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Chat transcript: OU writer Ryan Aber takes Signing Day discussion into overtime

by Ryan Aber Published: February 6, 2014
NewsOK Sports 10:29 a.m. Welcome to the Power Lunch chat. OU reporter Ryan Aber will be on at 11 a.m., so get your questions in on signing day and more Sooners sports.
Ryan Aber 11:00 a.m. OK, it's time to get started. Keep the questions coming.
Eric 11:01 a.m. Your probably going to get asked this several times, any word on Deondre Clark?
Ryan Aber 11:03 a.m. Just a few minutes ago found out he'll have his announcement at 2 p.m. Monday instead of today. Think he's going to LSU. Don't know why/how people at LSU would say they received his LOI if he didn't send it. I know he wants to have his moment and that's fine but it's impossible to keep those things under wraps at a college football program like LSU these days.
Ryan Aber 11:03 a.m. That said, nothing would surprise me with this deal.
Lawton 11:03 a.m. I see where Baker Mayfield met Stoops. Is Stoops going to let Mayfield walk on?
Ryan Aber 11:05 a.m. Yeah, he'll get a chance. He can be a valuable practice piece with Thompson transferring and Bell moving to TE. Still doubt he ever plays significant minutes at OU but you never know. He is, though, ineligible this season.
Dr. Doug 11:05 a.m. How do you see the mix of running backs working out. Who starts, who if any will become the next great OU back.
Ryan Aber 11:06 a.m. I think the likelihood is it's either Keith Ford or Joe Mixon. I think Mixon turns into a feature back before very long. I'd guess Ross fits into the Roy Finch role of a couple of carries per game, unless things change in the next few months.
Lawton 11:06 a.m. Where did the OU recruited class rank on the recruitment services? What about the other Big 12 schools?
Ryan Aber 11:07 a.m. Most had OU in the 13-15 range, which seems about right. Texas and Baylor were a few spots behind that. OSU was just behind OSU in one service and in the mid-late 20s in others. All Big 12 teams seemed to land in the top 60.
Guest 11:08 a.m. With Bell changing positions to TE will we see a complete change in offensive concepts to focus more toward the true down hill running game mixed with the short to intermediate passing.
Ryan Aber 11:09 a.m. I doubt there will be a complete overhaul. Knight had a really strong throwing game in the Sugar Bowl and I'd expect that offense will be the one we'll see. The TEs should be more involved, though. I doubt we'l see Bell or any TE put up Gresham numbers this year but think they'll be some more passes thrown their way.
DaSoonerMan 11:09 a.m. Has OU reached its limit on offering schollys for 2014
Ryan Aber 11:10 a.m. Think they could go another one or two. I doubt they're going to add anyone else though. Clark was the one they were holding out on but it doesn't seem like they'll get him.
Dave in Greenville, SC 11:10 a.m. Curious about Baker Mayfield and why he has to sit out a year? He was a walk-on at Texas Tech. Unless Mayfield accepted a scholarship and the underlying benefits (tuition, meals, etc.), I don't understand how Texas Tech has a legal right to restrict Mayfield from playing right away. Is there an NCAA rule on this? If not, I think a legal challenge might have some merit. What do you think?
Ryan Aber 11:12 a.m. I've said similar things since he announced he was going to walk-on at OU. I'm not a lawyer and won't even play one on here but it would be an interesting case if someone like Mayfield chose to take it. Most NCAA rules make sense on some level even if the application is often horrid, but this one makes no sense. He was paying his way, wasn't going to get a scholarship at Tech, and is paying his own way in Norman.
Lawton 11:12 a.m. What are the chances of Orlando Brown doing well. He seems almost too big to be really good. Was he highly ranked?
Ryan Aber 11:14 a.m. Has to take care of things in the classroom first. He's a borderline academic guy. If he is able to get here, though, he's got a chance to be a force. He's a three-star guy. His size is imposing but check out Jason Kersey's story on Brown today. He's lost more than 100 pounds and OU's strength and conditioning staff will try to find the right balance on his frame.
Ryan Aber 11:16 a.m. Just to reiterate on Clark, he'll announce at 2 p.m. Monday. My guess is he's signed with LSU, wanted to keep it a secret to have his moment (and there's nothing wrong with that, though it's hardly realistic).
Lawton 11:16 a.m. In the Oklahoma market the OU recruited class is seen as a "great" class of recruits. But if the are ranked somewhere around "13 to 15", really how good is it? Stoops used to get top ten classes every year. Why all the extreme excitement?
Ryan Aber 11:19 a.m. It's the way it was put together, with the positive momentum over the last month since the Sugar Bowl. True, at No. 15 according to Rivals it ties the lowest-rated class in the last 13 years, but they filled the needs as well as they've done in recent years. They need to keep this momentum going, though, into both the 2014 season and the 2015 recruiting class.
