NORMAN — All's not lost in this 9-3 football season for Oklahoma. The bowl game, even if it's the Insight, provides an opportunity for additional game experience — and practices leading up to it — that could pay off to ensure 2012 isn't a similar disappointment for the Sooners.
Here are five players for which the Iowa game could be important, with an eye toward the future.
That's right, Javon Harris. Harris made a bunch of big plays for the Sooners in 2011. Gave up more of them, however. Talent isn't the issue with Harris; it's playing smart. Too often this season, he has overpursued, trying too hard to make the big play when playing safety — that's why it's called safety — should be his proper motivation.
Harris will be a senior next year, and he'll probably remain a big part of the secondary. It would be a good time for him to get back in the coaches' good graces with a solid effort against a team that, well, doesn't pass all that often.
We've heard a lot about Jackson since the season began, and it seems as if he's got a toe dipped in the water, in terms of performing. What better time to jump in and really show he can be a guy to be counted on in 2012? Jackson appears to have the necessary skills and toughness, the makeup, to be a playmaker.
With Ryan Broyles (knee) and Jaz Reynolds (kidney) out, and Kenny Stills sometimes mentally checking out, why can't Jackson be a major player in the offense? As in, right now.
File Trey Franks — and, heck, even Stills — in the same folder. Those will be the returning players asked to fill Broyles' void next season and beyond. Whatever they do in the bowl could be resume-building stuff so that newcomers such as Sterling Shepard and Trey Metoyer don't take their spots.
You think you had an All-Big 12 season, Mr. Jefferson? Better go play like it, Big Boy. Jefferson's season, as far as tackles go, was pretty consistent. He went from four takeaways in two weeks to one the final seven games, so it's possible Jefferson just spoiled everyone during that binge against Ball State and Texas.