Copyright by James Hale, Alan Hitchcock, ‘J.R.’ Ross, Mike DellaVecchio, Tony Sellars, Andrew Ford and the 247sports.com reporting staff.
by Alan Hitchcock
Sizable Set Back . . .
No use naming names. There were more goats in the Texas Tech game than at a 4-H convention, and not all were wearing uniforms. In sifting through the wreckage Sunday morning, the best quote uncovered was, “Well, that’s sports.”
It’s true, but it still hurts.
Now the Sooners are no longer occupying one of the driver’s seats, but are still on the BCS bus with almost half of the season ahead of them featuring four ranked teams. The first chance at redemption occurs quickly, at No. 8 ranked Kansas State, who is still unbeaten.
Mild or Wild? Unbeaten ‘Cats Await . . .
The second resurrection in Manhattan is underway with the return of Bill Snyder who looks as if he may now coach longer than Joe Pa at Penn State. Under Snyder once again Kansas State is not the traditional college football juggernaut, they just win ugly.
Sometimes by the skin of their teeth, sometimes by a lot, but so far ugly is 7-0.
KSU first caught the nation’s attention with a 28-24 win at Miami, followed by a 36-35 victory over Baylor. The Wildcats are still on a roll, but in reality face some tough cookies to end the season, beginning with the Sooners, followed by OSU, A&M and Texas.
A typical Bill Snyder defense keeps the ‘Cats in every game, but the offense is just good enough to make every game a challenge with running back Collin Klein masquerading as a quarterback.
Klein, while not a huge passing threat, is more than adequate, hitting 82-138 attempts for 934 yards and 8 TD’s. However when he runs, he makes defenses account for his every move, and makes them pay dearly when they are out of position, (670 yards on 151 attempts).
He is a deadly weapon in the red-zone, scoring on 14 of 41 carries, but is equally dangerous moving the chains in a methodical manner. But former Sooner coach Merv Johnson says beware of a trap if your game plan puts too much emphasis on stopping Klein on the ground.
“Teams are so concerned about stopping the run that covering the pass becomes secondary,” Johnson noted. “That’s when bad things can happen. Klein throws it well enough that you can’t ignore it.”
Jonson also advises that the Sooner ‘D’ had better be ready for new looks when KSU has the ball.
“They are very multiple in their formations, and some of them are special formations with maybe three backs in the backfield, and sometimes there is just a quarterback or one-back. Their blocking schemes are radically different than what you see from other teams, but they are extremely well thought out.”
Earlier this season, Brent Venables and the Sooner ‘D’ has faced similar challenges with running quarterbacks against Florida State, Missouri and in the Cotton Bowl against Texas.
Here’s hoping lessons learned there will not be forgotten.
Team Notes . . .
After the embarrassing home loss, (only the third of the Stoops era), the team had the customary ‘players only’ meeting with predictable reports of outrage and re-dedication.
What would be more refreshing however would be a re-enactment of the famous Tim Tebow press conference where Tebow stood at a podium, took the blame for the shocking loss to Ole Miss and vowed to carry his Gator team on his back the rest of the year.
Obviously, Sooner fans know how that season turned out.
We have heard that Travis Lewis was the most vocal at the meeting, and that may have been so. But again, let’s see some real leadership demonstrated on the field starting with Kansas State.
In August, Stoops privately said he expected the Sooners to challenge for a national championship this year.
“We have the talent, we have the experience. But you never know about injuries, they are always the variable.”
So far, injuries have plagued the Sooners, who have not yet been near 100%, beginning with Travis Lewis (toe), and then Daryl Williams spraining an ankle in the Tulsa game. Broyles was not healthy for Florida State, and just as Jarvis Jones was returning on the O-line, Ben Habern broke his wrist against Missouri.
Add to that list Casey Walker, Tom Wort and Jamell Fleming on defense and one can see where at some point, injuries do begin to effect the play.
We cannot second guess the medical team when it comes to concussions, but why does Tom Wort practice all week only to be held out of the Tech game at the last moment? OU coaches are 100% behind the decision, as no player’s long term health should ever be placed in jeopardy, but when possible, why not get on the same page earlier in the week and avoid a game day surprise?
Jayden Bird will likely get some reps at the MIKE to counter KSU’s run game and junior SAM backer Joseph Ibiloye will see some action in this game as he alternates with Corey Nelson, (who primarily played WILL last week with Travis Lewis at MIKE in place of Wort).
