NORMAN — Oklahoma wide receiver Derrick Woods stood on the Sugar Bowl sideline Jan. 2, literally praying for an opportunity to make an impact.
A few plays later, on third-and-12, quarterback Trevor Knight threw toward Woods, who jumped into the air, caught the ball and held on despite being upended from behind by an Alabama defender. The 20-yard gain helped set up a second-quarter field goal in the Sooners’ 45-31 upset victory.
“When it's your time, it's your time,” Woods said. “I mean, you've gotta perform when it's your time.”
The 2014 season will be filled with similar opportunities for all of the Sooners’ talented, yet inexperienced wideouts. The only receiver back with any significant game experience is junior Sterling Shepard.
“We’re just trying to see who’s gonna be the playmaking guys and see who’s gonna be dependable on the field,” Shepard said.
Other than Shepard, the only receivers on the roster with a career reception are junior Durron Neal, and sophomores Woods and Austin Bennett.
Combined, those three players have 22 career catches for 303 yards and zero touchdowns.
Bennett was the Sooners’ leading receiver in last weekend’s spring game, hauling in four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt freshman Jordan Smallwood grabbed three receptions for 60 yards and a score, while Woods caught three passes for 53 yards.
Neither Shepard nor Neal played in the spring game while recovering from minor injuries.
Other receivers expected to make a run at playing time are redshirt freshmen K.J. Young and Dannon Cavil.
The Sooners also added lots of receiver talent in their 2014 signing class, so expect Dallis Todd, Mark Andrews, Michiah Quick and Jeffery Mead to have their opportunities as well.
“It’s real intense,” Bennett said of the spring competition among wide receivers. “All the guys are out there working hard. When you have somebody behind you that’s just as good as you are, it just makes you practice even harder.
“With all the competition that we have, it’s gonna make us even better for the fall.”