The Sooners were forced to search for offense in four- and five-wide receiver sets.
With an influx of tight ends this year and a tight-end room full of players who co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel loves, Oklahoma is ready to revert to its glorified past.
“At the end of the day, we have to play the guys that are able to go out and compete for a championship,” Heupel said.
That’s the way Heupel wants it.
Versatility has always played a key role, and with tight ends Taylor McNamara and Blake Bell as well as fullbacks Dimitri Flowers and Aaron Ripkowski, Oklahoma has players that can play anywhere on the field.
“When we have a quarterback who can handle it and our skill players have a little bit of experience underneath them as well, our versatility helps our tempo package out tremendously,” Heupel said. “I think that’s where we’re a little bit different than some tempo teams.”
The athleticism at tight end has given Heupel the chance to run more large packages than in the past few years and even split out Bell or McNamara as a wide receiver to create major mismatches.
“Hopefully, that group as a whole has a place in what we’re doing,” Heupel said of the entire tight end/fullback group.
But it’s key that tight ends are not only diverse weapons but also talented on two major fronts in offense. Tight ends also have to play a key role when it comes to run blocking. Oklahoma’s top run blocker thinks that Bell and McNamara are ready for that challenge as well.
“I’ve seen them improve a lot more,” right tackle Daryl Williams said. “They’ve been more physical throughout two-a-days.”