Former Texas coach Mack Brown said Oklahoma is the Big 12 Conference favorite this season, but isn’t quite ready to crown his former archrival.
Brown, now working as an ESPN college football analyst, said during a media conference call this week that “this league has much more parity than people would think from outside.”
“We played for the conference championship at Texas last year; all those kids are back,” Brown said. “Baylor has done a tremendous job. They've got their new stadium.
“Anytime you play at Kansas State you have a chance to lose because Bill Snyder coaches as well as anybody in the country.
“You'd have to talk about Oklahoma as the favorite because of the way they finished the season, and what a tremendous game and game plan and quarterback play against Alabama.”
Asked specifically about sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight, Brown said he wants to see more consistency from the Sugar Bowl MVP.
“I have to see more from him, because he struggled some during the season,” Brown said. “But anytime you finish like he did, if he can pick it up and move forward, he can have a great year. I think a whole lot of their hopes are on his shoulders.”
BELL QUICKLY EARNED BOULWARE’S TRUST
Oklahoma tight ends coach Jay Boulware said he won’t put anyone on the field he doesn’t trust.
That’s why senior Blake Bell is atop the first official OU football depth chart at tight end this week, and is expected to start the Sooners’ season opener Saturday evening against Louisiana Tech.
“Every time I put a kid on the field — whether it’s special teams or tight end or any position I’m coaching — I’m telling you I trust you,” Boulware said. “Now it’s up to you to do the job. I’m telling you I have trust in you. You’re helping to feed my daughter.
“I show them that picture that’s in my office. I say, ‘See that little girl right there? When you step on the field for me, you’re telling me you’re helping feed her. I’m trusting you to help feed her.’”
Boulware said Bell’s vast knowledge of the OU offense — learned from years of playing quarterback — helped him pick up his new position so quickly, but also praised Bell’s willingness to learn.
“He’s a student of the game,” Boulware said. “The first day he walked into that meeting room … Blake walks in there with a notepad and a pencil. He’s ready to absorb like a sponge. That right there told me he’s serious about what he’s doing.”
ROMAR TURNING HEADS
One of the most surprising spots on Oklahoma’s depth chart released Monday was at nose.
Jordan Phillips was listed No. 1 after starting four games there last year before a season-ending back injury.
But Jordan Wade, who replaced Phillips after the injury, is fourth on the depth chart. Matt Romar is listed as Phillips’ backup with the versatile senior Torrea Peterson third. Peterson is also listed in the defensive end rotation.
“I’m really excited about what Matt Romar, a redshirt freshman, is doing backup up Jordan Phillips right now,” Stoops said when asked about freshmen who are expected to play.
Stoops also listed running back Samaje Perine, fullback Dimitri Flowers, slot receiver
Michiah Quick, safety Steven Parker and cornerback Jordan Thomas are other freshmen who will play.
Another freshman corner, Marcus Green, could see playing time, but Stoops said he wanted to be sure if that happened that Green was getting enough snaps to make it worth it to burn a possible redshirt season.
Junior linebacker Eric Striker, on the Sooners’ new “Walk of Champions” pregame tradition: “I think that’s cool. You’re able to give a little more love to the fans now. … Some of my teammates have bad ankles and don’t really like to walk. They might have a problem with that, but I don’t.”