OU Roundtable: Offense

Through the first four games of the season, a star - or two - has emerged on offense

It’s a bye week for Oklahoma as the Sooners get a week off to rest up, fix some things and get ready for TCU.

The Sooners are one-third of the way done with the regular season so Sooners Illustrated is going to look at a couple of things.

Through the first four games, who has been the best player on offense for OU? We asked, you answered.

Bob Przybylo: No question running back Keith Ford has made a huge impact. No doubt junior wide receiver Sterling Shepard has made some plays.

Offensive line isn’t a sexy pick, but it’s tough to argue against Daryl Williams as the best player on OU’s offense. The honor goes to Williams, but it’s sort of a combined award for the offensive line.

The experience among that group has gone a long way toward the Sooners usually accomplishing whatever they want and when they want to do it.

Though the group has been solid, nobody has been better than Williams. Three out of the four games coach Bob Stoops has made sure to mention Williams as somebody who played a great game.

For the season, OU is averaging 222.8 rushing yards per game and 5.9 yards per carry. The best performance was the last one at West Virginia.

It’s not just his play on the field as Williams has emerged as one of the leaders on the team and one of the captains. His development is one key reason OU is in the hunt for a spot in the college football playoff.

Justin Hite: There’s a lot of temptation out there. Ford has been ultra-dynamic, and the offensive line has been spectacular. Even Trevor Knight has been solid – although not the best player on the field.

There is one player though, whose ability to learn and thrive in a new position has been huge for the Sooners’ run game. It has been Shepard, who has opened up a world of offense for Oklahoma.

First, some facts.

By design or tendency, Shepard is Oklahoma’s only true deep threat – a role he was still learning to play at the start of the season.

After having just three 100-yard games during his first two years, Shepard already has three in four games and is averaging 109 yards per game and 19 yards per catch. Both are second in the conference.

He has seven of the Sooners’ 16 pass plays for longer than 20-yards. All of his were caught after 20. That can’t be said for the other nine.

What he does that isn’t seen on a stat sheet is that he has blown the top off the secondary. They have to respect him and can’t stack the box – giving the RBs an extra couple steps before running over a safety.

He has done as much good for the prolific running game, which is indeed prolific, as any other player on the field. Safeties are backing up pre-snap.

Plus, he’s a heck of a receiver as well.

Sooners Illustrated readers: The vote is in: Sterling Shepard with 19 votes. Samaje Perine was second while Knight, Ford and Williams tied for third. Here’s what they said:

Soonerfandave84 says – Shepard at this point but maybe Keith Ford by seasons end.

SoonerKeith7 says – Has to be Shep right now. Of course if you pick Shepard, then you have to attribute a lot of his success to Knight and in-turn to the O-line.

Bonzeus says – I guess I'm starting to take Shep for granted. Just plays at that high level every game (maybe the whole point of the poll) but I chose Perine, not because of the WVU game but his overall performance both running and blocking better than any of the backs.

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