With 83 catches for 1,157 total yards, there is no doubt that Ryan Broyles was an integral part of this Oklahoma air attack. In other words, there is no replacing who Broyles is as a person as well as what he is capable of as a player. While the receiving corp. has been a strong one all season, there will be a bit of a drop off without fan favorite, Broyles, on the field. Now Landry Jones, also know as Linus from Charlie Brown, will no longer have his safety blanket in the most productive receiver the NCAA has seen in terms of catches and will be forced to look to other options. There are a few out there but, recently we have seen the coaching staff implement a rotation of receivers. However, someone has to start.
The official Sooner Depth Chart was updated yesterday and there are a few clues as to who will try to fill Ryan Broyles rather larger shoes.
Dejuan Miller has been jumped into a starting role. At 6-4 and 217lbs, Miller has been a little bit of a let down this season. The crew here at CCM has talked about his size advantage that should create mismatches for any defensive back trying to cover him. With a physical mentality, Miller is very capable of going up and getting any ball as well as shielding defenders off with his body in order to make a catch. Without Broyles there to take the double team as well as a majority of the focus, how will Miller and Co. respond? Landry Jones will need to build more of a trust level with each receiver and it starts on Saturday against the Baylor Bears. This weekend should provide a solid warm-up and confidence builder seeing as the Bears fans come dressed as empty seats and they refuse to field a defense.
One of the more neglected spots that Broyles filled was as a punt returner. There was always the chance that a special player like Broyles could break one and take it to the house, so who steps up here? It is none other than the new number one receiver in Kenny Stills. Stills has not returned a single punt return in his college career but should have plenty of opportunity to show Oklahoma fans he is every bit capable of being a threat every single time he field as punt. If Oklahoma gets into a game where field position is everything, will Stills be able to stand in the gap and produce? Again, there should be plenty of chances to see in the second half if Oklahoma stays on the streak they are on...shutting down offenses in the second half.
This Saturday, Sooner fans will see a couple of new options and just how this coaching staff plans to pick up the slack now that Broyles is out for the season.