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Oklahoma football: Why the Sooners' future is now

OU at KANSAS STATE — The future looks brighter than the present for an Oklahoma team whose preseason goals have faded. But Bob Stoops insists the young players who give coaches optimism for next season also give the Sooners the best chance to win Saturday in Manhattan.
by Jason Kersey Published: November 22, 2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. — With two regular-season games and a bowl left to play, Oklahoma's loftiest preseason goals are unattainable.

Not all is lost, though. The Sooners can still win 10 games; claim a Bedlam victory; and simply play for pride, coach Bob Stoops said last week.

“Each week you're doing your very best to make the season as positive as it can be,” Stoops said a few days after his team was routed by Baylor.

But there's another intriguing element to the remainder of the schedule, including today's game at Kansas State. Considering the bevy of young Sooners playing significant roles, there appear to be plenty of reasons to be excited about next season.

“We're just scratching the surface, but players are starting to take pride in what we do,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of his young players like defensive end Charles Tapper, linebackers Eric Striker and Dominique Alexander; and cornerback Zack Sanchez.

“These are young guys that are starting to lead and lead in the right way. They'll be the cornerstone of our transition as we move forward with this group.”

Indeed, OU's defensive future looks especially bright considering the unit's performance following significant injuries to key starters.

When sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was lost for the season to a back injury, redshirt freshman Jordan Wade stepped in and has played well.

Senior linebacker and captain Corey Nelson suffered a season-ending pectoral tear in the Sooners' fifth game. But Alexander, a true freshman, replaced him and is now OU's second-leading tackler.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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