Senior wide receiver Ryan Broyles caught an NCAA record 349 passes at Oklahoma.
With Broyles' collegiate career now over due to a season-ending knee injury, it's up to his teammates to fill the significant void left behind.
"You're not able to change everything that you're doing with three games left in the year, so other guys will just have to step up and make plays and try to make the plays he's used to making," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said while discussing Broyles during Monday's weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "Just like when we practice all week, there are other players who get in there for Ryan and they're just going to have to play."
Broyles tore his ACL midway through the third quarter in the Sooners' 41-25 victory Saturday over Texas A&M in Norman. Surgery likely will not be performed for two weeks and Broyles will not play in a bowl game.
Ranked No. 6 in the BCS standings, OU (8-1) gets a well-timed open date this week to mend and adjust to life without Broyles, who was lost one week after a season-ending ankle injury suffered by leading rusher Dominique Whaley.
The Sooners next play at Baylor on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
As brilliant as Broyles had been this season with 83 receptions for 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns, 13 other players on the OU roster have accumulated 181 catches for 2,271 yards and 18 touchdowns.
All told, Broyles accounted for roughly one-third of the receivers' total production, which means 67 percent of the Sooners' potent attack is still in receivership.
Make no mistake, however, Broyles will be missed on the field and off.
"He's just a spark in everything that he does," Stoops said. "Again, our team will respond, I believe. We have to."
Two loud cheers rang out from the OU locker room after beating the Aggies when Stoops informed his players they would have Monday off and Friday off this week, but there were conflicting emotions because of Broyles' injury.
"The whole team felt it," Stoops said. "I could tell in the locker room. Everybody was more quiet than usual. It's because it was on all our minds. It definitely took a lot away from it (the victory)."
What else did Stoops had to say during Monday's teleconference? At five minutes and 20 seconds, it was his shortest interview session of the season:
How is your team able to piece together so many consecutive scoring drives?
"I think it's more of the team playing together because in a couple of those instances – in that (third-quarter) run in the last couple of games – the defense has come up with three-and-outs and given (us) the ball back in good field position, or come up with one play and a turnover and you've got the ball right back and the offense strikes right back. In my eyes, it's more of the team really complementing one another offensively and defensively.
"Offensively, it gets down to execution. (The term) may be overused by coaches, but it's the truth, being precise in how you run your plays – throwing the ball, catching the ball, protecting the quarterback, executing the run game, blocking the right guys, that's a big part of it, execution."
Thoughts on Missouri officially leaving for the SEC?
"Best of luck and we've got two good teams right now (TCU and West Virginia), and maybe more that are on their way in. We'll keep playing ball here, too."
How many teams would you prefer for the Big 12? Are you at 10 teams or 12 teams?
"Where I'm at really doesn't matter. At the end of the day, if it's at 10, that'd be fine. No problem. Other leagues have operated that way for 100 years. If they want to add more, that's great, too. I think either way, we should be fine."
John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. Follow him on Twitter @RohdeOK.