The Sooner wide receiver corp will have a new look on Saturday when the Sooners host TCU. OU lost five seniors to graduation a year ago, but not just any seniors as three receivers were taken in the top three rounds of the NFL draft. However, back are talented seniors Travis Wilson, JeJuan Rankins and a group of underclassmen loaded with talent.
Oklahoma wide receiver coach Darrell Wyatt is one of the very best assistant coaches in the country, and his challenge in training camp was to whip this new batch of receivers into shape. On Monday, Wyatt talked about their progress and the fact that he feels this group will make up another great wide receiver corp.
DW: There is no question about it. We are excited to watch our two seniors — Travis Wilson and JeJuan Rankins play. They have had great fall camps for us, and again, they have given us great leadership. We are also very excited to see some of these young talented receivers that we have. Our talent level has not dropped off.
We may lack a little experience, but these guys are tremendously talented and they are going to make some great plays for us. It is going to be an on-the-go learning process, but we are excited because they bring so much to the table in terms of just their overall athletic ability.
JH: Because your group was so young was training camp different than the one you had last year with five seniors?
DW: There is not doubt about it. There were things that I might have to coach two or three times until they understood, versus guys who had been around here for two to three years. The new guys don't always understand what you are talking about the first time you give them a coaching point, but again it is kind of refreshing to have young guys.
The great thing about them is that they all have great personalities, they are eager to learn, and all of those freshmen are a joy to be around. I am just looking forward to seeing all of those guys play out here on Owen Field for the first time.
JH: Have Travis and JeJuan been forced to step up as leaders? Or did it come naturally for them?
DW: As the two guys who have had playing experience in a game, they have had to take over the leadership role. Last year, even though they played quite a bit, we had five seniors that played in games and those guys kind of took over the leadership role. I give them a lot of credit because they have done a great job showing the way to these young guys.
JH: You expect Travis and JeJuan to have their best years yet, don't you?
DW: It all starts with a great fall camp and both those guys had great springs and great fall camps. They were both highly motivated by the success the seniors had last year throughout the season and with the NFL draft. These two are now highly motivated and poised to have a great year.
JH: You have a number of options, so who can we expect to see play on Saturday?
DW: We are going to play our typically our five or six men, and maybe even seven guys. Obviously, the two seniors are going to play and we expect to see Lendy Holmes and Quentin Chaney. Lendy is involved with special teams quite a bit, as well as the freshman — Juaquin Iglesias. You can expect that Iglesias, Malcolm Kelley and Manuel Johnson all have a chance to get on the field. And Jermaine Hardison has done some really good things for us in fall camp, so he might have a chance to get on the field. We have a number of guys that have demonstrated in fall camp that they can make a play. I am anxious to get out there and see what they can do in front of a big crowd.
JH: Have you decided who will be the starting third wide receiver?
DW: It is still a work in progress. That job is still out there to be taken by one of those guys, but Lendy has played some in the slot when we go three-wide. We can also play Quentin Chaney and kick JeJuan Rankins into the slot. All three of those freshmen have demonstrated that they have big play capability. There is still a lot of football to be played and the job is still up in the air.
JH: Every year you seem to add some kind of new routes or something to the passing game, so how about this year? Have you been tinkering with the passing game again?
DW: I think you will see some wrinkles and some changes, but we build everything around running the football. We will build our offense around what we feel is the best tailback and the best fullback, plus Kejuan Jones, who is a great guy who could be a No. 1 or No. 2 guy. We are going to build everything around the running game, but still be able to throw the football some. You will see some wrinkles off of our strength, which is running the football.
JH: What are your thoughts on TCU and what they do in the secondary?
DW: They did a tremendous job and they are one of the best defenses in the country stopping the run. They are going to commit every man possible to stop the run and they are going to mix up and play some man coverage with some zone. They are going to force you to make some plays in the passing game. We are going to do that, but Kevin (Wilson) does a tremendous job and he will tinker and scheme and find a way to run the football. We will get some receivers in position to block some guys and try to strive for balance that we always do.
Wyatt says receivers are young, but talented
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