This week Jamell Fleming says he wants to play, but we expect to see him miss after having arthroscopic surgery for a slight tear on his knee, and expect to see sophomore Aaron Colvin at corner with senior Sam Proctor starting at safety.
Junior defensive tackle Casey Walker (broken thumb) would have been a nice addition last week, but a return Saturday against the run-oriented Wildcats may prove to be more valuable.
Here’s a vote for Brandon Williams to play, like right now.
With his red-shirt already burned, the Sooners need a home run threat on the ground. True, he may fumble, but Ryan Broyles has coughed up the pigskin a couple of times in the last few weeks and we doubt that the coaching staff would not consider playing him at receiver!
With Dom Whaley sidelined with a sudden flu-like symptoms last Saturday, the Sooner offense could have used a little more explosive horse-power on the ground. In hindsight, perhaps it would have kept the Red Raiders offense on the side-lines a little while longer.
And finally, tight end Austin Haywood has requested a re-instatement meeting with Bob Stoops. Haywood regrets his decision to quit, and has asked teammates for advice.
“Go see the man,” was the answer.
If he does that he will arguably exhibit more guts than any Sooner showed last week, and who knows what Stoops will say? But from our corner, at this point, everyone deserves a second chance.
Recruiting 2012 . . .
Recruit List: Projected -17-18 / Committed Prospects - 13
Kyle Marrs, (6-6 / 308 / 5.2), San Antonio, (Brandeis), TX – Committed to OKLAHOMA
Alex Ross RB/LB, (6-2 / 213 / 4.5), Jenks, OK – Committed to OKLAHOMA
Sterling Shepard (5'10, 160, 4.47), OKC, (Heritage Hall), OK – Committed to OKLAHOMA
Daniel Brooks, (5-9 / 180 / 4.4), Rockport, TX – Committed to OKLAHOMA
DeVante Harris, CB, (5'11 / 160 / 4.4), Mesquite, (Horn), TX – Committed to OKLAHOMA
Laith Harlow, TE, (6-5 / 230 / 4.7), Tallahassee, (Godby), FL – Committed to OKLAHOMA
Eric Striker, LB, (6-1 / 198 / 4.6), Seffner, (Armwood), FL – Committed to OKLAHOMA
Durron Neal, WR, (6-1 / 194 / 4.5), St. Louis, (DeSmet), MO – Committed to OKLAHOMA
Ty Darlington, OC/OG, (6-3 / 275 / 4.9), Apopka, FL - Committed to OKLAHOMA
John Michael McGee, (6-4 / 262 / 4.9), of Texarkana, TX - Committed to OKLAHOMA
Trevor Knight, QB, (6-3 / 193 / 4.6), San Antonio, (Reagan), TX - Committed to OKLAHOMA
Charles Tapper, DE (6-3½ / 240 / 4.6), Baltimore, MD - Committed to OKLAHOMA
Polo Manukainiu, DL, (6’6 / 256 / 4.7), Euless, (Trinity), TX - Committed to OKLAHOMA
The Sooners are set with a bakers’ dozen, and probably have room for four or five more.
In contention are several players who are committed elsewhere, headlined by Mario Edwards, who heads to Florida State this weekend.
Expect the Seminoles to put pressure on Edwards to re-new his vows, and we wouldn’t be shocked if he verbally did so, as he is diplomatic and prone to avoid controversy and not make waves. However, this one will go down to the wire and the Sooners will be in it until signing day, regardless of what FSU writers will spin come next week.
Also on the ‘thinking about it list’ is DT Malcom Brown, the highest rated Texas commit, who still talks to Jackie Shipp. Mack Brown may have even more to worry about as another of the Horns’ big time recruits is also taking calls from the Sooners. Cayleb Jones, 6-2, 195 pound wide receiver from Austin, is rated among the top five receivers nationally and now has to be wondering if the Horns will ever throw the football, or if they'll ever sign a quarterback.
Either commit would set off fireworks in Norman and cause heartbreak in Austin.
A&M commit Colin Blake was in town last weekend with longtime friend and OU commit Kyle Marrs. Blake predictably said that he just came up to a game with a friend, but take our word for it, Willie Martinez is on it and this too could go all the way to February.
Last week we reported that Baylor commit Corey Coleman (5-11 / 180 / 4.4), was thinking about OU, and now we can name the visit date, (maybe). Coleman is due in Norman soon.
