There's no doubt that the Oklahoma Sooners coaching staff continues to bring in talent on the both sides of the ball. When the fans appear to have lost all hope, an unheralded name rises to the occasion. The defensive front of the 2013 season provides the perfect case study. However, it is the offense providing many of the question marks that remain unanswered at this point in time.
With the departure of Trey Millard, Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch a rather large void can be found in the backfield. The aforementioned players combined for a total of 1,954 yards on the ground producing roughly 94.5% of the output from the backs. This leaves a mere 153 yards of experience on the roster heading into next season. Fortunately for Oklahoma, ball carriers have become relatively easy to find thanks to the efforts and reputation of position coach, Cale Gundy.
Looking at possible replacements, Keith Ford jumps to the front of the line. As the most experienced back on the roster, Ford recorded 23 carries for 134 yards and an average of 5.8 yards per carry throughout his freshman campaign. Behind him, Alex Ross tallied up three carries for 19 yards. But, the dark horse candidate, David Smith, is giving the favorites a run for their money. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone. Who will accept the challenge this Spring and become the "go to" guy before the arrival Joe Mixon?
Secondly, the Sooners desperately need to find playmakers at the wide receiver position as well. Averaging 199.1 yards per game through the air a year ago, the coaching staff loses 143.1 yards of production per game due to departures. Once again, much like at the RB position, Co-Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell has a tendency to reload.
Undeniably, Sterling Shepard proved his worth. Although the talented receiver will miss the Spring Game due to a hamstring injury, Shepard has clinched a starting starting role leaving the other WR spots up for grabs. Names like Durron Neal (who will also miss the Spring Game), Dannon Cavil, Jordan Smallwood, and Derrick Woods are expected to compete for playing time. However, don't sleep on K.J. Young at this point either.
With a few key players sitting out on Saturday, the door is wide open for players to make an impact heading into the summer. Regardless, the pressing issue lies in finding playmakers on this Oklahoma offense. Who will rise to the occasion and potentially earn a starting role?