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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Mayfield Finds Go-To Guy in Dede Westbrook

Westbrook set a school record for receiving yards on Saturday

Oklahoma v Texas Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Oklahoma’s receivers have lacked an Alpha since the departure of Sterling Shepard, but that has changed in the last two weeks. Senior Dede Westbrook broke a school record for receiving yards in Saturday’s victory over Texas, hitting a mark of 232 yards with three touchdowns on two catches a week after putting up 158 yards and two scores against TCU. And while the secondaries of Texas and TCU are less than stellar, Westbrook’s play has been nothing short of spectacular.

We knew there was talent in the group coming into the year, but we wondered who would step up to make big plays. Through three games, it looked like Mark Andrews was the only potential answer to that question. And although Andrews is a physical freak, he’s never demonstrated the ability to make tough catches. Westbrook, on the other had, also hadn’t demonstrated that ability, and he simply looked like a decent option to utilize in the short passing game. However, OU’s renewed dedication to the running game has opened up the deep passing game, and it has given Westbrook the opportunity to show off his wheels. Oh, and are we still wondering who can make tough catches in big situations?

Yes, the Texas Longhorn defense is a steaming pile of poo, but Westbrook is looking like someone who can beat more than just bad corners when the offense is humming the way that it should. Like last season, it taken Lincoln Riley a bit of time to realize the benefits that a healthy running game can have for the passing attack, but things seem to be looking bright on the offensive side of the ball from a play-calling perspective. Now we just need the defense and Mike Stoops’ brain to get healthy, though I’m not holding out hope for the latter one.

Westbrook is finally turning into the guy we were all excited about when he committed to OU out of Blinn College in Texas - a burner who can beat people deep and make things happen in the open field. On top of that, his hands seem to have improved immensely. Let’s just hope that Mayfield keeps keying on him, because good things seem to happen when he does.

UPDATE (9:33 AM): Dede Westbrook has now been named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after catching 10 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns against Texas on Saturday.