New receivers catch on quickly for No. 14 Sooners

Associated Press Modified: November 22, 2012 at 11:31 am •  Published: November 22, 2012
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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — As training camp began at Oklahoma, quarterback Landry Jones had only one receiver present who had ever caught one of his passes before in a game.

That hasn't kept one of the NCAA's most productive passers ever from another prolific season.

Plugging transfers and freshmen into the lineup, the 14th-ranked Sooners (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) are averaging 334 yards passing. That puts them eighth in the nation, even though four other teams from the pass-happy Big 12 are in front of them.

That includes No. 22 Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2), the Sooners' opponent this Saturday in the Bedlam rivalry game.

Junior Kenny Stills was the only returning receiver available after All-American Ryan Broyles departed for the NFL and coach Bob Stoops suspended three others — Kameel Jackson, Trey Franks and Jaz Reynolds. Jackson decided to transfer, but questions about when the others might return from suspension have faded away as their replacements have made them afterthoughts.

Senior Justin Brown filled one hole with a veteran, transferring in from Penn State shortly after training camp began. Jalen Saunders, Fresno State's top receiver last season, was declared eligible by the NCAA just before the Red River Rivalry game against Texas in October and immediately claimed a starting role in the slot. Freshmen Sterling Shepard, Trey Metoyer and Durron Neal have also chipped in from time to time.

"I'm so pleased about them. When you look at that group starting the year, it was one of the biggest question marks in the conference, and now they're a strong, good group," Stoops said. "And what's helped now is Landry is comfortable with all of them, so he can just go through his reads and not have to force the ball to one particular guy."

On Saturday night, Jones set a school record with 554 yards passing in a wild 50-49 win at West Virginia. Stills caught four of Jones' six touchdown passes, the most ever by an Oklahoma wide receiver. Brown, Stills, Shepard and Saunders each had at least 90 yards receiving.

Running back Damien Williams, another new addition who transferred in from junior college, caught six passes for 71 yards.

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