Today’s exhibition game in Norman was a success.
Why? Because nobody was injured.
In all seriousness, the defense was impressive today, and some of the fresh faces at the skill positions should have y’all excited. Here are some observations from today’s game, which was won 14-13 by White in front of an announced crowd of 43,723 at Memorial Stadium.
Kyler Murray is the clear-cut QB2
Height and consistent accuracy have been the biggest concerns regarding Kyler Murray as a quarterback since he left Allen High School in 2015. However, the accuracy was on point on Saturday, as he was able to show some pretty nice touch on throws of all lengths. Here’s a some nice deep-ball accuracy:
Speaking of nice touch, check out this throw by early enrollee Chris Robison to Abdul Adams.
He nearly got Adams killed there, but that was just a beautiful ball. Robison showed some flashes during the game, and he’ll have a shot at the starting gig in 2018 along with Murray and Austin Kendall.
Murray finished the day with nine completions on 13 attempts for 144 yards and a score, and he was also able to show off the wheels — even though many of his attempts were blown dead fairly quickly. None of the QBs played poorly, but Murray was a cut above the other backups.
The Parnell Motley hype is justified
As most of you are aware at this point, cornerback Jordan Parker is done for the spring after suffering a foot injury. Unfortunately for Parker, his starting job from last season may not be waiting for him when he gets back.
The Oklahoma staff has been raving about the sophomore from DC for some time now. On Saturday, we all saw firsthand why that’s been the case. Motley is someone who clearly has the playmaking ability to be a star for the Sooners as early as this coming season. That kind of lock-down ability was absent at the No. 2 cornerback spot in 2016, so Motley’s performance will certainly give Oklahoma fans hope that their team’s secondary will be greatly improved in 2017.
Jeffrey Mead should play a significant role in 2107
Mead ended the 2016 season with some solid performances down the stretch, most notably showing off his double spin-move against Iowa State. Coming into the weekend, I was a firm believer that he would be a major contributor in 2017. After watching the rangy receiver from Tulsa Union on Saturday, I feel more confident than ever.
Mead ended the day with three catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, showing off his ability to be a big-play threat in the process.
- Rodney Anderson, who is avoiding contact as a precaution, was allowed to return a kickoff. It obviously didn’t count on the scoreboard, but it made for a pretty dope (and clearly planned) 360-degree video of a kickoff return touchdown.
- Dahu Green had three catches for 43 yards, but he also had a couple of bad drops. The big and athletic receiver is going to have to be more consistent if he wants to see much of the field in 2017.
- All of the running backs looked really good physically out there on the field. There weren’t many long runs (which was a testament to the defense today), but this backfield is going to really be something by the end of the year. Trey Sermon looked like a beast out there, and Marcelias Sutton has some explosiveness to him. Additionally, Abdul Adams indeed looks bigger and faster than he did last season, which is something Lincoln Riley has been stating throughout the spring.
- Early enrollee Grant Calcaterra looked really good out there, finishing with three catches for 38 yards. He also made a touchdown catch that was nullified by a penalty.
- Mykel Jones also looked solid out there today, and I definitely see him playing a bigger role than he did as a freshman. Here’s how the receiver rotation looks to me in 2017: Starters (in four-wide formations): Marquise Brown, Jeff Badet, Mark Andrews, Jeffrey Mead. Other key contributors: Mykel Jones, Grant Calcaterra, CeeDee Lamb, Nick Basquine. I hope A.D. Miller (who didn’t suit up Saturday as an injury precaution) and Dahu Green can be consistent enough in practice to make an impact, but we’ll have to wait and see. I also hope Jordan Smallwood (who also didn’t play on Saturday) can stay healthy and make some plays as a senior.
- I’m not the type of person who draws a lot of conclusions about entire offensive or defensive units by watching a spring game (even though I clearly love to do it with individuals), but the defense appears to be improved from last season. The linebackers will be better than they were a year ago. The defensive line — although a bit thin on depth — has some young guys who are ready to break out. Finally, the secondary looks like it’ll be sharper despite giving up a few big plays today (which can be largely attributed to good quarterback play). I don’t think there’s any way this defense struggles as much as it did a year ago, but the pressure will be on Mike Stoops to make sure of that in 2017.