It’s about that time again. Expectations are high. Questions abound. Yep, it’s time for Oklahoma spring football.
The Sooners, coming off an 11-2 season where they won the Big 12 championship and the Sugar Bowl, will no doubt be expected to be in the national championship and playoff hunt once again.
The calendar turns to March. The page officially turns to 2017, and although things look rosy for OU, there are still plenty of unanswered questions going forward.
What are those? That’s where Sooners Illustrated comes in. We’ll take a look at one pressing question each day leading up to OU starting spring practice March 21. The spring game is April 8.
Sooners Illustrated’s 17 questions for spring 2017
Which mid-year enrollee(s) is ahead of the curve?
There are 11 of them. Yes, 11. Nine from high school and two junior college transfers. It’s a whole different looking team in the spring than the one that took down Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.
A lot of opportunities, but who is going to make the most of them? Who has the best chance to make the biggest impact? And who, well, might have to wait a year or two before getting a crack?
Waiting in the wings
Quarterback Chris Robison – Even without Baker Mayfield, it would have been a heck of a climb for Robison to see the field. With Mayfield, with Austin Kendall, with Kyler Murray, this year is a learning curve for Robison. And that’s OK.
Inside linebacker Levi Draper – After watching practice Tuesday, you see Draper is not physically there just yet. Unless he can bulk up in a major way during the spring and summer, it’s hard to see OU putting Draper in that tough of a spot. He has the tools, but will have to pack on pounds.
Center Creed Humphrey – Erick Wren getting one more year of eligibility basically locked this up. You have Wren. Jonathan Alvarez is still on campus. Logan Roberson is waiting, but Humphrey might leap Roberson. He’s so physical, so nasty, just needs time.
H-Back Jeremiah Hall – Time to continue that fullback lineage at OU. With Dimitri Flowers entering his senior season, Hall can sit back and wait and learn from the best. The 2018 season should be his time to shine.
Time is now
Wide receiver Marquise Brown – Forget about the 157 pounds for a second and realize what a dynamic threat he’s going to be as a receiver and a returner. He’s so fast that as long as he gets behind the defense, look out. His speed will have him on the field from Day 1.
Running back Trey Sermon – You want an opportunity, you got it. No Joe Mixon. No Samaje Perine. OK, Sermon, you’re next. Sermon already looks the part of a college football running back. If he can handle the mental side, he’s ready.
Running back Marcelias Sutton – The stress fracture was a setback, for sure, but Sutton looks physically ready for action. Still not sure what type of impact he’ll make in the running game, but he should be one to circle in terms of a returner.
Defensive back Justin Broiles – Think the surprise so far has been Broiles. He appears to be more ready than some expected. Now there’s no guarantee he’ll find a spot, but he will certainly give Jordan Parker a battle for that second cornerback starting spot.
Tight end Grant Calcaterra – Calcaterra is going to be good enough to find the field. Think his situation might be more dictated by what happens with Mark Andrews. If Andrews can stay healthy, Calcaterra’s time will be limited. Something to watch.
Outside linebacker Kenneth Murray – Here come the outside linebackers. OU has loaded up at this spot the last couple of years. Murray has felt like someone who could play inside, but he’s starting outside and didn’t look lost Tuesday.
Outside linebacker Addison Gumbs – OU coaches have to be salivating about what’s to come with Gumbs. He’s every bit as tall as people have claimed him to be but will need to add some weight. Long, lanky frame seems poised to be someone to circle going forward.