Guest 11:19 a.m. Any word on what Thompson's intentions are?
Ryan Aber 11:19 a.m. Not as of yet. He'll go through this semester and then transfer. He could make his decision anytime but can also wait to see who has the most need after spring football.
Guest 11:20 a.m. What is the situation with the offensive line going into next season? Graduation losses?
Ryan Aber 11:23 a.m. Obviously the biggest loss there is in the middle with Gabe Ikard at center. Bronson Irwin is a big loss as well but Nila Kasitati was serviceable there this season, even splitting time. They return Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams. It remains to be seen whether Adam Shead will be able to return to form. Bill Bedenbaugh liked the progress Dionte Savage showed late in the season.
Lawton 11:23 a.m. What's the back up plan if Knight goes down next year?
Ryan Aber 11:24 a.m. It appears to be Cody Thomas (or Justice Hansen). Coaches said yesterday that there wasn't an "abort" button on Bell's move to tight end, even if Knight get hurt.
Kip 11:24 a.m. Will Bell a down field threat or used more as a big body blocker?
Ryan Aber 11:25 a.m. I would imagine he'll be used primarily as a blocker but if he can show that he has good hands, he might catch a few passes. Doubt he becomes the next Rob Gronkowski.
dr. el prez 11:25 a.m. Ryan, what would be a guestimate of OU's top four receivers next fall after Sterling...pecking order wise?
Ryan Aber 11:26 a.m. After Sterling, I'd go Durron Neal, K.J. Young, Michiah Quick and Derrick Woods. That's a LOT of inexperience, after Neal.
Guest 11:27 a.m. You thoughts on DBs, will any of the freshmen start? Do we have something special or average?
Ryan Aber 11:29 a.m. Not sure any of those new guys will start back there. They'll almost have to play though. I think Steven Parker could be a rotation regular pretty early in the season though. The jury's still out on this group. Can Sanchez handle the lockdown corner role? The biggest question mark to me, maybe on the whole team, is who's tarts at the other safety spot.
Kip 11:30 a.m. How is Mike Stoops feeling about the linebackers? He also seemed very excited about next years defense.
Ryan Aber 11:32 a.m. I think he feels pretty good about them. Dominique Alexander had a really good second half of the season, Frank Shannon was better than expected and Eric Striker might've been their most valuable defensive player. With all of those guys coming back, they won't have much room to fill there. Jordan Evans and Aaron Franklin figure to fill holes when needed. Not sure Tay Evans or Curtis Bolton will play next year. I'd guess they would prefer not to but I think at least one contributes.
Ryan Aber 11:32 a.m. OK, time for two more questions
Will 11:32 a.m. Would any of Stoops' loyal assistants be considered for HC jobs in the future?
Ryan Aber 11:34 a.m. I think after another year or two, Mike Stoops will start getting looks again as there's more time between what he's doing now and his performance at Arizona. Josh Heupel has gotten some nibbles the last few years but seems to be waiting for the right opportunity. I doubt he jumps at a job like Arkansas State, preferring instead to go to a major conference team (guess we can't call it BCS conference anymore, huh?)
Guest 11:35 a.m. Devante Bond, I assume he is JC transfere. What is the scoop on him?
Ryan Aber 11:36 a.m. Yep. He's coming to the Sooners from Sierra Community College, where he had 77 tackles (27 TFL). Probably should've mentioned him earlier. He's got a chance to be a rotation guy if he has a good spring. He chose OU over Airizona State, Ole Miss and Nebraska.
Ryan Aber 11:36 a.m. All right, one more (and wish I had time for more)
Dave in Greenville, SC 11:36 a.m. Really like the way that Coach Montgomery coaches.........very positive approach. Do you have any observations? The d-line really improved throughout the year.
Ryan Aber 11:39 a.m. The big thing is the way he relates to his players. His guys love playing for him, they love working for him and he recruits really well. I think it boils down to the way he relates to the guys. He knows when to have fun, he knows when to go to work and the players know how to read that. He also relates to them in an authentic way. He doesn't listen to the same music they do just to try to seem like he's like them, he listens to the same music they do because that's who he is. Also can't leave out the way he developed those guys this year. Jordan Phillips and Jordan Wade improved by leaps and bounds, Charles Tapper was a disruptive force and the line was able to fill holes when they needed to. I think the job he did up front was as critical a piece as their was in the way the defense performed overall.
Ryan Aber 11:40 a.m. That's it for today. Thanks to everyone for joining us. Look forward to chatting again next week.
Ryan Aber 11:40 a.m. Thanks for joining us today on the chat. We leave you with our latest report on Deondre Clark: If anything breaks between now and Monday, you'll find it on
by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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