September 1, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops during the second quarter against the UTEP Miners at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE
The season opener for Oklahoma left many fans wanting more. Regardless of if the coaches were satisfied, it never fails that Oklahoma's fan base must have championships and nothing less. At the first sign of trouble, many are very vocal about the displeasures. With all that was the Oklahoma vs UTEP game, there are a is are two major things Sooner fans can realistically expect in this game...a win as well as the two-deep seeing plenty of time on the field. On the flip side of the argument is the fact that Oklahoma has rarely gone to the back-ups. One will prevail on Saturday as the Oklahoma Sooners take on the Florida A&M Rattlers.
Last night on the Sooner Nation Podcast, we delved into the conversation of how long the starters would remain in the game. Let's take a step backward and think about what happened against UTEP.
- Landry Jones seemed a click off with his receivers.
- The receivers lack significantly in running crisp routes which doesn't help Jones' timing. But, Trey Metoyer also lost where he was on the field while stepping out of bounds before catching what would have been his first career touchdown.
- Picking up the blitz was something the running backs had trouble with. However, the offensive line wasn't doing them many favors either with the lackluster blocking for the running game at times.
- The UTEP pass rush made their living in the backfield while getting pressure on the QB time and time again. This does not signify that Oklahoma has a subpar offensive line. Instead what it showed was that the shuffle of players contributed to the unit lacking consistency. Again, the O-Line is dependent upon the group and not so much a single player.
- Oklahoma's front seven struggled to limit and contain the run. If the Sooners hope to play for championships this season, the D-Line is an area that needs improvement.
Where does that leave us after what we saw last week? The general consensus was that the starters needed to play into the third quarter. While that is the expectation, it doesn't mean the two-deep won't need to show they are capable of producing. Here is a quick list of players I'd expect to see hit the field to gain valuable experience that will benefit this team down the road.
The Entire Two-Deep Along The O-Line - Last week, due to the game being closer than many would have anticipated, the Sooners weren't able to get a few of the younger guys in. Against UTEP, a rotation of seven offensive linemen were used. That number will need to increase as the season progresses.
Durron Neal, Sterling Shepard, LaColton Bester - Neal, Shepard, and Metoyer are the future of the Oklahoma receivers. While all three were used sparingly last Saturday, they should become a bigger part of the offense this weekend.
Shepard is a kid that his teammates have raved about with comparison to Ryan Broyles but the fans have yet to see what he is capable of in real speed. On the other hand, Bester is a big body and a JUCO transfer that should come in handy in creating mismatches against the secondary.
Jordan Phillips - Yes, Phillips did receive adequate playing time on the defensive line. But, as we all know, the defensive tackle is not as easy a postion to learn as some like to think. As a redshirt freshman, Phillips has been dubbed as the most athletic lineman on the team. He will need to flex his muscle this weekend while showing he has a good grasp on the positon behind converted DE, David King.
Casey Walker will return to the team on Monday and I would hope that means King slides back over. If that does occur, Chuka Ndulue becomes the backup DE while Phillips will remain on the two-deep.
Rashod Favors, Charles Tapper, Michael Onuoha - R.J. Washington and Chuka Ndulue are great options but will need a breather here and there. In the Big XII, getting pressure on the QB is key as this is a pass happy league. These three are more than capable talent wise to shed blockers and live in the backfield. The Sooners will count on these youngsters to help charge the defensive line and take some pressure off the secondary.
Casey Walker will return to the team on Monday and I would hope that King slides back over. If that does occur, Ndulue becomes the backup while the