Practice has arrived. Months of hype for Oklahoma are about to put to the side to see what the 2014 Sooners can do on the field.
Although it’s expected to be an exciting season in Norman, there are questions abound heading into the season. Up first – the offense.
Will anybody emerge at running back?
It’s a question that almost doesn’t need an answer. Because to go with it, you could ask is that even necessary? The Sooners have shown you don’t need one marquee back to be solid as a group, and it sure appears that will be the case in 2014. The frontrunner appeared to be Keith Ford heading into the spring, but redshirt sophomore Alex Ross has been stating his case on the field throughout the spring and into summer workouts. The unknown factor will be what happens if any of the young guys step up as well. In other words, OU is loaded at the position but the quality of that depth is yet to be known.
Is the tight end position back?
Tight end and OU hasn’t really gelled together the last couple of seasons, but it feels like the position is returning to Norman this year. Taylor McNamara is starting to show that promise everybody thought he had in high school, while all eyes will be on how Blake Bell does in making the full transition from quarterback to tight end. OU also signed two tight ends for the 2014 class although no idea if either will be ready to roll this season. Tight end is still a sore spot in recruiting right now. A good year on the field can directly correlate into things picking up in that department as well.
What changes will be made in Knight’s game?
Not asking if Trevor Knight can duplicate his outing against Alabama. He won’t. Not asking if Knight can handle the media pressure of being the man. He can. No, the issue is going to be how he adapts his game. Not fair to call him injury prone after last season, but his style of play last year absolutely opened the door for more injuries to occur. He said last week he understands he’s going to have to play smarter. But if you rein him in a bit, will that lose part of the package that made Knight so exciting in the first place? OU needs that dual-threat presence but obviously needs him healthy.
Who will step up at wide receiver?
One of the reasons OU looked so hard at Dorial Green-Beckham is because it needs depth at wide receiver. Badly. Outside of Sterling Shepard, nothing is guaranteed as who will be the other starters going forward. Nobody is out of the picture, either. Between Derrick Woods, Durron Neal, K.J. Young, Austin Bennett, Jordan Smallwood and the four freshmen coming to campus, it’s going to be one intriguing race to see how things develop. It’s anybody’s guess, a game of musical chairs at this point as to who is going to make that leap.
How deep is the offensive line?
OU will only go as far as the quality of the offensive line. And for the first time in a while, that feels like a pretty good thing. People can question the depth of the line, but at least it feels like there is depth at every position. That hasn’t always been the case the last couple of seasons. Daryl Williams has made the jump to leader at offensive tackle. Ty Darlington is ready to be the quarterback at center. Dionte Savage might end up being the story of the line at guard. In other words, there are a lot of reasons for OU fans to be excited this season.