NORMAN — Oklahoma began its 2014 campaign with a 48-16 rout of overmatched Louisiana Tech.
Here’s a look at our coverage for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com, followed by a few quick thoughts:
* My game story: Keith Ford, Sooners RBs run to 48-16 win over La. Tech
* Jenni Carlson’s column: Big win over La. Tech gave walk-on linebacker Caleb Gastelum a night he won’t forget
* From Ryan Aber: Ejection of Jordan Evans, suspension of Frank Shannon force Sooners to deal with LB depth issues
* Our OU notebook, with items on Blake Bell, OU’s blocked field goal, Tyler Evans and Sterling Shepard.
* Q&A with quarterback Trevor Knight
* What they’re saying about Saturday’s game
* OU-Louisiana Tech by the numbers
* Jenni Carlson’s OU report card
Other random thoughts, notes and observations:
* Offensive starters: QB Trevor Knight; HB Alex Ross; FB Dimitri Flowers; WR Sterling Shepard; WR Durron Neal; TE Blake Bell; OT Tyrus Thompson; OG Adam Shead; C Ty Darlington; OG Tyler Evans; OT Daryl Williams.
* Defensive starters: DE Chuka Ndulue; DT Jordan Phillips; DE Charles Tapper; LB Eric Striker; LB Jordan Evans; LB Dominique Alexander; LB Geneo Grissom; CB Zack Sanchez; FS Ahmad Thomas; SS Quentin Hayes; CB Julian Wilson.
* After this insane offseason, I was so incredibly happy to finally be covering an actual football game.
* Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who had his NCAA waiver request denied after transferring from Missouri, was with the team in his No. 11 jersey and shorts. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was dressed exactly the same.
* After the team ran out out of tunnel, Green-Beckham jogged to the other end zone and found kicker Nick Hodgson, who was praying on his knee. DGB put his hand on Hodgson’s right shoulder, knelt down and joined him.
* I was pretty surprised that Alex Ross started at running back. I’ve been saying since the 2014 Sugar Bowl ended that I thought Keith Ford would be the starter when this season began, and Ford was introduced on the Jumbotron as the starting running back.
* Ross caught a swing pass on the first play from scrimmge and picked up 15 yards. Then he carried the ball on three of OU’s next four plays.
* Ford’s 22-yard touchdown run to cap that opening drive was impressive because of his breakaway speed. I — and, I assume most people — have always thought of Ford as more of a power back, but he showed he’s got some wheels, too.
* Ford and Ross have pass catching skills that add a whole new dimension to this offense. Ford was, oddly, the team’s leading receiver this week.
* Considering Ross and Ford got the bulk of the early carries, it’s a little weird that Samaje Perine ended up with the most carries and most yards for OU. I think Perine is going to be really, really special by the time it’s all said and done.
* Perine is also already an excellent interview. He said some interesting and funny — and some really head-scratching — things during his postgame session with reporters.
* Of the head-scratching variety was this: “I think we are one of the strongest — if not the strongest — running back groups that’s ever come through Oklahoma.”
* OU replaced its starting defensive line unit with an entirely new group early in the first half. Charles Walker, Matt Romar and Matt Dimon all entered the game, which says to me that this is the deepest defensive line the Sooners have had in several years.
* The Jordan Evans targeting call was the right one. Unfortunate that it happened so early, and I realize that sometimes in football these penalties are going to happen even if they are unintentional. But by the letter of the law, Evans targeted.
* Seriously, what if something had happened to Caleb Gastelum? Would Sooner coaches have remained so committed to their no-Frank-Shannon strategy? I’m guessing they probably would have, just because the Shannon benching has probably come from the university’s higher-ups, but still would be interesting.
* When Evans’ ejection was confirmed, Shannon didn’t act for a single second like he thought he might go in. I didn’t even see him holding his helmet at all during the game. Such a strange, strange situation.
* Shannon, you’ll recall, was the team’s leading tackler last season.
* For more on the Shannon situation, check out my story from his lawyer’s Friday news conference.
* Caleb Gastelum deserves a scholarship.
* I was really impressed with Blake Bell’s play at tight end. He blocked well. Too bad he didn’t catch any passes, but here’s betting he ends up with several catches by the end of the season.
* Good for Tyler Evans. After missing two straight seasons with ACL tears, it was neat to see him back out there. Evans started in place of Nila Kasitati, who was held out as a precautionary measure.
* The Cortez Johnson situation is really weird. Stoops said his staff couldn’t get in touch with him after the depth chart came out and he wasn’t on it. The head ball coach basically said that Johnson might have quit, but that he’ll find out for sure on Monday.
* Stoops didn’t have any idea where Quincy Russell was tonight. Weird. Remember when he was the almighty savior of the Sooner defensive line? That was only a year ago.
* The following true freshmen played tonight: OL Jonathan Alvarez, FB Dimitri Flowers, LS Wesley Horky, WR Jeffery Mead, DB Steven Parker, RB Samaje Perine, WR Michiah Quick, CB Jordan Thomas.
* The following true freshmen can still redshirt after tonight: WR Mark Andrews, LB Curtis Bolton, OL Orlando Brown, OL Alex Dalton, LB Tay Evans, OL Kenyon Frison, DT Courtney Garnett, CB Marcus Green, QB Justice Hansen, TE Carson Meier, DE Dwayne Orso, OL Joseph Paul, WR Dallis Todd, CB Tito Windham.
* That’s all for tonight. We’ll have plenty more on the Sooners’ win and the season moving forward all weekend in The Oklahoman and on NewsOK.com.
PEEKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT GAME
Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) at Tulsa (1-0, 1-0 AAC)
When: Saturday, Sept. 6; 11 a.m.
Where: H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa
TV: ABC (KOCO — Cox 8/HD 705, Dish 5, DirecTV 5, U-verse 5/1005)
Radio: KOKC-AM 1520, KRXO-FM 107.7