“I’m going to the OU game November 5th against Texas A&M,” said Coleman.
“(But), I may change that visit, and now I think I’m going there the game after the A&M game. I’m going to try to go up there for the A&M game, but I think I am going to have to move it to the game after that.”
Coleman has 776-yards receiving on the season on 62-catches and he has scored 18 touchdowns on the season, 14 receiving. Coleman was leading the district in receiving until moving to quarterback where he is a threat to score every time he takes a snap.
“My recruiting is open because we don’t sign our scholarship papers until February. I say anything can happen to any athlete and I want to keep my options open. I like Oklahoma a lot and I like the coaches. I talk to the coaches a lot at Oklahoma, and Coach (Brent) Venables is my area recruiter and I talk to him a lot. I talk to Coach (Willie) Martinez every once in a while, and I like those two guys because they want to win.”
Another committed possibility is wide receiver Avery Johnson, (6-2 / 175 / 4.5), of Pompano Beach, Florida who is currently pledged to LSU, but still thinking of taking a visit to OU.
Tight End Taylor McNamara, (6-5 / 240), who is an Arizona commit, says he has Oregon, Colorado and OU on his shopping list has planned his five official visits, including one to OU on Nov. 26 when Iowa State comes to town. Austin Haywood’s pending status could change this picture as well.
Among the uncommitted the list is just as impressive, headed by Dorial Green Beckham who is down to Arkansas, Auburn, OU, Texas and Missouri. Other receivers in the mix are Inglewood California’s Derrick Woods, (6’1 / 185 / 4.5), and Nelson Agholor, (6-1 / 180 / 4.5), of Tampa Berkley Prep.
Woods is a coveted two-way prospect that Willie Martinez would also be happy to sign filling his one remaining DB spot, along with three other prospects, two, Travell Dixon, (6-2 / 200 / 4.4), Eastern Arizona JC and Gerald Bowman, (6’1 / 205 / 4.4), Pierce CC) are recent JC offers, and Corey Coleman, mentioned above.
Sometimes they just come out of the woodwork. Martinez has contacts up and down the east coast, and one in New Jersey is beginning to look like it may hold promise for OU in four-star safety Elijah Shumate, (6-1 / 185), of Don Bosco Prep. The last time the Sooners recruited Bosco Prep was over one Myron Rolle, (Bob Stoops is still PO’d over that one, who called him ‘uncle Bob,’ if you can imagine that).
Martinez was not around for that circus and carries no battle scars, but since Brent Venables is recruiting New Jersey outside linebacker Quanzell Lambert, he also took on Shumate who had 67 tackles and five sacks as a junior, and recently narrowed his list to South Carolina, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Illinois and Georgia Tech.
Shumate, who will make his decision on January 7 at the U.S. Army All-America game, isn’t sure when he’ll set his OU visit, but says he is serious about them:
“Oklahoma is just a great school,” Shumate said. “Me and Coach Venables talk all the time. Oklahoma has two safeties that are All-Americans that are supposed to be leaving after this year. They’re always ranked up there, and it doesn’t get better than playing at Oklahoma because it’s a rich tradition.
“I want to go to a school I feel the most love at, and a school I could potentially get a chance to play my freshman year,” Shumate said. “A place where I can get the best quality education and football.”
Along the D-line, in addition to Brown, at DT Jackie Shipp is still courting Vincent Valentine, (6-4 / 309 / 4.9) of Edwardsville, Illinois, but appears to have backed off a bit from Eddie Goldman, Ellis McCarthy, (6-4 / 295 / 4.9), and Ashton Henderson, (6'2 / 312 / 5.3), of Jenks.
Last week James Patton added Arik Armstead, OT (6-8 / 285) of Carmichael California to his list of potential OL signees, including Zach Banner, (6-9 / 325), of Lakewood, Washington, California’s Kyle Murphy, (6-6 / 290 ), of San Clemente, along with Palm Beach Gardens (Florida), lineman Avery Young, (6-7 / 277 / 5.0). Joshua Garnett, (6-5 / 275 / 4.9), of Puyallup, WA is still a possibility as well, but many feel he’ll also stay on the West Coast.
With the quality of athlete still on the table for Oklahoma, the last four or five scholarships could give the Sooners another banner year.
