Originally Published: Oct 9, 2009 2:25 PM CDT
Sam Bradford told OU coach Bob Stoops this morning he wants to play. And so he’ll start tomorrow at home against Baylor. The injured right shoulder has improved to the degree that he obviously believes he can make enough throws to be effective. More importantly, he clearly doesn’t believe re-injuring his throwing shoulder is not any more of a concern than it was before the injury.
Bradford’s return does several things, including:
-Rejuvenate teammates who could easily slumber through a game against a well-prepared and coached Baylor team. Who in their right mind would not be less than energized to be playing a team no one feels has a chance to beat you seven days before the previously-promoted Game of the Year?
-Allow Bradford to get snaps under his belt before Texas. Even Bradford would suffer from being out since Game 1 until starting Kindle and Kompany in the eyeballs next week in the Cotton Bowl. Bradford and his teammates need to have him back in the huddle coordinate things, getting back into game-mode with his cadence, checks and pre-snap reads. He’s done most of this in practice, but practice snaps vs. snaps when the band’s playing are two things.
-Help establish continuity with receivers with whom he’s played one half of one game. And that one half in the BYU loss was not exactly reminiscent of the record-setting offense of 2008. I look for WR Cameron Kenney to be the new go-to-guy who is capable of making big plays as his superstar TE and slot stand on the sidelines watching. This Bradford/Kenney connection could be the key to the Sooners having a chance in Dallas and a chance the rest of the year. Kenney has raw tools including a burst after catch that give him a chance to be the player who’s heretofore been MIA.
-Give Bradford a true gauge of where he is with his arm strength, ability to make throws instantaneously after working through his progression and how it will respond to a three and a half hours of game day conditions.
-Provide his coaches a true reading of the same. They may have to adjust play-calling in this game depending on his status and may have to re-evaluate some of the things planned for the Texas game.
-Proving Bradford could not care less what the media and public think. Most of that group have written and stated that coming back would not make sense.
-His decision is bound to juice many depressed Sooner fans with a Texas game looming that not many people around feel worse about than any big game in memory. Nothing like touchdowns and a big win to turn a what-have-you-done-for-me lately world. But I don’t see how even Sam Bradford will help offensive teammates transform their performances from average at best to championship caliber football.
-The biggest thing Bradford’s decision to play again tomorrow means Saturday will be a lot more fun and interesting for many of us. No one wanted to remember Bradford’s last play as a Sooner to be the re-run after re-run after re-run tackle from behind in the devastating BYU loss.
And maybe he feels the same way.