Two-a-days ended on Friday. Classes begin Monday. Five things we learned about the Sooners following 19 two-a-day practices:
1. The Sooners embrace the No. 1 ranking
Coach Bob Stoops didn't shy away from high expectations when he announced at the Sooner caravan stop in Oklahoma City “it's about time we won one,” referring to OU capturing its first national title since 2000.
Most players say the preseason No. 1 ranking doesn't mean a thing. To make a run at the BCS title game, players say it's paramount they work hard, with a one-game-at-a-time mindset. The Sooners haven't been overwhelmed by the preseason hype.
2. Corey Nelson will play weakside linebacker
Coaches vowed to get the talented sophomore on the field after he had as good a spring as anyone on the roster. They experimented with Nelson playing strongside linebacker/nickelback, moving Tony Jefferson to free safety.
When veteran Travis Lewis suffered a broken toe early in fall camp, Nelson was moved back to weakside linebacker, the position he played last season. Nelson is so talented he might move to a new position when Lewis returns. While Lewis is out, Nelson will play the position he's most familiar with.
3. OU will go with a running back by committee
We don't know which running back will receive the most carries, but two or three backs, maybe four, will be part of a rotation. Without seeing practice, it's impossible to predict who will start the season opener, but it appears sophomore Brennan Clay, listed No. 1 on the depth chart, will get the nod Sept. 3 against Tulsa.
Sophomore Roy Finch has good speed and will be in the mix, sometimes playing in the slot. True freshman Brandon Williams is the most talented but is still learning the offense. Jonathan Miller and Dominique Whaley might be given a few carries.
4. Tony Jefferson is staying put (for now)
The Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year is a hard hitter with improving cover skills. Jefferson played so well last season coaches experimented moving the San Diego-area product to free safety early in two-a-days.
When Lewis went down with the toe injury, Jefferson moved back to “Roy backer,” the position he played last year, a hybrid linebacker/safety spot named after former star Roy Williams. Joseph Ibiloye, Jefferson's backup, turned some heads during two-a-days, so there's a chance Jefferson might move to free safety when Lewis returns.
5. Wide receiver is the team's biggest strength
Quarterback Landry Jones connected 131 times with All-American Ryan Broyles last season. But if defenses choose to double-team Broyles — which is difficult against a slot receiver — Jones has other weapons he can exploit man-to-man coverage.
Kenny Stills set freshman records last year. A big-play threat, Stills produced three touchdown catches of 49 yards or longer. Senior Dejuan Miller is fully recovered from a knee injury. Trey Franks steadily elevated his game throughout his freshman season. Jaz Reynolds is back in good graces following a year he redshirted.