The Sooners put their running backs on display last weekend against Louisiana Tech but Oklahoma fans were left asking who the receiver threats were? Junior Sterling Shepard returned as Oklahoma's leading receiver but the need to surround him with other options still seemed apparent after week one. Those questions seem to be fading a bit after Saturday's 52-7 win over the Golden Hurricane.
Shepard was spectacular again on Saturday, hauling in eight catches for a career-high 177 yards and a score. However, eleven other passes were distributed between Durron Neal, K.J. Young, and Blake Bell, with Neal getting the Lion's share at 6 catches for 70 yards. K.J. Young caught 3 passes for 18 yards and Bell had two catches for 10 yards and a score. The important thing is that there were options on the field with a total of eight players catching at least on pass.
Junior Durron Neal averaged 11.7 yards per reception and ran strong with the ball in his hands. With the trio of backs that Oklahoma is going to put on the field the Sooners won't need to go three to four deep in guys who can break the game open on any given pass play. They need two guys who can stretch the field and a couple of guys who can be possession receivers to keep a defense from overloading the box to stop the run. It appears as if they have that.
Shepard and Neal could easily be the stretch the field guys with Bell and K.J. Young being the possession guys taking the shorter routes. Freshman Dimitri Flowers also caught two passes for 24 yards.
Oklahoma's running backs didn't necessarily have an off day though. Alex Ross, Keith Ford, and Samaje Perine combined two chew up 210 yards on the ground and scored three times. Ross and Ford averaged 18 and 8.7 yards per person respectively with Ross only getting five carries.
The only beef with the offense on Saturday was the offensive line who had more mental errors than they did in the opening week. Still nothing to be discouraged over though.
Quarterbacks - Trevor Knight was 21/34 for 299 yards and two scores. He also had 35 rushing yards and another score in leading the Sooners offense. Backup Cody Thomas made his Oklahoma football debut, going 3/4 for 20 yards. Overall Grade: A
Running Backs - Alex Ross showed off his speed on an 82-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and Keith Ford averaged 8.7 yards per carry on ten attempts. Samaje Perine wasn't able to break free like he did last week but he still managed 3.3 yards per carry on ten attempts. The entire body of work among the three is impressive though. Overall Grade: A+
Receivers and TE's - These two units needed this game and they took advantage of the opportunity. Two receiving touchdowns among them, and average of 13.3 yards per reception and some really good/clean blocks for the rushing attack. Overall Grade: A+
Offensive Line - Again, you have to look at the overall body of work and credit the o-line for paving the way. The team averaged 8.4 yards per rush and 8.4 yards per pass. In all the Sooners posted 580 yards of total offense and 52 points. Overall Grade: A+