Each and every week, the Oklahoma Sooners rely on a few key players to set the tone. With that in mind, Matt and I sat down to discuss which players need to step up and perform against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane this Saturday. However, we went ahead and took it one step further as well by adding our bold predictions.
- Keith Ford - Of the group, Ford showed off a versatility the other backs did not. With soft hands coming out of the backfield, this kid lead the Sooners in receiving yards last week. A powerful runner, Ford will once again be called upon to perform and is a much needed addition in the passing game. Remember this kid had a big game against Tulsa last year.
- Durron Neal - We know what we have in Sterling Shepard but we're not quite sure what we have behind him. Who is going to be that guy next to him? Neal is the next closes candidate to filling that role.
- Julian Wilson - Oklahoma must shut down the quick passing attack and force Dane Evans to hold on to the ball for a few extra seconds. This game will test the secondary and especially Wilson who has moved over to cornerback and remains largely untested. Hopefully the Sooners are able to make the swing pass Evans' friend. This allows the speed of the defense to stretch the play making the tackle at the sideline instead of somewhere downfield. Wilson can't get lost in coverage
- Jordan Evans - Big 12 officials came out and said Evans did nothing wrong. However, he does not get that game back nor does he get an apology. This is his first full game now and he is going to have some big responsibilities as an inside linebacker - to fill the gap, to read the quarterback or running back on the zone read plays, etc - so Evans will need to produce.
- All three running will eclipse the 100 yard mark on Saturday against the subpar rushing defense of Tulsa.
- Samaje Perine - The freshman had a great showing in his first outing as a Sooner. Currently the backs look to be able to carry the offense and will see more than their fair share of carries. Perine has the potential to be a power back but needs to continue to build on his recent success.
- K.J. Young - Needless to say, the receivers group blocked exceptionally well but needs to pick up the production. Game one was chalked up to be a rotation of building depth and experience in game situations...at least in my opinion. Now, the coaching staff wants to see a solid rotation before the conference schedule hits. With the precedent set at the slot receiver spot, Young is being counted on. Hopefully he steps up to take some of the attention away from the only proven wideout in Shepard.
- Zack Sanchez - If Oklahoma wants to shut down the passing game it starts with Sanchez. After making plays all over the field in the home opener, this cornerback needs to shut down his receiver while taking him away as an option in the passing game. If Sanchez is capable of pulling this off it opens things up for the guys up front as well as the safety Ahmad Thomas.
- Eric Striker - The Tulsa passing game had quite a bit of success against Tulane. Now, Striker steps into the picture as an elite pass rusher. Getting pressure on Dane Evans will be crucial and it starts with Striker.
- Eric Striker will set a career high in sacks against Tulsa.