Oklahoma Sooners commit Trejan Bridges’ basketball acumen helped make him into a world-class receiver who needs his rest.
Jack Bridges had to wake his son.
Trejan had been grinding just hours before in the July heat. He was so exhausted all he could make himself do when he got back home after a 30-minute run and weights was find his bed and sleep.
Learning to listen his body has been part of his development on and off the field.
“You know I’m probably going to be doing this stuff for a little bit longer,” Trejan told me on the WOOSAH podcast, “so I’m just gonna get used to it now. So whenever my body goes through a practice like that I try to get as much rest as I can.”
Jack nudged his son awake so that he could perform yet another interview about who he is, what he believes and how he earned an opportunity to commit to OU.
Trejan began his high school career on the other side of the ball. He was a corner back. And he was so set on playing the position that his father set out to get him as much help as possible to turn him into an elite prospect.
After all, 6-foot-2-inch corners are the stuff the league. A man with the kind of size and athleticism will play on Sundays. But when Trejan’s high school coach came to him and his father to ask if Trejan would consider moving to wide receiver, he didn’t hesitate.
And he immediately took to the position change because of his background in basketball. “Basketball had a lot to do with it, just coming from the rebounding point. I just know how to adjust to the ball very well when it’s in the air.”
This was a skill he displayed over and over again while competing at The Opening Final earlier this month. Wherever Trejan Bridges lined up on a field, he found a way to get open and make a play on the ball. Because he’s an athlete in the classic since of the word.
QUARTERBACKS WILL DICTATE OFFENSE’S IDENTITY
Folks who don’t know much about Oklahoma football can tell you exactly what I’m about to: Kyler Murray is the presumed starting quarterback at OU.
With his unique blend of speed and athleticism, he’s the best athlete on any football field he’s ever going to play on. However, he’s also fortunate to play in an offense that is stacked at every skill position and returns three starters on the offensive line.
So what will the offense look like if/when Murray is the signal caller in September? I expect the offense will look quite a bit like the one Sooner offenses we’ve grown accustomed to seeing with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley calling the plays.
OU will run the ball more than it passes. There will be plenty of play-action. The magician (Riley) will continue to pull tricks.
With a Heisman candidate in the backfield in running back Rodney Anderson as well as a sophomore Trey Sermon to spell him and offensive line coached by the one of the best in the country, statistically the Sooners will probably be the 55/45, run/pass split OU fans are used to watching. Schematically, I predict a difference.
The sharp-shooting, accurate and efficient passer that is Baker Mayfield is gone. With Murray, I’d expect to see more read-option and run-pass-option (RPO) concepts. The diamond formation is a solid concept with a quarterback with the wheels and arm of Murray. But the split-back sets might become even more prevalent than they were with Mayfield behind center.
However, save the diamond formation, that set could be in heavy rotation if Austin Kendall shocks most of us and ends up winning the starting job. Because, no matter who wins the gig, he’ll be a brand new starter at Oklahoma dependent on a running attack that more than proved itself capable in 2017.
DEFENSE ALL ON MIKE STOOPS’ SHOULDERS
As for the defense, the Sooners will be younger than they’ve been in some time but, by nearly all accounts, much more talented. With a top 10 class on campus and working out in Norman, there’s plenty of discussion about how soon and where some of the 2018 class will find starting positions.
Freshman Bookie Radley-Hiles is the only true freshman almost assured of earning playing time from Day 1. But defensive ends Ronnie Perkins and Ron Tatum as well as linebacker DaShaun White figure to be heavy favorites to get snaps early and often. They’re all helped significantly by the new red-shirt rule, which Riley called a game-changer not just for true freshmen but programs across the country.
“I don’t know if people on the outside or even maybe us on the inside understand how different that rule is,” Riley said. “How much the game is going to be different, the strategy behind it. I think it’s going to be fun.”
And it will be—provided defensive coordinator Mike Stoops figures out how to best deploy the most talented team he’s fielded in years.
“Feel like we have had a pretty good summer from all indications and kind of like the direction we headed at the beginning of spring,” Stoops said, “feel like we are in a better position, hopefully, heading into this fall.”
Florida Atlantic, UCLA and Army will be the judge of that.