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Berry Tramel: Sooner football could be pretty special in 2011

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 17, 2011 at 10:02 am •  Published: April 16, 2011

NORMAN — Jamarkus McFarland would get down in his stance this spring, including Saturday in the Red-White Game, and occasionally sneak a peek.

And McFarland would feel secure.

“I can turn around, and I don't see that question mark,” said the Oklahoma defensive tackle. “Everyone has the ability to take care of their position, to take care of their spot.

“This defense has a chance to very, very good.”

Same goes for the Sooners as a whole. OU spring football 2011 climaxed Saturday with a 20-14 Red victory that was marked by clean play. Nothing ragged. Nothing wild.

Just the sort of game Bob Stoops loves, and it's looking more and more like this is just the kind of team he loves, too.

Stoops did nothing to quench the runaway optimism for a Sooner squad that figures to be ranked No. 1 going into the 2011 season.

“I don't think there's any question, we have more players ready to play than maybe at any other time,” Stoops said.

Isn't that how you win these days? Get a bunch of good players, then have excellent quarterbacking? The Sooners have a bunch of good players, Landry Jones takes care of the quarterbacking, and just in case calamity should strike Whitney Hand's beau, backup QB Drew Allen was very impressive Saturday.

So how many good players do the Sooners have? Are they double-stocked at every position? Do they go 44 deep in this 85-scholarship era? No.

“You probably never feel good about all 44,” Stoops said. Good teams go 1½ deep, Stoops figures, so for the '11 Sooners, “I'm saying 1¾; get them enough snaps, they could go play.”

That's 38, 39 players, and if you don't believe it, check out the OU defense.

Corey Nelson has been the Sooners' best player in the spring, Stoops said, but Nelson doesn't even have a position nailed down. He's behind star senior Travis Lewis at weakside linebacker. OU coaches will have to use their imagination with Nelson.

“We're going to get him on the field,” Stoops said, mentioning the hybrid defensive end spot that Ronnell Lewis played last season. “We'll find the opportunity.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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