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Sooner Game Day Links

SI.Com Saturday Morning Splurge – The 10 Storylines To Watch As College Football Arrives

• Have injuries leveled the field in Oklahoma-BYU? Don't expect the BYU game to mark the beginning of another Heisman-winning or 50-touchdown season from Sam Bradford. Not when he's playing behind a line featuring four new starters, and not with his favorite target, All-America tight end Jermaine Gresham nursing an injured knee. BYU, though, must contend with injury and o-line concerns of its own ... and the concern of facing a stout Sooners' D.

 Fox Sports – BYU Football: Cougars Play Low-Key

To that end, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, when addressing his team, has been trying to put this game in perspective. While Mendenhall and the Cougars are eager to make a splash nationally, the coach is preaching that regardless of what happens against the Sooners, this one game doesn't make or break the season.

The Salt Lake Tribunee – Is Oklahoma BYU’s Best Opponent Ever?

When BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae learned the Cougars would open the 2009 season against Oklahoma in Cowboys Stadium, his first thought wasn't about OU stars such as quarterback Sam Bradford, running backs DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown or lineman Trent Williams.

Anae's mind quickly raced back to the days when he faced the Sooners as Texas Tech's offensive line coach from 2000-2004.

"The Oklahoma defense," Anae said. "Is second to none. It was like that then, and it is now. I view it as a great opportunity, and a great challenge, for any offense to start a season off against that defense."

Star-TelegramOklahoma Sooners’ Ryan Reynolds Back Again To Lead The Defense

 Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander says middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds is the heart of the defense.

"He kind of gets everybody going," Alexander said. "Now he’s stronger than ever and that’s going to make our defense stronger than ever."

Weakside linebacker Travis Lewis said Reynolds is also the answer man.

"He knows the defenses almost as well as [coordinator Brent Venables]," Lewis said. "No matter the position, he can answer the question.

"He’s a big security blanket for everybody."

Philly.Com – Games Of The Week

No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 20 BYU, 7 p.m., ESPN: The Sooners and Sam Bradford help Jerry Jones welcome NCAA football to his new Dallas Cowboys playpen.

The Birmingham News – 5 Things To Watch In Football Nationally

4. BYU vs. Oklahoma. The Sooners will be without all-American tight end Jermaine Gresham (14 TD catches in 2008). If his knee injury causes him to sit out a while, it would be devastating to Oklahoma's offense. BYU always has an explosive passing offense. But I like the Sooners' defense to carry the offense for a little while this year and win 24-10.

Tulsa World – OU Notebook

Jermaine Gresham's absence from Saturday's Oklahoma-BYU game shouldn't have too big of an effect on the center position. Former tight end Brody Eldridge should start and snap the ball the majority of the time, leaving OU observers to continue to wonder whether the 265-pound Eldridge is heavy enough for his new spot.

Tulsa World – OU Aware Of ‘Wow’ Factor

NORMANOklahoma assistant Jackie Shipp tells his defensive tackles, "No matter where you play, it's still a football game, playing in front of 10 people or 10,000 people. You've still got to go down there and handle your business."

Starting defensive tackle Adrian Taylor gets that. But he's also from Mansfield, Texas, and the home in which he grew up is 10 minutes from Cowboys Stadium, the $1.15 billion colossus that will host Saturday night's OU-BYU season opener.

Deseret NewsOklahoma Has Big Talent Edge

Game films don't lie.

They reaffirm and confirm but don't hide truth.

That's why, watching films of the Oklahoma football team this past offseason, veteran BYU linebacker coach Barry Lamb witnessed over and over again what NCAA statistics clearly show — the 2008 Sooners, led by Heisman Trophy quarterback Sam Bradford, were something special.

Asked about his Oklahoma film sessions, Lamb put it this way: "They don't make you laugh."

Denton Record Chronicle – Habern To Play On Big Stage With Sooners

When Oklahoma runs on to the field tonight to face BYU, a group of friends and family will look down and recognize a familiar frame -- Sooner offensive lineman Ben Habern.

But when Habern looks up into the stands just before the 6 p.m. kickoff at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the former Liberty Christian standout will see a whole different scene that he was used to while playing private school football.

Austin American Statesman – Around The Big 12

Notes: This will be first college game played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and the Sooners will be looking for a strong start against a quality foe after losing the national title game last season. The big question for Oklahoma is whether it can remain a steamroller on offense while replacing four starting offensive linemen. DT Gerald McCoy anchors a unit with nine returning starters. For BYU, this is the kind of game that could draw the respect coach Bronco Mendenhall has been seeking while winning at least 10 games three straight years. But the Cougars also are replacing most of their offensive line and QB Max Hall needs a new favorite target now that record-setting receiver Austin Collie is in the NFL.

Deseret NewsTonga Feeling Eager, Optimistic About Opener

The last time fullback Manase Tonga suited up for BYU was in December, 2007, in the Cougars' 17-16 victory over UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Tonga will take the field for the Cougars tonight against No. 3 Oklahoma, eager to make the most of his second chance.

"I'm anxious. I can't wait," said the senior from San Mateo, Calif., who was ruled academically ineligible and missed the 2008 season. "I don't know if excited is the right word because I've been out for so long. I'm ready to roll and it's going to be a lot of fun. It's a good way to come back, against one of the top teams in the nation. I wouldn't want it any other way."