Here are some quick thoughts from attending Thursday’s annual OU caravan in Tulsa, which was headlined by Bob Stoops:
* Not that it should come as a surprise, but clearly, the play of the offensive line will determine how good this team is, in Stoops’ mind. Remember, Stoops called out the line for a lack of consistent work ethic before spring ball. But he said Thursday they made good progress in the spring.
“They had a great spring, but that’s the spring. It’s another five months (after the spring) before they start the season, so we’ll see what they’re able to do until then.
“In the end, it gets back to their accountability and what kind of effort and discipline they’re going to have throughout the year and how they work and what kind of shape they come back in. There’s a lot of potential there. They could be a really good unit but it still needs to be developed and it still needs to show over and over in a more consistent way.”
* The point was brought up about Kevin Wilson’s impact on the spread offense nationally, to which Stoops said, the focus should be on Wilson’s ability to adapt to OU’s personnel in recent years. And he’s right.
The Sooners have gone to an under-center passing team with Jason White, to a power running team with Adrian Peterson, to a shotgun team with Sam Bradford that still was able to utilize the talents of Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray. All three offenses produced Big 12 titles.
* Dom Franks was the player the caravan chose to bring along. I’ve thought he was destined for stardom since the 2008 spring game when he picked off 3 passes. Look for him to have a big year, both at corner, and in the return game. A first-team All-Big 12 player this year.
* Stoops really lauded the leadership of this team. Not just the guys coming back who could’ve left for the NFL Draft, but guys specifically mentioned by Stoops like Brody Eldridge, Chris Brown, DeMarco and Matt Clapp. Stoops said widespread leadership is a unique characteristic with this squad.
* DeMarcus Granger’s ability to contribute this year coming off back surgery is a big question mark. Stoops said he still hasn’t been cleared by the medical staff, and now we’re looking at the season beginning in just over two months. Granger proved he can play through pain, but back surgery is not something you can just power through. Can he make it back and be a contributor as a backup? Yes. Is it likely to happen for the opener against BYU? We’ll see.
* OU landed a huge commitment Thur. night in Torrea Peterson, a d-tackle out of San Antonio with offers from the likes of USC, LSU and Texas. He is considered a 3-star prospect at the moment, but I see him being a Top 100 guy when updated recruiting rankings come out. Peterson is said to be a distant cousin of Adrian Peterson.
* On a football-related note, OU got a women’s hoops commitment from the daughter of former Dallas Cowboy great, Jim Jeffcoat. Jacqueline Jeffcoat is a 6-foot-2 forward. Why is this football related? Well, one of the nation’s top-5 football recruits for the class of 2010 is Jacqueline’s brother, Jackson, a 5-star defensive end out of Plano, Texas.
OU is in the running to land Jackson along with Texas and USC. Certainly, Jacqueline heading to Norman doesn’t hurt OU’s chances of landing Jackson as well. Nor does the fact that Jim now works under former Sooner assistant Kevin Sumlin at Houston as the Cougars’ d-line coach.
For a glimpse, take a look at this video of Jackson (No. 42)
By Jake Trotter