Sooners Tackle Issues at Big 12 Media Days

Irving, Texas—The Sooners finally made their appearance to Big 12 Media Days Wednesday morning, and they were ready and willing to answer a flurry of questions that surround the squad as it enters preseason camp in just nine days.

Perhaps one of the biggest question marks is the status of the offensive line, but OU head coach Bob Stoops said there's reason to believe there will be changes with the performances there.

"The way they worked through the winter and through all our conditioning and lifting and strength training through the winter conditioning periods [was encouraging]," Stoops said. "And then the way they competed in the spring. We have a—year in and year out—have a fairly good defensive line, and I thought they were toe to toe with them all the time and competed with them well."

Another issue is that of the wide receivers and if OU can find a couple of guys to play really consistently alongside Preseason All-Big 12 Media selection and slot receiver Ryan Broyles.

"Everyone knows that Ryan Broyles, what a special player and competitor he is," Stoops said. "[But] the other guys need to pick it up and kind of try and play the way he does. You know, there's potential there."

One piece of the potential there is newcomer Kenny Stills, who figures to compete in his first year.

"I thought Kenny Stills, for a freshman right out of high school, was very impressive as a young guy," Stoops said. "And hopefully he'll continue to come on and some of the other guys with him."

And then there's the others listed on the current depth chart at receiver right now that are expected to step up to the plate and perform.

"Definitely Dejuan Miller, Jaz Reynolds, Cameron Kinney, we have a lot of guys that are ready to play," Broyles said. "We just got to be more consistent than last year. We didn't really show that as much, but I feel like we're making strides in the right direction, and I feel like when it does become game time, we'll have a lot of guys that are capable of making plays."

Something else the Sooners addressed was the defensive line's outlook, as Adrian Taylor returns from his season-ending injury last year, but No. 3 NFL Draft Pick Gerald McCoy is now gone.

"Of course we're going to miss him, but we're going to move on and play great defense as usual," Beal said. "We've got a good core unit coming back, you know, that puts us in the chance of being pretty good."

As for Taylor's status, he's basically full strength.

"He's progressing well," Stoops said. "And they feel he's close to being—he's not quite there yet, but he's close to being back 100 percent. And just watching him, talking to him, walking through the office, he's making good progress and feels good about it."

Ranking these in terms of priorities given the circumstances, Stoops said the guys up front on both sides of the ball are the most important areas of emphasis in order for the Sooners to get where they want to be at the end of the year.

"I would say, you know, offensively, probably on both sides of the ball, making sure both lines of scrimmage are what we need them to be," Stoops said.

The Sooners get their first opportunity to address these issues when they take the field Friday, Aug. 8 for fall practice.

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