Mount St. Mary's: Mount St. Mary's, located in Emmitsburg, Md., returns its top four scorers from a 2008-09 team that finished 19-14 overall and 12-6 in the Northeast Conference (second place). The Mountaineers are picked by conference coaches, as well as several preseason publications, to win this year's league race.
The squad is led by consensus preseason Northeast Conference player of the year Jeremy Goode, a 5-9, 170-pound senior point guard who averaged 14.9 points and 4.1 assists a game last year and earned first-team all-league honors. Also back are junior guard Jean Cajou (12.6 ppg, 2.2 apg, team-high 51 3-pointers), senior forward Kelly Beidler (10.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.1 apg) and junior forward Shawn Atupem (9.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .536 FG%).
Seventh-year head coach Milan Brown has directed the Mountaineers to a 79-105 (.429) record, but is 38-29 (.567) over the past two seasons. Mount St. Mary's participated in the 2008 NCAA Tournament after winning the Northeast Conference postseason tournament. Brown served as an assistant coach under OU head coach Jeff Capel's father (also named Jeff Capel) at Old Dominion in the mid 1990's.
On paper, Oklahoma's strength in 2009-10 will be its backcourt. Leading the guard charge will be sophomore preseason All-American Willie Warren and senior Tony Crocker. The pair, who combined for 70 starts last year, has shown an ability to score in bunches. Warren recorded seven games of at least 20 points last season (including two of at least 30 points) en route to being unanimously named Big 12 Freshman of the Year. He averaged 14.6 points and set an OU freshman record with his 67 3-pointers. Crocker, meanwhile, has scored at least 20 points nine times over the past two seasons. He enters his final campaign ranked 34th in OU career scoring (1,008 points) and seventh in 3-point field goals (158). Other returnees are junior guard Cade Davis (4.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg), sophomore guard Ray Willis (3.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg), senior forward Ryan Wright (1.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg), junior center Orlando Allen (1.8 ppg), senior forward Beau Gerber (0.6 ppg) and sophomore guard T.J. Franklin (0.3 ppg).
OU Projected Starters: 1 Ryan Wright (6-9, 241,Sr.) 24 Tiny Gallon (6-9, 290, Fr.) 5 Tony Crocker (6-6, 209, Sr.) 11 Tommy Mason-Griffin (5-11, 203, Fr.) 13 Willie Warren (6-4, 203, So.) Mount St. Mary's Projected Starters: 4 Kelly Beidler (6-5, 205, Sr.) - 10.9 ppg 10 Shawn Atupem (6-7, 220, Jr.) - 9.6 ppg 13 Kristijan Krajina (6-9, 230, Fr.) 0 Jean Cajou (6-3, 180, Jr.) - 12.6 ppg 1 Jeremy Goode (5-9, 170, Sr.) - 14.9 ppg
Honestly, when the season started the Texas A&M game was nothing but a blimp on the radar for basically anyone that follows college football.
OU was supposed to roll in to this game with dreams of playing for a National Championship or at the very least a shot at the Big 12 Title.
OU Head Coach Bob Stoops says that the team just needs to take it one game at a time.
"We're just trying to be good enough to get through this week," Stoops stated.
The Sooner defense has been nothing short of spectacular in OU's injury riddled 5-4 start.
In the four losses the OU ‘D' has only allowed an average of just over 15 points per game.
And the Sooner ‘D' will have to step up again on Saturday, as the Aggies feature what is recognized statistically as the Big 12's most prolific offense.
Stoops said, "A&M is playing great offense. They're leading the league in total offense and first or second in the league in scoring offense. Their quarterback, Jerod Johnson is leading the league in total yards. So, it will be another great challenge hosting them here at home this weekend."
Like OU, the Aggies enter the game with a very young squad and a 5-4 record. They are 1-2 on the road with the lone road victory coming against Texas Tech on 10/24. The Aggies have lost five straight in Norman, with their last win coming in 1997.
Saturday will mark just the third time since the formation of the Big 12, and in the last 60 years overall, that neither team is ranked on game day.
The Sooners also have one of their biggest football recruiting weekend's on tap on Saturday, and with 25 commitments already in the bag, Stoops made it clear that there is still room for even more.
"We're not there yet," Stoops informed when asked how to provide depth on the roster with 25 already in the bag.
One of the biggest positions of frustration for Stoops and his staff has been wide receiver and the are set to host one of the best in the country and he will be bringing a long a close friend, who is also rated as one of the best defensive ends in the country.
Stills is one of the top receivers on the OU board and is one of the most complete receivers to come out of the West in a few years. Has great speed (4.36), excellent hands and concentration and is a crisp, route-runners. He's quick off the line, tough to stay in coverage with, and when he gets past the secondary, he's not going to be caught. Needs to continue to add more strength, but has good height and long arms that allow him to reel in most any passes.
DE Chris Martin (6-4, 240, 4.7) – Grandview High, Colo.
Martin, who is now considered a "soft-verbal" to Notre Dame, is considered by Scout.com as the top jumbo athlete in the country, Martin is athletic enough to be the exception to the rule. The rule is that 6-4 and 240 pound linebackers put their hand down and play defense in college, and while defensive end is still a real possibility, Martin has the foot quickness, awareness, effort, and agility to be a big linebacker on the college level depending on scheme.
WR Justin McCay (6-3, 200, 4.5) – Bishop Miege High, Kan.
McCay is a solid commitment to the Oklahoma Sooners and the big receiving target will get the chance to see the campus up close and personal for the first time in a few months. He is someone that can stretch the field at all times and he will be dangerous on crossing routes in the Big 12. He has the tools to play either side of the ball, but seems better suited for offense. No matter which position he ends up at, he will need to adjust to the intensity of the college game.
RB Roy Finch (5-8, 180, 4.4) – Niceville High, Fla.
Finch has been the subject of many message board rumors that he may back off of his commitment to Oklahoma. A few weeks ago he even took an unofficial visit to see Georgia Tech take on Virginia Tech. Hopefully, the visit this weekend seals the deal for Finch and he solidifies his status. Finch lines up as a slot receiver and running back for his Niceville team. He's virtually untouchable in one on one situations, and he runs with surprising power when contact is initiated. He's at top speed almost instantly.
CB Quentin Hayes (6-1, 175, 4.5) – Lancaster High, Texas
Hayes made a quick commitment to OU when they offered him a scholarship and he helped Lancaster High on both sides of the ball in '09 as a defensive back and as a running back, his future in Norman is on the defensive side of the ball. He could play corner or safety. Despite only checking in at just over 170 pounds he is a voracious tackler and will only become more of an asset as he adds some weight and strength in the OU conditioning program. His former Lancaster teammate, CB Demontre Hurst, is a freshman contributor at OU and it would be a surprise if he was not Hayes' host.