Finally, after months of basketball and baseball, the Oklahoma Sooners are ready to hit the gridiron again.
Well, kind of. Spring football, admittedly, is not the most satisfying or informative few weeks of the year. If there’s a major position battle going into the spring, it’s probably not going to be settled by the end of it — though of course, it’s always fun to read way too much into the spring game lineups and starters.
But players definitely can improve their situation with a glorious spring. OU’s early enrollees, in particular, will get some valuable face time that most freshmen don’t have a chance to receive.
Where are the biggest uncertainties heading into spring practice? Oklahoma lost major contributors on both sides of the ball, so the coaching staff, fans and media will have a close eye on the following positions:
The contenders: Austin Kendall, Kyler Murray, Chris Robison
The QB competition is going to be much, much more interesting a year from now, but it will still be fun to see these guys, with their contrasting styles, duke it out for the right to be QB2. Former five-star recruit Kyler Murray used to be the so-called logical choice, but he has some limitations as a passer. Meanwhile, Chris Robison is extremely talented, but I don’t think even an extra semester on campus can vault him past Murray and Kendall. He might consider redshirting, but not before going all-in this spring.
The contenders: Abdul Adams, Rodney Anderson, Trey Sermon, Marcelius Sutton, Kennedy Brooks
This is probably the biggest question mark on the OU offense. It will be extremely challenging to replace two all-time talents in the backfield, and it will take a combination of several guys to pull it off. But the coaching staff has always loved Rodney Anderson, and if he stays healthy he will absolutely get the chance to win first-team snaps.
The contenders: Marquise Brown, CeeDee Lamb, Jeffery Mead, Nick Basquine, Dahu Green, Mykel Jones
We can feel pretty confident that every one of these guys will get lots of snaps. The question isn’t so much playing time — it’s how to follow an act like Dede Westbrook.
Marquise Brown is a popular pick to be that defining difference-maker. The JUCO receiver has drawn rave reviews from the coaching staff and will have every opportunity to be Baker’s go-to guy next season. Can the Sooners finally find some stability on the other side of the field? There’s something to be said for having five different guys who can pull down 20 catches and keep the defense guessing. But wouldn’t it be better to just have two prolific monsters?
The contenders: Jon-Michael Terry, Emmanuel Beal, Ricky DeBerry, Arthur McGinnis
With so many names in the mix, this battle is as wide-open as the running backs. I’ve already written about why Jon-Michael Terry can be called the early favorite, but that’s a lot of talent in the mix around him.
OU even brought in some big-time freshmen who, like Caleb Kelly last year, might assert themselves into the starting lineup by the end of the year. Oklahoma will eventually have to release a depth chart this fall, but if Terry or DeBerry isn’t cutting it, the Sooners will (finally) have options and won’t feel constrained to stick with it.
Spring practice starts on Tuesday, and the Spring Game is on April 8.