TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates as he walks off the field after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 30, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sooners defeated the Hawkeyes 31-14. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
As a part of this way too early preview series, we've given you a look at all the individual offensive positions (QB, RB, WR, & OL) but the original goal of this was to look at the respective units as a whole. So that's what we're going to try and do here in more of a summarized/broad overview approach.
The plan is to do so via a projected two deep depth chart for the offense as well as some general thoughts on the the respective individual positions and players at those positions.
If you're anything like we are and finding any possible excuse to keep thinking/talking about OU football, get your fix after the jump.
First, we'll give you our projected depth chart. Then we'll get into some of the specifics of guys you do see included or some you may not. As always, if you don't see something you thought you might or think we missed something post it in the comments and we'll gladly address it. (Ed. note - the year of each player listed is what they will be at the start of next season)
Drew Allen or
Now we'll give you some random thoughts in no real order of relevance.
For me, even with Landry, that is not an offense that can win us #8. But that goes with my belief that we're not a legit national championship squad next year. You're looking at some pretty serious "issues" at TE, RB, maybe WR, and if Landry does leave a big time question mark at QB.
Based on some comments, I guess Matt doesn't agree that it's likely Landry comes back. He's obviously got his reasons for thinking so, but I'm of the opinion that he'll be back so the QB depth chart remains unchanged. You may or may not have caught it, but in Stoops' comments the day after the bowl game he said that he didn't expect Bell's package of plays to increase if Landry comes back next year. I for one hope that was just coach speak or Stoops sticking up for Landry (like he did when he said Landry should have been the offensive MVP and not Bell), because if that is true it would be a really stupid decision IMO.
So much to my surprise, looking at that above, the unit I feel the most positive about would be the offensive line I believe. I guess with the exception of left tackle just because of the inexperience, but they could play around with Daryl Williams at left tackle and Lane Johnson at right. But an experienced returning line that could excel in both the run and pass game would be a great foundation to build this offense on in 2012.
Four true freshman on the two deep. Wow. Now admittedly, we might have given a couple of them the benefit of the doubt (Neal/Shepard), but at the same time their inclusion isn't some great reach either. I still think both will be too good to redshirt and I'd almost guarantee you Neal, even as a true frosh, plays some kind of role in the return game.
We included Musil over Aaron Ripkowski at the backup FB spot just because the talk surrounding Rip's injury sounded pretty serious (no clue why Stoops hasn't just come out yet and specified what it is if for no other reason to put the speculation to rest). We're hopeful he can come back next year, or just play football again at some point, but there is no doubt the coaches will be extra careful with him so as not to rush him back.
In my opinion, the RB position, at this point, is a pretty serious cause for concern. Look, I love Whaley just like all of you, but he'll be coming back from a pretty significant injury. Granted it's better that he didn't tear up his knee, but making a return from that broken ankle will still present a substantial challenge. Behind him is Clay who, while he looked improved during the Insight Bowl, still does not instill a great deal of confidence in OU fans. Then you have Roy Finch who either can't find a consistent role in this offense, the coaches can't figure out how to most effectively use him in this offense, or some combination of both. You've also got an incoming true freshman who was the top player in the state of OK and one of the highest rated RBs in the class of 2012. I still think OU signs a JUCO RB (they have offers out to several) to try and come in and play right away.
I can't wait to see what these WRs coming in can do, but looking at that depth chart this offense really needs Jaz Reynolds to be able to play next year.