Football season is almost here for Oklahoma. And SoonersIlustrated.com is eager to get you ready for what could be a memorable 2014 season.
During the next two weeks, Bob Przybylo and Justin Hite are going to reveal their top 11 players on offense and defense and how those players will impact what happens on the field this fall. Let the countdown and debates begin.
Bob Przybylo: Tight end Blake Bell. Still feels weird writing tight end before Bell’s name but absolutely do believe the position change will stick.
Sort of hedging a bit on this one because No. 8 isn’t just for Bell, but it’s more for the tight end position as a whole. Whoever emerges as the main threat among Bell and Taylor McNamara and then combine them because tight end will need to be a prominent position once again.
Bell was making outstanding strides in the spring before a meniscus injury cut it short, and he never got to showcase his skills in front of the record crowd at OU’s spring game.
Somewhere along the way Bell is going to make a huge play. History just says that to be true, and it would be incredibly fitting if it happened in Bedlam against Oklahoma State for a third consecutive season.
Bell isn’t in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy award like he was around this time last summer, but he’s still going to be a vital member for the team in 2014, especially in the red zone with his size and athleticism.
Justin Hite:Wide receiver Derrick Woods. Before Woods, it was Kenny Stills and Jalen Saunders as the Sooners’ top deep threat. Oklahoma will need another one this year, and it seems as though Woods has the inside track – although don’t count out Jordan Smallwood.
For now, operate under the assumption that Woods will find a starting spot in the Sooners’ passing game, and he would be the best option for Oklahoma down field. Woods possess good speed and leaping ability, and at 6-foot-1 can win jump balls down field or in the end zone. Of course, anything can happen in practice leading up to the season opener against Louisiana Tech, but it seems as though Woods will be counted on to do the job.
Woods has shown flashes of big-play ability, it’s only a matter of how consistently he can do it. Obviously, if Woods and the previously mentioned Durron Neal can step up in what is a talented but young receiving corps, it would free up potential All-American Sterling Shepard to make plays all over the field.
Ultimately that might be the best contribution the rest of the receiving core can make.
As far as Woods is concerned, he had only two catches last season – one of which came against Alabama. But it was in the Sugar Bowl that he might have played his best game, giving hope that he is on the upswing of his production arc.