Against Tulane, the Oklahoma offense continued to show how diverse it can be and how deep the pool of playmaking ability is. While 14 different players touched the ball on Saturday, what’s equally notable is that two of Saturday’s most prominently featured players did not record a single stat against Ohio State the previous week. These players are WR Marquise Brown and RB Marcelias Sutton, Oklahoma’s two offensive JUCO transfers from the 2017 class.
Recruiting from the junior college ranks is nothing new for Oklahoma. Some notable Sooners who arrived in Norman via the JUCO route are LT Phil Loadholt, RB Damien Williams, LB Devante Bond and WR Dede Westbrook. Junior college transfers tend to come into a program more physically and mentally ready for the Division 1 level than high school recruits, which often pays off in the short term.
Both Brown and Sutton appear to be impact JUCO transfers like the aforementioned players. Simply put, wide receiver Marquise Brown is dynamite. At 5’11” and 162 pounds, his frame is small but his game is explosive. He can beat most defenders to the edge and can turn upfield in a hurry. Above all else, Sooner fans should be most excited about Brown’s elite speed. It’ll be tough for QBs to over-throw him when he’s streaking down the field, and if he gets behind the defense, it’s game over. On Saturday, Brown hauled in six catches for 155 yards and this 87-yard bomb for a touchdown:
For his outstanding performance, Brown was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. It’s a great honor, and hopefully it won’t be the last time the sophomore garners conference praise.
As for running back Marcelias Sutton, while he isn’t the biggest back in the backfield, he uses every move in the book in electrifying fashion. Spin moves, hurdles, jukes: you name it, Sutton does it. It’s difficult for defenders to get a square hit on Sutton because of his vision and spatial awareness. He has yet to showcase his top-end speed for the Sooners, but his burst and quickness is ever-apparent. Against Tulane, the junior Sutton carried the ball six times for 63 yards, including this nine-yard score:
With so many new names and faces contributing in significant ways, it’s not too surprising that neither Brown nor Sutton saw the ball against the Buckeyes. There’s only one ball, and only so many possessions in a single game. Certain guys in the running back and receiver groups simply found a groove before Brown or Sutton’s numbers were called. It may have only been Tulane, but the fact that these two were featured early and often is a positive sign for the future of the two JUCO products. Additionally, these types of trend should only serve as a positive for the team moving forward.
The reason this should all be seen as a positive is because, in his Monday press conference, Lincoln Riley said that it serves as an eye-opener for the players. It makes sense to me, at least.
“Hey, maybe I played a lot against Ohio State or whoever it was the week before, but that doesn’t mean I’m getting one snap this week. I’ve gotta come back and earn it”, Riley said of the thought process he’s trying to instill.
Producing a competitive, yet unselfish environment is essential to Riley’s coaching methodology, and it’s proven successful thus far. It’s also encouraging that Riley is willing to stick with the hot hand during any particular game, which certainly seemed to be the case with Sutton and Brown against Tulane once he realized that the two of them were playing like they had something to prove.
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