NORMAN — We've reached Spring Game week in Oklahoma. Which means Josh Heupel's offense will be back on display.
Heupel's debut as Bob Stoops' offensive chief was quite interesting. Heupel ordered up 49 passes in a Fiesta Bowl rout of Connecticut. In a game OU dominated and led comfortably most of the game, Heupel's pass/run ratio was way higher than all but two Kevin Wilson games: the losses to Missouri and Texas A&M, when the Sooners trailed most of the way.
One of three things explains Heupel's pass-happiness:
1. UConn's defense prompted such a game plan.
2. Heupel is the same kind of wing-it coordinator he was as a wing-it quarterback for the early Stoops Sooners.
3. Fun in the sun. Just letting the guys have a good time in the desert.
“It wasn't having fun in the sun,” Heupel said with a chuckle. “That's probably not how we're going to do things around here.”
No, probably not. But while Heupel said Landry Jones' 49 throws indeed were the result of UConn's defensive structure, Stoops said it probably was a little of all three.
The fun-in-the-sun was really just fun-in-the-interview room. And of course, defensive structure will decide offensive attack. So this really comes down to a simple question.
Will Heupel's philosophy differ dramatically from Kevin Wilson's?
Will Heupel's background — more than spread-it-out, air-it-out than Wilson's — mean a new look for the Sooner offense?
“We're going to be very similar to what we've always done,” Stoops said. “In the spring, you evaluate and see what players are really going to do what. You try to play to your players' strengths. What your quarterback does best. From there, your tailback.”
Heupel has the same quarterback, Landry Jones, as Wilson used the previous two years. Tailback will be a change, with DeMarco Murray gone.
And of course, there's the fullback factor. Wilson used lots of formations with a fullback; it would behoove Heupel's job security to do the same.
Stoops loves his fullbacks. Not just the position, the guys. His favorite players over the years always seem to be fullbacks. J.D. Runnels. Brody Eldridge. Now Trey Millard.
Use a fullback, and the look of the OU offense won't change much. Of course, Heupel still could throw a ton, even with a fullback.
And did, in the Fiesta Bowl.
“Each game is going to be different,” Stoops said. Early in the Fiesta Bowl, UConn was “playing a lot of soft two-deep, with their safeties. DeMarco hit some 10-, 12-yard runs to start with. All of a sudden, their safeties aren't as deep in coverage. They're protecting the run. Gives you the opportunity to throw the football.”
So we'll see. But given a game the Sooners dominated, a plot that Wilson would have used to run heavily, Heupel threw and kept throwing.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.