OU football: Sooners should be stout in 2014, but there are a few question marks

Coaches will watch how competition develops at defensive back, wide receiver and running back
by Jason Kersey Published: January 12, 2014


photo - OU's Keith Ford (21) runs through the Texas defense during the Red River Rivalry college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas Longhorns (UT) at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
OU's Keith Ford (21) runs through the Texas defense during the Red River Rivalry college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas Longhorns (UT) at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Who's new: Mark Andrews; Jeffery Mead; Dallis Todd

Analysis: Saunders became the Sooners' most dynamic playmaker on both offense and special teams by the end of his career. He could play both inside and outside. … Woods made a career-long 20-yard catch in the Sugar Bowl, and could make a push for a starting spot. … Shepard returns as one of the Sooners' best overall players, and will assume a more significant leadership role with the unit as a junior. … Franks was suspended the entire 2012 season, moved to safety and then switched back to offense midway through last season. … Todd will enroll early and join the Sooners for spring workouts.

RUNNING BACKS

Who's gone: Brennan Clay*; Roy Finch*; Trey Millard*; Damien Williams*

Who's back: Daniel Brooks (So.); Keith Ford (So.); Aaron Ripkowski (Sr.)*; Alex Ross (So.); David Smith (So.)

Who's new: Dmitri Flowers; Joe Mixon; Samaje Perine

Analysis: Ford averaged 5.8 yards on his 23 rushes last season as a true freshman. He enters 2014 as the likely starting running back. … Mixon, a five-star prospect and the nation's No. 1 all-purpose back according to Rivals, will likely make an immediate impact on the offense as a ballcarrier and receiver out of the backfield. … Ross is immensely talented, but needs to continue maturing before he'll see significant action. … Ripkowski returns as the clear No. 1 fullback after assuming the role when Millard suffered a season-ending knee injury in late October.

— *: Started at least one game in 2013.


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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