We are days away from the season opener against the Akron Zips in Norman, Oklahoma. As usual, Bob Stoops started the week with a press conference to address the upcoming contest. Of the first issues addressed, the Oklahoma Sooners stated Austin Seibert, a true freshman with a strong leg, would take over on field goals and punts. That leaves Nick Hodgson as the kickoff specialist.
Stoops: Austin Seibert has earned the PK and punting jobs #Sooners— Ryan Aber (@ryaber) August 31, 2015
Nick Hodgson will still be the team's kickoff specialist— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) August 31, 2015
In terms of returning punts, Matt and I argued the use of star wide out, Sterling Shepard. We'll likely continue to see Shepard along with a mix of Zack Sanchez but a new name has been thrown into the mix...
Sterling Shepard and Zack Sanchez have been steady as Punt Returners but Mixon may end up taking that over, possibly, Stoops said— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) August 31, 2015
With the speed Alex Ross possesses, it's no surprise that he'll continue to return kickoffs after the outing a year ago. However, fans will have to wait until kickoff time to see who stands next to him. Currently, Oklahoma has three others working on kick returns all from the running back position.
Stoops: Daniel Brooks, Joe Mixon and Rodney Anderson have been returning kicks opposite Alex Ross #Sooners— Ryan Aber (@ryaber) August 31, 2015
Quickly moving to the defensive side of the ball, many wondered how Frank Shannon would fit in after missing the 2014 season. Of course, the Sooners are loaded with talent at the inside linebacker position. In turn, that means Shannon will not start against the Zips on Saturday. Instead, we'll see Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans filling the gaps while Shannon rotates in.
Stoops on LBs: Alexander and Jordan Evans will start. Shannon had slight pulled muscle, 100% now but he'll rotate behind.— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) August 31, 2015
A major concern throughout the summer has been the defensive line. Here are five names to be aware of moving forward into the season.
Matt Romar, Matt Dimon and Charles Walker inside in the #Sooners DL rotation. Charles Tapper and Eric Striker on the outside - Stoops— Justin Hite (@justinmhite) August 31, 2015
Offensively, the line must replace a few starters. The most prominent names that have been tossed out are Orlando Brown, Josiah St. John, and Nila Kasitati. If you guessed those names at any point in time, you nailed it! Here are the starters as of Monday (the full depth chart will be released later on Monday).
OL starters ... Orlando Brown, Nila Kasitati, Ty Darlington, Jon Alvarez & Josiah St. John. #Sooners— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) August 31, 2015
True freshman, Dru Samia is expected to contribute as well.
Knowing Lincoln Riley has taken over as the offensive coordinator, we speculated Oklahoma would run eight deep at the receiver position. On Monday afternoon, Stoops revealed which receivers were a part of the first group.
First WR group includes Neal, Shepard, Westbrook, Andrews, plus (depending on formation) Jarvis Baxter and Jeffery Mead #Sooners— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) August 31, 2015
Last but not least, the Sooners expect a handful of freshmen to contribute this season. Stoops mentioned these by name...
True freshmen expected to play: Haughton, Sunderland, Mbanasor, McKinney, Dahu Green, AD Miller, Overton, DeBerry— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) August 31, 2015