OU football: Can the Sooners win without star power?

by Jason Kersey Published: August 26, 2014

For the second straight year, Oklahoma enters a football season without many accomplished stars on its roster.

The Sooners only put four players on the preseason All-Big 12 team, including a kicker (Michael Hunnicutt), an offensive lineman (Daryl Williams) and a cornerback in Zack Sanchez who had a few uneven performances last year as a true freshman.

Linebacker Eric Striker, who led the Sooners with 6.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in 2013, is the most firmly established star at this point. Striker was named a preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated and ESPN — the only All-America honors for any OU player this summer.

Here’s a look at other seasons that began without Oklahoma having many stars and how the Sooners fared in those years.

2013

Preseason All-Big 12 selections: 2 (C Gabe Ikard, CB Aaron Colvin)

Preseason All-Americans: 1 (Gabe Ikard, Sports Illustrated)

Final record: 11-2, 7-2 Big 12

Postseason All-Big 12 selections: 4 (FB Trey Millard, C Gabe Ikard, DE Charles Tapper, CB Aaron Colvin).

Postseason All-Americans: 1 (Gabe Ikard)

Oklahoma struggled through a year-long quarterback controversy and didn’t have much of an offensive identity for most of the year, but all looks bright entering 2014 because of a 45-31 Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama in which quarterback Trevor Knight emerged as a possible 2014 Heisman Trophy candidate.

2007

Preseason All-Big 12 selections: 3 (OL Duke Robinson, DB Reggie Smith, K Garrett Hartley)

Preseason All-Americans: 0

Final record: 11-3, 6-2 Big 12 (Big 12 champions)

Postseason All-Big 12 selections: 6 (FB Brody Eldridge, OL Duke Robinson, DL Auston English, LB Curtis Lofton, DB Nic Harris, DB Reggie Smith)

Postseason All-Americans: 2 (OL Duke Robinson, LB Curtis Lofton)

A redshirt freshman from Putnam City North named Sam Bradford won the preseason quarterback battle and threw for 3,121 yards, 36 touchdowns and only eight interceptions, and would win the Heisman Trophy a year later. The Sooners beat Missouri in the Big 12 championship game but were routed by West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.

2000

Preseason All-Big 12 selections: 1 (LB Rocky Calmus)

Preseason All-Americans: 0

Final record: 13-0, 8-0 Big 12 (National champions, Big 12 champions)

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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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