DALLAS — College football is right around the corner.
Players and coaches arrive Monday morning at the Omni Dallas Hotel to kick off the 2013 preseason with Big 12 Media Days. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, cornerback Aaron Colvin, center Gabe Ikard and fullback Trey Millard will represent the Sooners on Tuesday.
OU was picked to finish second behind Oklahoma State in the Big 12 preseason media poll, and Colvin and Ikard were the only two Sooners selected to the media's preseason All-Big 12 team.
Here are five pressing questions facing OU as we inch closer to the 2013 season opener against Louisiana-Monroe.
5. What improvement can be reasonably expected from Oklahoma's defense in Mike Stoops' second season?
Mike Stoops readily admits that he made mistakes — most notably, leaving linebackers off the field — late last season, when the Sooners faced high-powered spread attacks from Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, surrendering averages of 43 points and 581.25 yards in those games.
OU loses most of its defensive starters, leaving lots of uncertainty surrounding the 2013 Sooner D. Still, many of the Big 12's best quarterbacks have moved on, and that fact alone may help make this season better.
4. Which veterans are under the most pressure to produce?
The Sooner defense is filled with upperclassmen who have something to prove. Senior defensive back Gabe Lynn moves to safety this season after inconsistent play at cornerback and nickelback over the past two seasons. The once-promising Jenks product will have talented true freshmen Hatari Byrd and Ahmad Thomas to fight off if he wants to keep his starting spot.
Senior linebacker Corey Nelson, once among the defense's best players, didn't play much late last season in Mike Stoops' linebacker-less scheme, and admitted that he considered leaving the team because of it. He's capable of an All-Big 12 caliber season if he gets on the field and stays motivated.
Sophomore wide receiver Trey Metoyer is another player under pressure. He was supposed to be an immediate superstar last season as a true freshman, but lost his starting spot after five games and then rarely played. With Kenny Stills and Justin Brown gone, Metoyer will have an opportunity to take a leading role in the receiver corps.
3. How different will Oklahoma's offense look with a new quarterback?