Three Keys to the Season

What do head coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners need to do in order to accomplish all their goals? Find out now as Sooners Illustrated digs into the season with this preseason special.

1. Stay healthy--Well, this one can't be hammered home enough. The Sooners were beaten and battered with injuries throughout the 2009 season, losing two of their most pivotal offensive pieces early in the season. Tight end Jermaine Gresham was the first to go down when he tore cartilage in his right knee before he even saw a snap. Quarterback Sam Bradford didn't get to wait much longer until his misfortune came. Bradford suffered a third degree AC sprain in his right shoulder, came back to play against Baylor and re-injured it for the rest of the season against Texas. Needless to say, OU can't afford any of that happening again if it wants to avenge a five-loss season by winning the Big 12 Championship and possibly the National Championship.

2. Get off to a fast start--Utah State may be the first opponent but Florida State, Cincinnati and Red River rival Texas all land on the first five weeks of the schedule, with Air Force mixed in between. That means a tune up this weekend is in store before things really heat up. If there are any major flaws--and there's no reason to believe there are--the Sooners most likely won't be able to overcome them with such a difficult early road ahead of them.

3. Play well on the road--OU travels to Cincinnati on the fourth week of the season and also has tough conference match-ups including Missouri and Texas A&M away from Norman. Baylor, although the Sooners shouldn't have too much trouble there, also hosts the Crimson and Cream, and of course Bedlam against Oklahoma State is on the road as well this year. Playing at a similar level on the road compared to home will be pivotal.

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