Keith Ford's Parents Speak Out
There's much speculation on the Keith Ford situation and it sure wouldn't be fair to him for us to jump into that on a public forum. What we do know is that he has been suspended indefinitely from the program and removed from the online roster. What we also know is that he has a support group that appears to include Coach Stoops. In a statement released by the family on Tuesday, they mentioned the support of Stoops along with the fact that they expect their son to return to the team.
I would say that, at this point, the future is still very uncertain for Keith Ford but it looks like he at least has a group of people that are loving and supporting him (as well as continuing to believe in him) through whatever the situation is that he's struggling through.
Impact of Jordan Smallwood's Injury
There are currently sixteen receivers on Oklahoma's football roster and while the news of Smallwood's knee injury was a disappointment it is a long way from being catastrophic. The good news regarding the injury is twofold. First, it happened in the spring and not the fall. This means that Smallwood is looking at missing just a few games as opposed to an entire season. He'll be back in 2015 and that's certainly not something we could have said had the injury occurred in the fall. Secondly, in Lincoln Riley's offense they're going to need to go at least eight deep in the receiving corps. Smallwood is a guy who has been around for a while now (RSophomore) and his absence will allow for others to get more reps to be ready in the fall. Guys like DeDe Westbrook, John Humphrey, and Dallis Todd are going to be needed to come in and be an impact immediately. They need all the reps possible in order to do that. Hate to see anyone suffer an injury but sometimes they can be a blessing in surprise.
Implementation Of The New Offense
Lincoln Riley is changing the offense and he's unapologetic about it. "I said when I got here, and I'll say it again, that we have enough talent to have a good offense," Riley told reporters on Monday evening. His new offense is going to spread the field and use speed but don't think for a minute that it won't be physical and have power. "The guys should be beat up right now," Riley added, "If they're not they aren't playing hard enough." It'll be fun to see the ball slung all over the field but this team lacked physicality on offense last season and, at least based off that last comment, you have to think Riley is making it a priority to change that.
What we do know about the offense is that the players will have a bit more freedom and less thinking. Sterling Shepard said as much on Monday. "Coach Riley simplifies the game for us," Shep said, "so we just play and don't have to think as much."
Durron Neal said that the tempo of the offense is going to pick up. "This offense is very fast, but it's fun," he said. Alex Ross said that they are doing more running in practice now, than they have in his past years, in order to condition for the new offense.
What about the quarterback though? We'll that's a question that's going to remain unanswered for a while. Neal did throw out a bone for Baker Mayfield though when he compared him to an offensive version of Eric Striker. "Baker Mayfield has a lot of juice," Neal said. "He is always hyper. He's like an offensive Eric Striker."