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2007 Football Team Preview

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Players report this week and Meet the Team Day is Friday. I'm going to go ahead and call it, "Its football season!" That said it is now time to begin the 2007 Season Preview. We'll begin with a brief team overview.

Last Year's Record: 11-3

Last Year's Summary: After dismissing starting quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman JD Quinn just days before the Sooners started camp, Oklahoma rebounded from a 3-2 start to the season to win eight games in a row and capture the Big 12 Championship. The biggest story of the season was Paul Thompson who converted from a receiver back to quarterback, after Bomar was dismissed, and led Oklahoma to the conference title without Adrian Peterson for 7 of the 8 games in the winning streak.

Returning Starters: The Sooners return seven starters on offense and seven on defense. Among the returning starters are last season's leading receiver Malcolm Kelly (62 rec., 993 yards., 10 TDs) and free safety Nic Harris who led the team in interceptions and had 68 total tackles.

Players to Watch This Season: Other than the players mentioned above freshman running back DeMarco Murray is going to turn some heads early and often and in my opinion will replace Allen Patrick as the starter by season's end.

On the defensive side of the ball tackle Gerald McCoy, another freshman, will insert himself as a force in the middle reminding Sooner fans of another young defensive tackle named Tommie Harris. Middle linebacker Mike Reed will bring nastiness back to the linebacking corps with amazing speed and vicious hitting. Cornerback Reggie Smith will team up with free safety Nic Harris to comprise one of the best defensive backfields in the country.

Offensive Strengths: Initially, and most likely all season long, the running game will be Oklahoma's most dangerous weapon. Oklahoma will have possibly the best offensive line in the conference and the Sooners' stable of running backs is the deepest in the conference with four guys who could be starting. Demarco Murray is going to be a star. Allen Patrick averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season. Chris Brown and Mossis Madu will also look to make the most of every opportunity they get as well.

Offensive Weaknesses: Because of uncertainty at quarterback you would have to say that position is the weakness. The receiving threats are there with Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias along with tight ends Joe Jon Finley and Jermaine Gresham. The question is who will get the ball to those guys?

Defensive Strengths: As usual the Sooner defense will be good this year. The strength will be in the secondary where pre-season All - Conference selection Reggie Smith is moving back to his natural position on the corner. On the other side Marcus Walker appears to be as healthy as he has been since his freshman season giving Oklahoma the potential to lock-down both sides of the field. Free safety Nic Harris will be all over the field and has the big play potential that the Sooners haven't had at that position since the Roy Williams days.

Defensive Weaknesses: Defensive end is the question mark for Oklahoma. Alonzo Dotson and John Williams bring experience as seniors but the Sooners rotate their linemen meaning sophomore Auston English and freshman Jeremy Beal are going to have to grow up very quickly.

2007 Season Summary: In my opinion the 2007 season hinges on two games, Miami (September 8th) and Texas in Dallas (October 6th). If the Sooners walk away victorious in both of those contest then they will be in the national title hunt.

The storylines of the season will be the development of a new quarterback along with the continued tradition of producing NFL caliber running backs.

Games of the Year: Miami - September 8th, Texas - October 6th, Oklahoma State - November 24th

2007 Projected Record: 11-1

S. 1 North Texas     w
S. 8 Miami        L
S. 15 Utah State     W
S. 21 @ Tulsa         W
S. 29 @ Colorado     W
O. 6 Texas         W
O. 13 Missouri         W
O. 20 @ Iowa State     W
N. 3 Texas A&M             W
N. 10 Baylor         W
N. 17 @ Texas Tech     W
N. 24 Oklahoma State     W
D. 1 Missouri     W * Conference Championship Game

2007 Projected Bowl: FedEx Orange Bowl