Two committed prospects were in attendance last weekend, Baltimore’s Charles Tapper (6’4, 240, 4.6), who reported a great visit along with his mom, and linebacker Eric Striker, (6-1 / 198 / 4.6), of Seffner, Florida.
“I’m committed to OU more than ever,” said Striker. “I had a great time and just loved it. I got to see what the pre-game meal is going to be like, got to see the motivational video, got to hear the pre-game speeches by the coaches and that was very exciting for me. I really like that part and I definitely liked the motivational part. The motivation video is highlights from the last game, and some highlights from Texas Tech from last year. It had some music with it that was really cool and gets you hyped for the game.”
Recruiting Watch List 2013 . . .
Projected 20 - 21 / Committed 0
Most of the recruiting activity has shifted to prospects who will be juniors this fall. The Sooner staff is continuing extend ‘unofficial’ offers and will begin to seriously pursue juniors as the season continues.
Here are the juniors that OU is most interested in at this time. More will be added in the fall, as the Sooners typically offer between 75 – 100 top prospects each year. (* Although ‘official’ written offers cannot be made until February, these prospects are holding verbal offers from OU).
Receivers – Projected 1 -2
Marcell Ateman, WR, (6-5 / 200), Wylie, (East), TX
Jordan Cunningham, WR, (6-2 / 185 / 4.4), Fort Lauderdale, (University), FL
Jamar Gibson (6-2 / 190 / 4.5), Baytown, (Sterling), TX
Derrick Griffin, WR, (6-7, 205), Rosenberg, (Terry), TX
Brandon Harris WR, (6-1 / 175 / 4.5),Cedar Hill, TX
Quan Jones, WR, (6-4 / 196), Wylie, TX
Armoni Lanier, WR, (5'11 / 180 / 4.4), Garner, NC
Gary Moore, WR, (6-6, 221), Clarksville, TX
Jake Oliver, WR, Jake Oliver, WR,(6-3, 195) Dallas, (Jesuit), TX
Staurt Polk, WR, (6’3, 180, 4.5), Tahlequah (Sequoyah), OK
Jaevon Richardson, WR, (6-1 / 170 / 4.5), Baytown, (Lee), TX
Dubois Ross, WR/CB, (6'0, 165, 4.4) Banger, PA
Ra Shaad Samples, WR, (5'11 / 165 / 4.53), Dallas, (Skyline), TX
Quan West, WR, (6-5 / 200 / 4.5), Willis, TX
Offensive Line – Projected 4
*Robert Boyd, OL, (6-4 / 295 / 5.2), Vian, OK
Darius James, C/OL, Killeen, (Harker Heights), TX
*Dorian Miller, OT, (6-3 / 276 / 5.0), Metuchen, NJ
*Heath Nowland, OL/DL (6-3 / 300), Edmond, (North), OK pending
Kent Perkins, OT, Richardson, (Lake Highlands), TX
*Jake Raulerson, OT, (6-5 / 250), Celina, TX
A’Shawn Robinson, OT, Fort Worth, (Arlington Heights), TX
Ishmael Wilson (6-5, 275), Dallas, (Bishop Dunne), TX
Defensive Backs – Projected 3 - 4
Dakota Austin, SS, (5'11 / 165 / 4.4), Lancaster, Texas
Trey' Vonne Barre, ATH, (5'10 / 170 / 4.5), Jenks, OK
Will Barrow, CB (5-9 / 161 / 4.5), Dallas, (Skyline), TX
Braden Calip, DB (5-9 / 181 / 4.5), Jenks, OK
Teriyon Gipson, CB (5'9 / 168) Dallas, (Kimball), TX
Marcell Harris, S, (6-2 /193 / 4.5), Groveland, (South Lake), FL
Devonte Johnson, DB, (5-11 / 160 /4.4), Tulsa, (East Central), OK
Kameron Miles, LB/S, (6-2 /202), West Mesquite, TX
Taion Sells, S, (5'9 / 170 / 4.5) Irving, (MacArthur), TX
