Coming into the 2011 season, expectations are riding high not only from the fans but also from the players. Some players are looking to have a breakout season while others are looking to have a repeat performance and dominate the rest of the field. However one question still remains. We have Landry Jones returning along with his favorite target Ryan Broyles on offense, but who is going to step up and attempt to fill the shoes of now Dallas Cowboy DeMarco Murray? In the past few seasons, the Oklahoma Sooners have had a high powered offense and nothing is about to change that. However, the running game had more experience than the committee we are looking at installing as the new rushing attack. While Brandon Williams enrolled early and participated in spring practice, we have not seen him play a single snap on the collegiate level. Brennan Clay suffered and injury against Florida St. and seemed to remain shaken up throughout the remainder of the season. And Roy Finch came into the season with an injury yet was able to see some action regardless if he was 100% or not. Many people were beginning to think that Finch could be the next Heisman winner for Oklahoma but he is a mere 5'8 170lb tailback. What people saw from Finch was an exciting style of play that reminded fans of Quentin Griffin however, no one is sure that he will be able to absorb all the hits with his smaller frame and come through as a feature back.
The formula composing this ranking consists of a QB, a RB, and a WR. No doubt in my mind that if we turned into a QB/WR/WR trio, Oklahoma would find themselves sitting atop this list but such is not the case. Looking at the list most of the teams are in the same predicament that Oklahoma is in: two proven players and one that has potential star power but lacks experience or is simply just young. With two out of the three pieces solidified, where does this trio rank nationally as well as in the Big XII? (I was taken a little off guard after first seeing where Oklahoma was ranked and then knocked off my rocker seeing who took the #1 spot!) Without any further ado, here are the top five 2011 offensive trios according to Rivals.com!
5. OKLAHOMA The triplets: QB Landry Jones, TB Roy Finch, WR Ryan Broyles
The buzz: Jones and Broyles are primed for huge seasons. Jones threw for 4,718 yards and 38 TDs last season, when Broyles had 131 receptions for 1,622 yards and 14 TDs. The question is who gets the bulk of the carries. Finch was effective in spot duty as a true freshman last season, but his lack of size (5 feet 8/173 pounds) makes folks wonder if he can be the feature back. Five-star RB Brandon Williams went through spring practice, and expectations are huge for him.
4. OKLAHOMA STATE The triplets: QB Brandon Weeden, TB Joseph Randle, WR Justin Blackmon
The buzz: As with their in-state rival, the Cowboys also have a great pass-catch duo. Weeden threw for 4,277 yards and 34 TDs last season, when Blackmon was the nation's best receiver; Blackmon had 111 receptions for 1,782 yards and 20 TDs. As with the Sooners, the Cowboys are looking for a new starting tailback. Randle, who ran for 452 yards last season as a freshman, will be the guy, at least at the start of the season. He also was quite effective as a receiver, with 37 catches.
3. HOUSTON The triplets: QB Case Keenum, RB Bryce Beall, WR Patrick Edwards
The buzz: Keenum suffered a torn ACL in Game 3 and missed the rest of the season. He is expected back in the starting lineup this fall and should put up huge numbers in this offense. He threw for 5,671 yards and 44 TDs in 2009. Edwards, a senior, has 202 career receptions, for 2,755 yards and 23 TDs; he suffered a gruesome injury as a freshman when he ran into a cart at the back of the Marshall end zone. Beall shared carries last season but still ran for 870 yards and 12 TDs; he likely will share carries again this season, with Michael Hayes and Charles Sims. Sims was the 2009 C-USA freshman of the year but missed last season for academic reasons.
2. OHIO STATE The triplets: QB Terrelle Pryor, RB Dan Herron, WR DeVier Posey
The buzz: This group would be No. 1 if not for the five-game suspension each faces at the beginning of the season. Pryor may not have lived up to all the hype, but he is a good quarterback who has thrown for 6,177 yards and 57 TDs and rushed for another 2,164 yards and 17 TDs in his career. Herron ran for 1,155 yards and 16 TDs last season. Posey is a big-time deep threat who would be quite scary in an offense that threw the ball more. He has 124 career receptions for 1,793 yards and 16 TDs.
1. TEXAS A&M The triplets: QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Cyrus Gray, WR Jeff Fuller
The buzz: A&M was on this list last season - but with a different quarterback. Jarrod Johnson ended up losing his job to Tannehill midway through last season, and A&M really took off after that. Gray shared carries with Christine Michael last season, and they will do so again this season. It wouldn't be a surprise to see those two combine for around 2,000 yards. Fuller is overshadowed in the Big 12 by Blackmon and Broyles, but he still is one of the top 10 receivers nationally. He is coming off a 72-catch, 1,066-yard, 12-TD performance in 2010.