Berry Tramel

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OU football: Sooners look loaded for 2012

by Berry Tramel Published: October 11, 2011

during the Red River Rivalry college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas Longhorns (UT) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
during the Red River Rivalry college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas Longhorns (UT) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Bob Stoops had a subliminal message for college football during his press conference Tuesday. Watch out for the Sooners in 2012.

Maybe it was because the Texas spin, after a 55-17 Sooner romp last Saturday, was that the Longhorns are young. Maybe it was because Stoops wants everyone to know this OU football team can be better.

But the message was clear. The Sooners have a whole bunch of good ballplayers, and few of them are seniors.

“We only started seven seniors,” Stoops said. “I think we’re very young overall as a team. That was the exciting part. We still feel we have a lot of development with these players. It’s only the sixth game, we’ve gotta keep pushing for improvement, with so many young players.”

OU’s senior starters were defensive end Frank Alexander, linebacker Travis Lewis, cornerback Jamell Fleming, offensive tackle Donald Stephenson, tight end James Hanna, flanker Ryan Broyles and guard Stephen Good.

“I look at the front eight, nine guys” on defense, Stoops said. “Only one senior. One linebacker senior. Whole secondary, one senior. Hopefully, we’ll continue to get better.”

Of course, the Sooners’ 2012 fortunes will rest largely on quarterback. Landry Jones figures to be a first-round pick. If he goes pro, as is likely, OU will turn to Drew Allen or Blake Bell. But Jones is a unique enough personality, he might stay. Sam Bradford stayed.

“I want him to have an understanding and what it entails,” Stoops said of Jones’ decision. “Look at the history of the draft. Quarterbacks who left early. What kind of success they had compared to the guys who didn’t.

“Who knows this game better than Archie Manning? His two sons, they didn’t go out early. Seemed to work out pretty good for them.

“I talk year round about the advantage and disadvantage and the whole process. Our guys get tired of hearing about it. To me, it’s all about understanding the process.”

Landry Jones is likely to go pro. If he does, the Sooners will be loaded everywhere except quarterback. If Jones somehow stays, the Sooners will be loaded period.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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