Darrell Songy, S/LB, (6-1 /205 / 4.5), Pflugerville, (Connally), TX
Defensive Ends – Projected 1 - 2
Kenny Bigelow, DE, (6'3, 280, 4.8), Bear, (Red Lion Christian), DE
Marrick Charles, DE, (), Destrehan, LA
*Jason Hatcher, DE, (6-1½ / 235 / 4.5), Louisville, (Trinity), KY
Robert Nkemdiche, DE, (6-4 / 262 / 4.6), Loganville, (Grayson), GA
Cameron Stapelton, TE/DE, (6'2 / 225 / 4.7), New York, (Poly Prep), NY
Vili Leveni, DE, (6-5 / 225 / 4.7), Hurst, (Bell), TX
Quarterback – Projected 1
J.T. Barrett, QB, (6-2 / 205), Wichita Falls, (Rider), TX
Jacob Burtch, QB, (6-1 / 197 / 4.7) Seminole, TX
Jordan Darling, QB, 6-5 / 225 / 4.8),Waco, (Midway), TX
Brayden Scott, QB, (6-3 / 205 / 4.6), Tahlequah (Sequoyah), OK
Cody Thomas, QB, (6-4, 200) Colleyville, (Heritage), TX
Linebacker – Projected 2 - 3
*Su'a Cravens, LB, (6-1 / 205 / 4.5), Murietta, (Vista), CA
*Michael Hutchings, LB, (6-2 / 210 /4.5) Concord, (De LaSalle), CA
*E.J. Levenberry. LB (6-3 / 230 / 4.6), Riner, (Hylton), VA
Russell Murphy, LB, Saginaw, TX
Brett Wade, LB (6-2 / 220 / 4.7), Kennedale, TX
*D.J. Ward, LB/DE (6-4 / 230 / 4.6), Lawton, OK
*Paul Whitmill, OLB/RB (6-0 / 200 / 4.5), Bastrop, TX
Chad Whitener, OLB (6-0 / 194 / 4.6), Mansfield, TX
Kahlee Woods, LB (6-1 / 220 / 4.6), Sherman, TX
Athlete (multiple positions) – Projected 2 - 3
Keith Ford, RB/ATH (5-11 / 195 / 4.5), Cypress Ranch, TX
Ja’Taveon Green, ATH, (5-9 / 160 / 4.4), Garland, Texas
Ashon Mayze, ATH, (6-0 / 175 / 4.4), Arlington, (Seguin), TX
Devonte Moore, (5-9 / 160 /4.4), Lexington, (North Davidson), NC
*Devin Rolen, RB/LB, (6'0, 220, 4.6), McAlester, OK
Dru Smith, QB/ATH, (6'0 / 175 / 4.5), Mesquite, (Horn), TX
Devon Thomas, RB/ATH, (5-10 / 190 / 4.5), Broken Arrow, OK
Dontre Wilson, RB/DB/ATH, (5-10 / 163 / 4.4), DeSoto, TX
Alan Shumpert, ATH/DB, (6-2 / 210 / 4.5), Tupelo, MS
Tight End – Projected 1
Derrick Griffin, TE (6'6 / 220 / 4.6), Rosenburg, TX
Sam Laptad, TE, (6-4 / 218 / 4.7), Jenks, OK
Christian Morgan, TE, (6-4 / 255 / 4.7), Plano, (Prestonwood Christian), TX
Defensive Tackle – Projected 1 - 2
*Justin Manning, DT (6-3 / 278 / 5.0), Dallas, (Kimball), TX
Dominique Woods, DT, (6-1 /285), Dallas, (Skyline), TX
Running Back – Projected 1
Altee Tenpenny, RB (5-11 / 200 / 4.5), North Little Rock, AR
Cameron Wrenn, RB, (5-11 / 177 / 4.5), Broken Arrow, OK
Recruiting Watch List 2014 . . .
It’s almost too early, but here are a few young ones that have already turned heads for 2014. These prospects will only be sophomores this fall, and many more names will eventually join them.
Tyrus Barrett, OT (6-2 / 280), Dallas, (6-2 / 280), TX
Andy Bauer, OL-DL (6’5 / 278 / 5.2), St. Louis,(DeSmet), MO
James David, LB, (6-2 / 210), Rockdale, TX
Jakari Dillard, ATH, (6-4 / 185), Princeton, TX
Cedric Collins, DB/ATH/WR (5’8 / 170 / 4.4), Dallas, (Skyline), TX
Justice Hansen, QB, (6-3 / 190 / 4.5), Edmond, (Sante Fe), OK
Nick Harvek, Lancaster, TX
Dominique Little, RB, Lawton, OK
Landon Root-QB, (6'2 /185), Wichita, (Kapaun Mt. Carmel) KS
Xavier Turner, RB Birdville, TX