Wide receiver Trey Franks #2 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs in the first half of the college football game against the Tulsa Hurricanes on September 3, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma leads Tulsa 30-7 at the half. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Slow down just a little bit and scoot back from the ledge. Yes, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops suspended four players indefinitely on Wednesday night and yes, three of them were receivers but this is a far cry from being any sort of college football Armageddon for the Sooners.
The rise of Trey Metoyer, proving that he's game ready this spring, makes this blow much easier to absorb. He and Kenny Stills have the outside receiver spots locked up and when you add Courtney Gardner's 6-3/215 frame into the mix then you have a very solid trio of receivers to start with. Stills is Oklahoma's most experienced receiver and now his leadership is needed more than ever as he is the only receiver left on the roster that has caught a pass in an OU football game. Since coaches cannot monitor summer workouts it'll be up to Stills to act as a player/coach for the youngsters.
Metoyer looked like a man among boys at times this spring by literally catching everything that was in the general area of his hands. A strong case could have already have been made that Gardner was more of a key to success in 2012 than Jaz Reynolds was. Last year he averaged 18 yards per reception while hauling in 61 passes for 1,099 yards and 13 touchdowns at Sierra Community College.
Where Jaz Reynolds was going to thrive was in isolation coverage when Stills, Metoyer and Gardner drew double coverages. While the suspension is "indefinite" we actually should assume the worse case here because this isn't Reynolds' first time to cross Bob Stoops but it certainly could be his last. Kameel Jackson had already announced that he was leaving the program so his suspension really has no bearing on 2012.
Oklahoma signed Oklahoma signed five receivers in the 2012 recruiting class and they were all looking to threaten Trey Franks' playing time. My bet is that Durron Neal's 6-1/195 frame and 4.4 speed makes him a natural fit at the slot which is where Reynolds and Franks would be playing out of the slot in a four-receiver set.
The area where the losses of Reynolds and Franks is going to hurt the most is in the area of depth. Oklahoma must stay healthy! Sterling Shepard and Derrick Woods provide bodies behind the top four receivers but you just hope that the Sooners aren't forced into using them due to an injury.
Sophomore Quentin Hayes was slated to back up Javon Harris at the strong safety position. His departure puts more pressure on Gabe Lynn to quickly transition into the safety position and be ready to be called upon at any moment.
The bottom line is that Stills, Metoyer and Gardner are all capable of drawing the double-team and Jaz Reynolds wasn't. Whoever replaced Reynolds must be ready to make and immediate impact and get the offense clicking quickly.
If the suspensions hold up into the season then the Sooners may have lost a lot in terms of bodies but when it comes to the product on the field they didn't lose much at all.