ARLINGTON TX - DECEMBER 04: Wide receiver Kenny Stills #4 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs the ball to the one yard line against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Big 12 Championship at Cowboys Stadium on December 4 2010 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
A position that was deemed as a potential weakness a couple of weeks ago just might be one of the significant strengths of the Sooner offense this fall. Bob Stoops tried to calm the masses by stating that Oklahoma would be just fine at receiver but since practice has begun its the receivers themselves who have been doing the talking with their level of play. There's no doubt that the receiver corps was boosted by the addition of Penn State receiver Justin Brown but there's also a few other things that we do and don't know about OU's receiver.
What We Know
Until the arrival of Justin Brown, Kenny Stills was the most experienced receiver on the staff. Not only that, he was the only receiver who had caught a pass at the major college football level. That's why the addition of Brown holds so much value. Not only do the Sooners add a quality receiver to roster but they also get an experienced veteran.
Stills has welcomed the role of a leader. He was unprepared to be thrust into the position as Oklahoma's go-to guy last year when Ryan Broyles went down. Now, a year older, Stills has taken the young guys under his wing. He ran the summer workouts for the freshmen, making it his personal responsibility to teach them the routes, and has set the bar high for both himself and the receiver corps as a whole.
Trey Metoyer is a play-maker waiting for the big stage. He was the star of the spring and remained steady so far this summer. His arrival to Norman was much anticipated and by all appearances it may have been well worth the wait for OU fans.
Sterling Shepard will play as a true freshman. Josh Heupel says that he gets off the line of scrimmage as good as any freshman receiver he's ever coached. He'll most likely make an impact in the kickoff return game but he'll also be on the field with the offense as well.
What We Don't Know
How significant of an impact the suspensions will have. Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks are back on the team but only to practice. For obvious reasons it would benefit Oklahoma to have Reynolds on the field but according to Coach Stoops that's not going to happen anytime soon.
The status of Jalen Saunders. Oklahoma held a scrimmage over the weekend and reports are that Saunders was a star. It shouldn't be that big of a surprise as his all-conference status in the WAC last year proved that he's a baller. The problem is that unless a waiver comes from the NCAA then Saunders will have to sit out a year due to the transfer rule.
If Lacolton Bester is a game changer. You don't recruit JUCO guys to come fill roster space or to take time to develop. You bring in JUCO's to fill a void in the roster and get on the field. Bester was brought in just for that but the emergence of Shepard and the addition of Brown may push him back down the depth chart a bit.
Where the tight ends fit in. Taylor McNamara is next in line to be Oklahoma's star tight end but he's young and raw, as is Sam Grant. Brannon Green is a blocking type tight end and at this point Geneo Grissom seems to be a project with promise.
What the receivers look like against competition. Aside from Stills the only team that we've seen Oklahoma's receivers catch a pass against is...well...Oklahoma. What will we see when the game lights come on?
How It All Comes Together
This is a big year for quarterback Landry Jones but his success hinges squarely on the shoulders of the guys he'll be throwing the ball to. There is a lot of talent on Oklahoma's roster but the scary thing is that most of it is unproven and still in the "potential" category among the receivers.
The receivers are having a great camp and seem to be developing within the offense with good chemistry. However, with many fans the jury is still out until they see the product on the field. I think that even the strongest optimist would say that's fair.