A mail bag about Sudden Sam
My column this week about Sam Bradford drew some interesting responses. I said Bradford was an excellent freshman quarterback, but if he could improve into a playmaker, an improviser on occasion, Oklahoma football would take a big step up.
One reader wrote, “He cannot become a ‘playmaker’ until the coaches allow him to improvise. Thus sayeth the ‘Wednesday Sports’ at Carrinos.”
Well, I’m never opposed to some good Italian. But this isn’t on the coaches. The definition of a playmaker is someone who is not limited by such constraints. Any shackles put on by the OU staff was because Bradford wasn’t ready to take on anything else. Not that he should have been.
Lonnie wrote, “Sam will have to improve on his ability to think outside of the box. OU’s 300-plus offensive line is slow to provide the time Sam requires to deliver the football to a receiver. Sam and the offensive line will have to improve their quickness; 300-plus offensive lineman is OK in the pros, not in college, unless he has the frame to carry the 300 pounds. The young man with a beer belly weighing 300 pounds looks like a buffoon playing football. He may be able to bench press his weight plus and may have speed for a few yards. Watching OU’s offensive line trying to provide Sam some sort of protection was a lost cause in the games they lost. Strength and quickness overcomes weight and lead feet. I do not see Sam as a sophomore improving his touchdown numbers. He may improve his ability in reading the defense quicker than he did as a freshman. Also he needs to improve his decision-making and, if he can, his mobility. Sam has proven if given enough time he will put the ball where needed. OU may have an 8-3 year in 2008.”
Well, Lonnie, OU’s not going to be 8-3. They might go 11-3 again, but they’ll beat 8-3. And when did this turn into a referendum on the Sooner offensive line? I’d say OU’s line protected pretty darn well. The West Virginia blitz was not the fault of OU’s front wall.
Stacy agreed with me. “As good as Bradford was last year, I was surprised several times by his lack of improv/playmaking ability. I thought he was supposed to be more athletic than what he showed. Overall though, no OU fan really can complain. Even though I think I just did.”
Well, I don’t know what football fans do if they don’t complain. But that said, Bradford was billed as a good golfer and a good basketball player. I don’t know how that’s supposed to make him all that much more mobile. Bradford’s athletic ability will not get much better. His instincts and decision-making should improve greatly.
Bob wanted to talk about something else, a pet peeve of his concerning Bradford, “Your article regarding Sudden Sam was spot on. I have one small pet peeve which is annoying. Sudden Sam (great moniker) was not a freshman. First = Freshman. Second = Sophomore. Third = Junior. Fourth = Senior. Fifth = 5th-year player. Sixth = Jason White, Edwardo Najera and Longar & Longar (age & experience is invaluable). Bradford was a sophomore. There is a huge difference between a freshman and a sophomore. Using your interpretation (which is most common) is very misleading and unfair to the true freshman, who might be compared to a redshirt.”
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