While the start of the college football season is still months away, Oklahoma fans will get a taste of Sooner football this Saturday at the OU Spring Game.
What: OU Football Spring Game
When: Saturday at 1 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 722)
Here are a few things to look out for:
With Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon now in the NFL, Lincoln Riley will need to somehow replace 3,334 rushing yards and nearly 700 receiving yards out of Oklahoma’s backfield this upcoming season.
There’s been a lot of talk about Rodney Anderson being the guy to fill the void, but seeing he’s coming off back-to-back season ending injuries these past two seasons, Bob Stoops has opted to play it safe with Anderson and hold him out of the game.
That leaves Abdul Adams as OU’s first team running back on Saturday, and the sophomore has a huge opportunity to showcase what he’s capable of. After rushing for 283 yards on 53 attempts as a true freshman, Riley has continually praised Adams throughout spring practice. It’ll be interesting to see how Adams looks when he has the chance to run behind Oklahoma’s veteran offensive line.
Just like the running back position, Riley will need to make up for the loss of Biletnikoff winner and Heisman finalist Dede Westbrook on the outside of his offense.
Oklahoma’s aerial attack struggled to open up last season when Westbrook was fighting through a hamstring issue, therefore the Sooners will need someone to emerge as Baker Mayfield’s No. 1 option before the season gets underway.
Tight end Mark Andrews should see a hefty number of targets, while Nick Basquine showed how reliable he was last season. Much of the chatter this spring has centered around the speed of JUCO transfer Marquise Brown. Mayfield has raved about just how fast Brown is, and Sooner fans will get to see it for themselves on Saturday.
Jeffrey Mead, Dahu Green and Mykel Jones are other guys who will likely have increased roles this upcoming season and it’ll be interesting to see who gets the most reps with the first-team offense.
New faces on defense
With Ahmad Thomas now graduated and both Steven Parker and Jordan Parker both sitting out of the Spring Game, look out for a lot of unfamiliar but important faces in the secondary. Parnell Motley is set to compete with Jordan Parker for the cornerback spot opposite of Jordan Thomas, so OU fans can bet on seeing a lot of the sophomore on Saturday.
Safeties Will Sunderland and Kahlil Haughton will get tons of playing time while sophomore Chance Sylvie will have a chance to earn some playing time with a strong spring and summer.
Caleb Kelly and Obo Okoronkwo are two of the bigger named players returning to anchor Oklahoma’s defense, but with Jordan Evans no longer on campus, someone will need to step up at inside linebacker. Emmanuel Beal will have the upper hand at one of the spots but guys like Jon-Michael Terry and Ricky DeBerry are turning heads.