With all due respect to Kenny Stills, Landry Jones and Roy Finch the Oklahoma offense needs Ryan Broyles. The same is true for the Sooner linebackers. There are some talented lining up behind the defensive line. Austin Box's return to the starting lineup changed the course of the Season for OU. That said, Oklahoma needs Travis Lewis on defense. The last time these two played in a BSC championship game they were talented freshmen playing on the biggest stage of their lives. Now they're committed to leading the Sooners back as senior leaders.
"We've got a chance to have a very good team next season and I really want to be part of that. I like the guys on the team and the coaches, and feel like there is more we can accomplish. Being at OU means a lot to me, it's a great environment." - Ryan Broyles
Even without Broyles and Lewis the Sooners would be favorites to win the Big 12 next season. Now that they are committed to return for their senior seasons Oklahoma is a legitimate player in the national championship race. Both players bring a plethora of talent to the team. In 2010 Ryan Broyles led the team in receptions (131), receiving yards (1,622) and receiving touchdowns (14). Travis Lewis registered 109 tackles in 2010 which makes him the team leader in tackles for the third season in a row. Along with their talent these two also bring the experience and leadership which is vital to all championship teams.
Oklahoma has road trips to Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State next season they must deal with before they can even begin to think BCS championship game. At least two of those opponents (Florida St. & Oklahoma St.) are seeking revenge for crucial losses dealt to them by the Sooners in 2010. Then theres the Red River Shootout o October 8th and we all know how much rides on that game.
"I'm coming back to win a national championship, point blank. Anything else would be a disappointment. That is the main goal. This is a program built on a tradition of championships and I intend on being here for another one." - Travis Lewis
Now when the Sooners go to Tallahassee to face a Seminole defense that finished strong under first year coordinator Mark Stoops, Landry Jones has one of the best receivers in the nation at his disposal. Ryan Broyles makes you know where he is on the field. He makes you scheme and game plan specifically for him. What else he does is make it a little easier for guys like Kenny Stills and Roy Finch to do their jobs. Both Stills and Finch are going to be outstanding players once their time is up at Oklahoma but neither are the game breaker that Broyles is just yet. With the attention Ryan Broyles will draw from defenses in 2011 he'll help these two become absolute stars.
On the other side of the ball Travis Lewis brings continuity to a defense that will return eight starters. Oklahoma must replace players in the secondary and on the defensive line but the linebackers return intact. His track record as a secure tackler and a defender with a knack of finding the ball. He knows the in's and out's of Brent Venables' defense. There may not be a better player suited to get the defense lined up and call out the assignments than Lewis. He's just about seen it all and has been a part of defenses that have won Big 12 championships, played for BCS championships and won back-to-back bowl games.
The 2010 season was special for the Sooners but with a total of 17 returning starters taking the field for Oklahoma next season there is a significant chance they could be playing for something more than a Big 12 championship. They've got the talent to play with anyone in the country and with Broyles and Lewis returning they've also got experienced leadership that could be the key to number eight.