NORMAN — The best wide receiving corps in the nation?
Statistically, Oklahoma tops the list.
“Obviously I'm a little biased towards my guys that they're the best in the country,” said Sooners quarterback Landry Jones. “They're playing like it right now. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Texas Tech's Chad Glasgow is the next defensive coordinator that faces the daunting task of trying to devise a game plan to contain OU's talented trio.
With sophomore Jaz Reynolds' emergence the past month, OU has a pick-your-poison group of wideouts.
*Senior Ryan Broyles became the NCAA's all-time leading receiver last week at Kansas.
*Sophomore Kenny Stills set OU freshman records a year ago and once again has displayed clutch, big-play talent despite missing two games due to a one-game suspension and a concussion.
*Reynolds has averaged five catches for 91 yards since joining the starting lineup.
The trio is averaging 290 receiving yards a game, more than 93 of 120 “teams” are averaging.
“The emergence of Jaz as a threat really helps us,” said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “It's tough to roll coverage one direction when you have somebody on both sides that can win (one-on-one coverage) on the perimeter.
“Landry feels good about all those guys. He's playing at a high level because he's gone through his read progressions and goes to where he has a one-on-one matchup. Our guys have been able to take advantage of that.”
Reynolds redshirted last season. He wasn't a starter until Trey Franks was suspended for two games for violation of team rules.
Given an opportunity, Reynolds has taken the opportunity and ran with it. Literally.
One of only six receivers nationally to average more than 19 yards a reception, Reynolds stretches the field.
“When you have a guy that jumps up and makes an eight-yard catch, that's one thing,” OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “But when you have a guy jump up and make a 25- or 30-yard catch, or someone who catches the ball and runs like Jaz, that gets your attention on defense.
“Those are the plays we've been so pleased about. We felt Jaz was capable of doing that. His rookie year, he didn't play a lot. But every time he played he seemed to make something happen.”
Coaches watching the Texas film should benefit the Sooners the remainder of the season.
Concentrate too much on Jones, the receivers and the passing game, and Dominique Whaley and the running game should prosper.
“The Texas game gave us a lot of confidence,” Norvell said. “I told our guys, let's put our foot on the accelerator and see how well we can play every week. Let's see if we can be great all time. I think we've kind of touched on it. If we have three or four guys playing at that level, I think we can.”
Three receivers playing at that level is rare.
And near impossible to defend.
Double team Broyles, and Stills can burn you. Pay too much attention to Broyles and Stills and Reynolds is capable of monster plays.
“It gets hard to double anybody in particular because we don't mind going to any of the other guys,” said coach Bob Stoops. “If they double Ryan, we go to a different guy or a seam Ryan isn't in.”
OU's tight ends are viable options. The Sooners move the chains with bubble screens to running backs, an extension of the running game.
But what sets OU's offense apart is a fast-paced philosophy that features three receivers that can produce big plays.
“It makes it hard on defenses,” Jones said. “If you focus more on Kenny or Jaz on the outside, you have Ryan working the middle of the field. Its stretches defenses for sure.”
Because of Reynolds' emergence, Stills' stats actually slipped early in the season.
“Kenny only had 51 yards receiving (against Texas),” Norvell said. “You're kind of thinking, ‘Didn't he make more plays that that?' But he made the plays that came to him.”
That will be the game plan all season. Jones simply has to go through his reads to find the best matchup.
Best receiving corps in the country?
“I haven't seen everybody,” Norvell said. “But with the quarterback we have, as accurate as Landry is, our receivers have a chance to really do a lot of damage.”