Sure we know who the QB is now, but why is nobody talking about how little we know about the rest of this OU team?
So is anyone else nervous about Saturday night? I mean excited to be sure, but that's a given. I'm talking about being nervous with regard to just how little we know about the 2013 version of Oklahoma football.
One mystery, and a big one at that, was solved this past week when Bob Stoops announced Trevor Knight as the starting quarterback. But outside of that how much do we really know about this football team? And why does it seem like no one is talking about just how little we know?
Maybe it's because with any college team there is going to be a certain degree of unknown simply as a result of the annual turning over of the roster. Maybe it's because we've become so accustomed to the lack of access provided to those outside the program that the unknown that is this OU football team has become the new normal. I suppose ultimately the reason/s are up to the individual.
"If we know so little, what would you expect them to be talking about?", one might ask. Fair question. But isn't speculating about these very type of things one of the primary blogs such as this one exist (and really the Internet in general, at least to some extent)? I'm not necessarily saying it's the most productive use of your time, but if you've already read this far what's another couple hundred more words between friends, right?
Yes, we know the quarterback is going to be. And yes, we know Damien Williams and Brennan Clay are a formidable duo at the running back position. But do we know that an OU offensive line that has struggled to consistently open up running lanes in the past is going to be more successful at doing so in the present?
Do we know whether or not Jalen Saunders is going to be as effective as the team's primary receiving threat without Kenny Stills and Justin Brown to drawn attention away?
Do we know if the coaches are actually going to make Trey Millard a focal part of this offense as we've been told so many times in the past only to never see it happen?
More importantly than any of that, do we have even the slightest clue as to what this offense in general is going to look like? We've heard rumors of the pistol offense after a supposed offseason visit from Chris Ault. We've heard rumors of the quarterback being more involved in the run game. But we've also heard Bob Stoops say on multiple occasions that the offense really isn't going to be much different than last year.
Anyone who knows anything about Stoops knows that is just Bob being Bob as there is just no way this OU offense could remain the same under Trevor Knight as it was under Landry Jones. We all want Josh Heupel to be the successful offensive coordinator/play-caller we thought he would be since the day he was promoted, but this year has to be viewed as a significant test as to whether or not that is ever going to happen (in the minds of some).
This side of the ball is an even bigger mystery.
If it's not rumors during the spring of a possible transition to a 3-4 defense, it's rumors during the fall of a possible 3-3-5 defensive scheme. Or maybe they'll simply stick to their now traditional 4-2-5 formation? All we've heard to this point is that the goal is to be "multiple" which could mean any number of different things.
And how is this team going to generate any pressure on the quarterback? This is a defense that struggled mightily last year to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback and they do not return a single starter who will be playing the same position in 2013. On paper there is talent, but this line is inexperienced at best and the concerns are there for a reason. Maybe they can scheme around some of the problems, but barring multiple guys becoming difference makers is that really something you think they can get away with all season if necessary?
The whole 'linebackers not being on the field/Tim Kish can do no right' meme has pretty much taken on a life of its own, but it's not as though it created itself out of thin air. It exists for a reason and that reason is the 2012 OU defense. It's foolish to assume that Mike Stoops did not learn from the mistakes that were made last year, but at the same time it's fair to question what is being done to correct them. Simply acknowledging a mistake was made doesn't necessarily solve anything. Correcting said mistake and doing everything in your power to prevent it from happening again is what matters and 2013 is Mike Stoops' first opportunity to do just that.
This is also a secondary who lost three players who are all currently on NFL rosters (though if you're reading this a week from now could very easily not be the case). They return a potential All-American in Aaron Colvin, but could also possibly be starting two true freshman to start the season. A secondary that last year covered up for a lot of the aforementioned issues this defense had up front and getting pressure on the quarterback. It would appear on paper as though this defense will not have that same luxury this year, which could put this secondary under even more pressure.
This isn't meant to read as a "Woe, is me. We should just cancel the season." type post, though I'm sure there is a strong chance that it does (especially coming from me). More than it seems like this OU team has more question marks than we're used to and right or wrong I don't feel like enough people are talking about them.
Hopefully we get the answers to a number of our questions on Saturday and in the weeks that will follow. I know I'm excited to find out.
Nervous, but excited.