This Saturday, April 9th, the Oklahoma Sooners take to the field for the annual Spring Game. With a few key cogs of the machine moving on to the next stage of life, there are several rather large gaps to fill on both sides of the ball. Here are three things I'll be looking for come Saturday.
Rodney Anderson & Running Back Health
Early on, Rodney Anderson suffered an injury while breaking a non-weight bearing bone. Unfortunately the repair process required surgery force the true freshman into a redshirt season. Not all running backs who sit out a year due to injury return to the field as the same player. Often, backs lose a step or the shiftiness from years past. Hopefully that's not the case with this youngster.
Yet two other outstanding players, by the names of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, suffered injuries during the College Football Playoff just before the turn of the new year. As the ground game collapsed in that moment, fans were left wondering about the health of both backs. While I don't expect the two to carry the ball a significant amount of times, it'll be nice to see them in action once again.
Wide Receiver Depth
Over the course of four years, Sterling Shepard quickly cemented himself as the top target regardless of quarterback. Eclipsing the 1,000 yard barrier as a senior to go alongside eleven touchdowns, his graduation opens the door for a few others to earn playing time. Cale Gundy went on record stating "we've got more depth this year, definitely." But, it's time to prove the quality of the depth. With additions like Geno Lewis, a transfer from Penn State, and the crop of young talent sitting on the roster, Gundy could very well be right!
Playmakers At Linebacker
Losing a player the caliber of Eric Striker never comes easily. Couple that with the fact that two other starters are moving on and the questions abound at the linebacker position. Of course, Jordan Evans remains the lone returning starter but all players must compete for a starting job. Littered with redshirt freshman as well as redshirt sophomores, the group remains young but talented. Could Ricky DeBerry or Arthur McGinnis be the next big time playmaker at linebacker?