Still more than a month away from the beginning of the 2015 season, but media days has always been an unofficial introduction to the season.
It’s a season that is asking a lot of questions for Oklahoma. Head coach Bob Stoops will be joined by quarterback Trevor Knight, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, center Ty Darlington and linebacker Eric Striker in Dallas on Tuesday.
No way every question is going to be answered at Big 12 media days, but here are some of the more pressing ones for the Sooners.
A huge question is going to be what role will the returning Shannon play at linebacker and what kind of a difference maker will Mixon be at running back.
Both are returning after off the field incidents didn’t allow them on the field for the 2014 season. Mixon, a five-star recruit for the 2014 class, was expected to be the next great running back.
With Mixon out, it was freshman Samaje Perine who stepped up and showed out with a record-setting freshman season for the Sooners.
Keith Ford and David Smith are no longer part of the program, opening up the door even more for Mixon to get carries. What has his mentality been like all spring and summer?
Shannon was the team’s leading tackler during the 2013 season. With him back, the Sooners actually have some depth at middle linebacker as Jordan Evans and Dominique Alexander both return after being starters last season.
What freshman has made the most noise?
Every year you sort of hear the same old song and dance about how good the young kids are looking during this stage of camp.
The 2015 crop doesn’t appear to be any different for the Sooners. The question is which one has set himself apart?
The early favorite seems to be four-star cornerback P.J. Mbanasor as sources have repeatedly said how well he has adjusted during the 7-on-7 practices.
The Sooners need help in the secondary, and it doesn’t matter if it comes from someone like a Mbanasor or from a veteran starting to step up.
Depth is a concern for OU at multiple positions so there’s going to be a chance for the young guys to make their mark. Media days will give us the first inkling of who that could be from the quartet of players who will be answering the questions.
What’s the offense looking like?
Spring was an introduction to the Lincoln Riley style of the “Air Raid” offense that has returned to Norman. Now nearly done with summer workouts, how are things progressing with what Riley is going to want to see from his players in the fall?
There are so many names out there as guys who could step up and start making their mark in Norman, but it’s obviously going to be the guy who gets a grasp of what Riley is installing.
Will conference expansion talk dominate the week?
OU president David Boren struck the first blow last month when addressing the state of the Big 12, and it’s going to be interesting to hear from players and coaches across the board on any real insight into the situation.
Is anybody going to speak their mind and say something that sets social media on fire? Will people dodge the question? The conference seems to be at a breaking point one way or another here in the next couple of years.
Who is OU’s quarterback?
This, of course, will not be answered this week, but it’s incredibly interesting that Trevor Knight is one the four representing OU when it feels like Baker Mayfield might have the edge on Knight in terms of winning the starting job.
Mayfield has been dealing with shoulder soreness this summer so that will be something to monitor going forward.
Knight has been here before. Two years ago at media day all the talk was about whether or not it would be Knight or Blake Bell as the starting quarterback. He’s a seasoned pro in this environment, but it was still rather surprising to hear Knight will be there.