What we don’t know
Can special teams become a strength, or at least not a weakness?
Last year, poor special teams hurt OU in its two biggest games, Texas and Florida, both losses. The Red-White game didn’t do anything to suggest the kicking game will be any better in 2009. Tress Way averaged 37.6 yards a punt, which would’ve ranked 95th in the nation last season. He also didn’t have a kickoff go past the 8-yard line. Place-kicker Jimmy Stevens was 3-of-3 on extra points, but he didn’t even attempt a field goal.
→Can the offensive line protect QB Sam Bradford and pave lanes for the running game?
On the first series of the Red-White game, the line allowed Bradford to be sacked twice, then failed to establish the running game the rest of the day. In fairness, the group was shorthanded due to injuries to Stephen Good and Jarvis Jones, which forced Trent Williams, Brian Simmons, Brian Lepak, Ben Habern, Alex Williams and Cory Brandon to play a ton of snaps. But even in the early going, when they shouldn’t have been tired, the offensive line was whipped by the defense more often than not. Time will tell if this line, which has the potential to be stout, can gel into a championship-caliber unit.