any receivers out there as Shepard and Saunders have been kept extremely quiet the last two games. LaColtan Bester is starting to emerge more, while Durron Neal and Jaz Reynolds have made contributions.

Grade: C

Tight end

Non-existent at this point. Tight ends do not have one reception this year, and Brannon Green is on the field for less than 30 percent of the plays. The question remains is if OU doesn't have the talent at the position or if it is choosing to not utilize because of the play selection.

Grade: D-

Offensive line

First-year offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh wanted to bring physicality back to the Sooners, and he has done it through the first six games.

The line has looked a lot stronger and tougher this season, led by senior captain center Gabe Ikard. Nila Kasitati worked his way into the starting lineup, but senior Bronson Irwin has responded to reclaim his spot.

Tackles Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson have done a formidable job. Tough to evaluate the depth of the line, but so far it hasn't mattered as the Sooners have escaped the injury bug this year.

Grade: B+


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