September 1, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; A general view of the Sun Bowl Stadium during the football game between UTEP Miners and Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma won 24-7. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE
We've heard all summer how many members of the Sooners 2012 freshman class would see the field this year. So with many of their possible redshirts hanging in the balance, I thought it would be worthwhile to quickly detail for you which freshmen did and did not play Saturday night against UTEP. It is also something we can use to assess other players, besides just the freshmen, who may or may not have seen the field.
I've talked about this here before, but one of my favorite things to do after every game is to go here on SoonerSports.com and check everyone who actually played in the game. As we're all aware, things happen quickly in the game and as advanced as the television broadcasts have become even they don't catch everything. Many times there are guys playing on special teams that aren't involved in the play, or any plays, and as a result most of us are unaware that they even played in the game.
You may or may not care, but it's something I'm going to check every week regardless so I figured if there is even one of you out there like me then this is for you.
A quick disclaimer: All of this is based on OU's official stats provided via SoonerSports.com. So I'm operating on the assumption that what they have provided is accurate.
Freshman Who Did Play
WR Durron Neal - He played, but did not contribute. Pretty sure he was never even targeted. It's obviously just one game, but I really, really hope this doesn't prove to be a complete waste of a year.
LB Eric Striker - Unless I'm mistaken, his time against UTEP was exclusively on special teams.
TE Taylor McNamara - Targeted one or two times, but certainly nothing to get that excited about.
DE Charles Tapper - After I just got done saying how I was going to trust SoonerSports.com, according to them Tapper didn't play but I know that is incorrect. Based on what I remember, he split a sack late in the game with Rashod Favors but according to the box score that was credited to Chuka Ndulue (which is a mistake in my opinion).
Freshman Who Did Not Play
CB Zack Sanchez - Not a huge shock here.
CB Gary Simon - This one was a surprise, at least to me. The coaches have raved about him, so while he did not play against UTEP I fully expect that to change in the coming weeks.
DE Michael Onuoha - A little surprising as we expected both he and Tapper to play based on the coaches comments.
DT Jordan Wade - No shock as I have said I fully expect the coaches to redshirt him this season.
C Ty Darlington - See Gary Simon.
OL Kyle Marrs - See Jordan Wade.
QB Trevor Knight - Obviously.
RB David Smith - See Jordan Wade.
RB Alex Ross - Damien Williams' big game could be the reason Ross now redshirts this season.
WR Sterling Shepard - This might be another one that is wrong. I know for a fact multiple people said he was in the game, on more than one occasion if I'm not mistaken.
WR Derrick Woods - Almost has to be a redshirt, just too many guys ahead of him.
DT Jordan Phillips - As bad as the defensive tackles were, it is a complete mystery to me how he wasn't given a single snap.
DT Marquis Anderson - See Jordan Phillips (though to a lesser extent).
Upperclassmen Of Note Who Did Not Play
RB Roy Finch - Never saw the field. I heard some say on the radio following the game that he was on the field for kickoff returns, but according to the game participation sheet he never touched the field. More than a little surprising since (1) the OU offense clearly struggled and (2) the coaches had talked specifically about a package of plays centered around him. I read a post game comment from Jay Norvell saying something about Finch having to do better in practice to earn playing time, so there is that.
WR Lacoltan Bester - Another guy I heard people say was at least on the field for that first half closing hail mary throw, but according to the final stats he did not play a single down. Again, surprising given how much praise he drew during fall camp.
Upperclassmen Of Note Who Did Play
DB Julian Wilson (saw some time at nickel back), DB Kass Everett (only special teams, I believe), DB Danzel Williams (also, only special teams), DE Rashod Favors (rotated in regularly at DE), FB Marshall Musil (special teams), LB Aaron Franklin (LB & special teams), FB Jaydan Bird (apparently a fullback now), OL Austin Woods.