Bradford's Impact

NORMAN, Okla. -- Since just before halftime in the Sooners' opening game against Brigham Young, fans have been waiting for this news.

OU quarterback and last year's Heisman winner, Sam Bradford, will be back in action when the Sooners kick off against Baylor at 2:30 p.m. this weekend.

But what real implications does Bradford's return have on OU and its situation?

There are several, so here are the top three impacts Bradford's return will have on the Sooners and their season.

Three major impacts:

3. Takes pressure off the defense
At first glance, this might sound ridiculous to blame the majority of the offense's struggles on the loss of Bradford. But the offense simply hasn't had the flow it had last year, in large part because of his absence. And this has contributed to the defense being on the field for a lot of plays throughout the Sooners' first four games of the year. The team and fans alike are hoping his return will bring back some of the cohesiveness the offense had last season, though, which in turn will allow the defense to stay off the field for longer. Towards the end of games, defenses wear down if they have been on the field for a large portion of the game, and that arguably could be the problem in some of the late game drives they have allowed.

2. More of a deep threat
Without wide receiver Ryan Broyles and tight end Jermaine Gresham, the Sooners would seem to be in a struggle to throw the ball deep. But whatever the OU coaching staff would like to say, they definitely feel more comfortable throwing the ball deep with Bradford, so even without Broyles or Gresham, the Sooners pose more of a deep threat to opposing defenses simply because they know OU might stretch the field now. With redshirt freshman quarterback Landry Jones at the helm, OU hasn't tried to go deep at all. So, possibly Bradford's return will bring back some of the deep threat.

1. Morale boost
If the Sooners are to repeat as Big 12 champions again and win it for the fourth straight year, the mindset needs to be there. Some tough things have happened to the Sooners at the beginning of this year first with the loss of star tight end Jermaine Gresham, then Bradford's injury, combined with two one-point losses. But now OU gets back Bradford and could still win the Big 12. Bradford even said at the beginning of this week, there's still a lot out there for the team. His return could be just the confidence booster they need.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories