Hidden behind the Final Four run and an incredible start to the 2017 recruiting class and surprising a few people Saturday was the Oklahoma Red-White spring game. Sooners Illustrated posed a handful of questions or “Take your Pick” options before the game Saturday morning.
Looking back on the game, we’ll try to answer those questions here:
Handicapping the Sooners’ 2017 quarterback race is an early challenge, but it’s not because of a lack of options. Both Murray and Kendall looked stellar in Saturday’s turnover-less spring game – a lot to ask for from an early enrollee freshman and a transfer playing in his first so-called game in the offense.
Statistically, Kendall finished 8-for-17 for 52 yards, including a touchdown run. Murray went 6-for-10 for 136 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also had 34 yards on the ground. Clearly, Murray had the better day on the stat sheet.
Watching the game, Murray has a much bigger flare for the dramatic. He has a lot more of Oklahoma starting quarterback Baker Mayfield in him than Kendall does. Kendall’s athleticism was a bit of a surprise, though. He was able to make plays with his feet to buy time to make plays down the field with his arm – and that sounds pretty familiar too. Kendall is the obvious back-up in the regular season because Murray can’t play.
SI’s pick: Ultimately, Oklahoma has nothing to worry about with its back-up quarterback, at least not compared to last year. For now, it seems like Kendall is on the fast track, but it could just be the learning curve.
Austin spent the entire game playing with the first-team defense over Mbanasor, who didn’t look overly dominant on the second team. Austin showed signs of battling through some disadvantages but still looked like a player a bit too small for the position.
There were times when he outshined Dahu Green, Oklahoma’s giant red-zone target, but he wasn’t the same showstopper that shut down Texas Tech a few months earlier. Mbanasor had two tackles while Austin didn’t record one.
Antoine Stephens might have looked the best in the short scrimmage of the three cornerbacks vying for a spot opposite Jordan Thomas, but he’s still seems to be a ways down the depth chart.
SI’s pick: Austin didn’t do anything to lose the starting job, and Mbanasor didn’t do anything to take it away. Oklahoma would sure love to see one of these two emerge as the must-have starter.
Tape don’t lie: Miller really outplayed Green on Saturday afternoon. Where Green had a couple drops, Miller found a way to make plays underneath and in mid-level receiving routes. Miller had four times as many catches as Green and four times as many yards. Statistically, there was no comparison.
Standing two inches taller than Miller, Green still gives Oklahoma an option in the red zone, but he didn’t show much of that Saturday.
SI’s pick: It was Miller’s knowledge of the offense to go along with his play-making skill that made him the clear-cut spring winner for emerging wide receivers.
Danley didn’t play in the game because of injury while Julious played on the second team. Powers worked on the first team at right guard, but it was Ford who took all the reps at left guard. Oklahoma is clearly trying out different combinations in the trenches.
Julious didn’t look or play as big as his listed 6-foot-5, 345-pound frame. Powers was solid but didn’t shine as a must-have starter. Ford probably looked the best, holding his own against Oklahoma’s top pass rushers – Matt Romar, Obo Okoronkwo and Neville Gallimore. Ford didn’t allow a sack the entire scrimmage.
SI’s pick: It looks like Ford is the clear frontrunner heading into preseason camp at the left guard spot. There’s still a lot Oklahoma could do at right guard. It could be Danley’s position to lose. Dru Samia took snaps at the position with Christian Daimler at tackle. There’s obviously Powers, who played the majority of the first-team snaps at the position. Guard as a whole? Still undecided.
Obo got the start, and DeBerry was held pretty quiet for much of the spring game. Okoronkwo finished with three tackles – all for loss – and two sacks. DeBerry had just two sacks.
Obo looked like a player ready to be Oklahoma’s top pass rusher. DeBerry looked like a player who might still be a couple months away from making that kind of impact.
SI’s pick: Heading into preseason camp, it’s Obo’s spot to lose. But DeBerry has made enough growth that these two will be interchangeable. Desperately need a percentage of snaps? Probably 2:1 in favor of Okoronkwo.null