Three Things We Still Need to Know

NORMAN, Okla. -- Previously, Sooners Illustrated gave you three major things it found out about the team for when the fall rolls around, but here are three things that still might be unknown.

1. Just how good is that offensive line going to be?
Phil Loadholt, Duke Robinson, Jon Cooper and Brandon Walker—four seniors—led the Sooner offensive line a year ago. It's easy to see why quarterback Sam Bradford was able to sit back in the pocket and scorch his opponents for more than 4,700 yards and 50 touchdowns in the 2008-09 season. But will he be able to sit back in the pocket and have time to make all his progressions, or will he be forced out of it to where he has to make more plays on the run. That will be a key to the Sooners' success in the passing game next season. The only returning starter for OU on the O-line is Trent Williams, who opted not to head for the National Football League, so the Sooners could have potentially had to replace their entire starting offensive line. As it is, OU needs some new faces to step up.

2. Will the Sooners' special teams be better in 2009?
To put it nicely, the Sooners were awful a year ago on special teams. If OU's special teams was different last year, the outcome of the South might have been different. One play that comes to mind is the Jordan Shipley kickoff return in the Red Rivalry Game that completely swung the momentum from the crimson and cream to the burnt orange. It's hard to get a grip on the changes in the special teams solely from the off-season, especially in the spring time, but the Sooners will need definite improvement in order to avoid those types of situations again.

3. Who will emerge as Bradford's go-to guy?
Last year, when times got tough, Manny Johnson and Juaquin Iglesias were there to make a play for Bradford. In their absence, the go-to guy figures to be tight end Jermaine Gresham or wide receivers Adron Tennell or Ryan Broyles. Without question, the Sooners have a ton of talent in their receiving and tight end corps, but who will emerge as the one person Bradford looks to on a pivotal game-winning drive? And how will young guys like Dejuan Miller and Jameel Owens affect the receiving group in 2009? Those questions will be answered early in the fall.


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