Could Oklahoma freshman wide receiver Trey Metoyer use the spring to earn a role in the rotation, possibly start at some point, similar to Kenny Stills his freshman season two years ago?
“Definitely,” Stills said. “He's a big guy and has made some great plays this spring. Hopefully he can have a great spring game and earn himself a spot.”
Said co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell: “Trey has had a great spring but has an awful lot to learn. It's his first spring. But he's an athlete. He's competing hard. He does a lot of things well naturally. Now he's trying to put all that into what we do offensively.
“Our older guys have really helped him — Jaz (Reynolds), Kenny and Trey Franks. Those guys have been here for awhile and have helped him learn. They're accelerating his learning process.”
How does Metoyer compare to Stills as an incoming freshman?
“They have a very similar mentality,” Norvell said. “Trey is very confident. Trey (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) is bigger than Kenny, stronger than Kenny. That's the difference in the two. But he's very explosive.
“I used to love watching him playing basketball. He can get up off the ground so quickly. That transfers to his route running. He has some special hands. He has huge hands. That's one of the things I'm most impressed about him, his ability to catch. He's a vacuum cleaner. He has great ball skills.”
Even though he's one of OU's bigger receivers, Stills gave him the nickname: “Little Trey.”
“He's definitely not little,” Stills said. “But he's little Trey because he's young (while Trey Franks is a veteran). That's just how it goes when you're the young bull.”
DEFENSIVE BACKS WILL BE USED MORE
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has been pleased with his defensive backs depth, the position he coaches.
The Sooners will run their base defense with varying fronts. But to combat offenses that line up four, sometimes five wide receivers, Stoops will implement schemes with six defensive backs.
“I don't know how it will all shake out come September,” Stoops said. “We've got a lot of workouts left (this spring and fall). A lot can happen between now and then. But we're going to need them all. We'll play six DBs if we have to.
“You can't have linebackers out there matched up on the skill players we see week in and week out. We have to have some flexibility to get into some other stuff. We don't want that advantage to always be slanted to the offense when you have linebackers out there.”
SPRING CAMP NEARING AN END
Fifteen spring practices, in addition to classroom responsibilities, can be a grind for some players, especially younger players who are competing for spots on the depth chart.
“It's gone good,” Mike Stoops said. “You get tired at the end of spring. It's heading into our fifth week. I think the kids will be anxious to get it over with. But it's been successful. We're gaining an identity.”
With practices closed to fans and the media, one intriguing question each spring and fall: which players are standing out?
Two names you hear frequently defensively are linebackers Frank Shannon and Daniel Franklin. Both have made an impression this spring.
DEFENSIVE LINE IS BANGED UP
Defensive linemen Casey Walker, Stacy McGee and David King have all played sparingly during spring camp with minor injuries.
“We've been mixing and matching,” Stoops said. “We don't have a lot of continuity in our defensive line at this point. We haven't had it all spring. But we're developing a lot of young players. That's what I'm kind of excited about.
“But we have to get our (three) starters back in there. We're without some pieces right now.”
Young players like Jordan Phillips, Damon Williams, Torrea Peterson and Marquis Anderson are getting more reps. Phillips is unique. The redshirt freshman is 6-foot-6, 330 pounds but extremely athletic.
Defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland witnessed Phillips perform a standing-still back-flip early upon his arrival before the acrobatic move was prohibited. He's seen Phillips slam dunk a basketball two-handed, the ultimate sign of a great vertical leap.
“When I saw him do that it was amazing,” McFarland said. “But we've got versatility. We have guys with speed, guys with size, run stuffers and pass rushers. Coaches are working to put us all in the right spot.”