Originally Published: Aug 6, 2010 1:37 PM CDT
It’s back to work time. One practice. One media beat-down. One Meet the Sooners day. Now it’s time to get it on. Long, hot practices. Find out who the real men are. And who can’t hack it or who was over-hyped.
It’s time to get it on because your diligent coorespondent here believes this will be quite the revealing season.
Can Landry Jones get enough support to get this team into what would be a deliciously appropriate Big 12 title game against its old friend and rival, Nebraska? And can Landry Jones play QB as well as he must?
Can OU get through an unnecessarily difficult non-conferenct schedule undeated? And can OU win it’s biggest game since the 2008 national title loss to Florida? Texas.
If the answers are yeses, it’s game on. If the answers are no’s, next the media day a year from today will be stiffer than an ironing board.
Some “give” and “takes” from today’s presser:
Bob Stoops is surprised he was not selected to vote on the coaches’ poll. So am I . Very surprising that the head coach at a premiere program does not get to vote. He’ll “look into it.”
One of the best things about college ball as compared to pro ball is that you have young kids who are still growing and emerge into big-time players before your very eyes. 18-20 year olds who go through the strenuous workout program at a place like OU not only gain weight, but they lose body fat, see greater stamina. There are several potential stars lurking and ready to shine.
I believe the health of DT Adrian Taylor is huge. The horrible last-game fractured ankle has kept him out six months. Brent Venables: “It takes time to trust it after being off it six months.” Says it won’t surprise him if Taylor gets back to his old self. No offense, but I doubt he means that. I know I don’t. Asking a guy who’s been idle for half a year and carries 300 pounds and is not close to being in playing shape, will have lost physical ability and confidence.
Venables says Corey Nelson exceeded expectations on day one. So is Tony Jefferson. Nelson was a five-star recruit out of the football factory at Dallas Skyline and was the Texas 5A Player of the Year. He came in bigger than his listed 6-1 208 and the true freshman will be heard from. Jefferson will play a major role as a nickel back.
Venables did something I’ve not heard before. Yesterday, he ha each player “tell their story” to one another. The coaches learned things, including the difficult challenges their guys had going through post-surgery rehab.
Tom Wort looked a lot shaprer than spring.just in te chniquehis knee never had swelling, but knocking off the rust and getting fundamentals down helped him be more clean. LBs are great group of guys who love to compete. He loves the maturity of this group.
Ronnell we are going to find a way to get him on the field. Very violent. Tlld freshman you are in for a treat. He’s kind of a guy who you put on kickoffs and say “see ball get ball.” I hope that is not Venable’s way of saying Ronnell will be limited with how much he can do in his second year. Stoops and Venables say that’s not the casethat this guy will be special, and special this year. He believes he will have seven or eight quality players at LB. clearly, that position will be as strong as any on the team.
At least two newcomers are set to play primary roles on defense. Venables says LB Corey Nelson exceeded expectations on Day 1. The five star recruit out of the football factory at Dallas Skyline was the Texas 5A Player of the Year. Also, Tony Jefferson will play a lot at nickel. The 5-11, 200-pounder from California. Rivals listed him as the No. 4 safety. He is
Wilson feels better about his tight end situation. It killed them last season when All-World Jermaine Gresham did not play a down, and pedestrian play was all that was left. Eric Mensik and Gabe Ikard are up to 292 and 288 give the Sooners much-needed competition. “We had no urgency and no leadership from a couple of guys last year.” Ouch. Was it Trent Williams? OU lost its identity last season. And health will help. But so will playing hard, smart and having abilitythe latter two yet to be seen.
Freshman RBs Roy Finch and Brennan Clay will get their chance. “Fluid and smooth in space. They can make some balls in space for us.” Nice frosh class at WR, so maybe it’s like the OL and the ones aren’t so far ahead of the other guys and the news ones will step up. My guess is Ryan Broyles will get fifteen touches a game, one way or another.
Buckle up folks. As bad as last year was in Norman, could they do a 180 and get back on track? August optimism says it’s possible.