DALLAS — The Omni Dallas Hotel will play host to this year’s Big 12 Media Days, with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops; quarterback Trevor Knight; offensive tackle Daryl Williams; defensive back Julian Wilson; and defensive linemen Geneo Grissom and Chuka Ndulue representing the Sooners on Tuesday.
The Sooners are the clear favorites to win the Big 12 Conference in 2014, as evidenced by last week’s preseason media poll. OU received 47 of 56 first-place votes.
Here’s a look at five pressing questions facing the Sooners are we get closer to the 2014 season opener, scheduled for Aug. 30 at home against Louisiana Tech.
5. How will Blake Bell adapt to the tight end position?
Bell, who started eight games at quarterback last season, opted to change positions rather than transfer for his senior season. All reports out of spring practice were good regarding Bell at tight end until an untimely knee injury in April. Because of that, fans never got a chance to see the artist formerly known as the Belldozer in action at his new position. His decision to return to OU certainly earned him respect among his teammates, and he’ll undoubtedly be a team leader in 2014. But will that translate to on-field production?
4. Other than Sterling Shepard, which Sooners will become playmakers in this offense?
Oklahoma lacks much experience at all in the running back and wide receiver positions, meaning lots of guys will have to grow up fast for the Sooners to achieve their lofty goals in 2014. Incoming freshman running back Joe Mixon has generated lots of buzz, and receivers such as Austin Bennett, Durron Neal and Jordan Smallwood had good spring showings.
3. Who will play cornerback opposite Zack Sanchez?
Junior Cortez Johnson and sophomores Dakota Austin and Stanvon Taylor all competed for the spot throughout the spring, but senior Julian Wilson, last year’s starting nickelback, expressed his desire to play cornerback a couple weeks after the Sugar Bowl.
“I enjoyed playing corner in high school,” Wilson said. “We're gonna go through drills and stuff, see how I feel at it. Right now, I feel confident with every position.”
Of course, shoulder surgery killed his chances of getting any work at corner during the spring, but expect him to at least be in the discussion to replace Aaron Colvin on the other side of Sanchez.
2. Who will be the primary ball carrier?
Sophomore Keith Ford seems like the favorite to become Oklahoma’s starting running back at the beginning of the season, but keep an eye on Alex Ross, the redshirt sophomore from Jenks. Mixon, the former five-star prospect from California, is another obvious contender, as is true freshman Samaje Perine. The Sooners might be lacking in experience at running back, but they’re heavy on talent.
1. Can Trevor Knight possibly live up to the expectations?
Knight’s Sugar Bowl MVP performance was spectacular, but that display was so different than anything else he showed last season. Did he truly turn a corner against mighty Alabama, or was it a one-game anomaly? Coaches and teammates raved about Knight’s performance in practice throughout his redshirt year, so it certainly seems likely that he’s talented enough for Sugar Bowl-caliber outings more regularly. Unfortunately for him, he’ll have little experience to work with at the offensive skill positions early in the season.