OU Report Card: Sooners earn highest marks for Austin Box tribute, Dominique Whaley's debut

BERRY TRAMEL'S OU REPORT CARD — The Tom Wort-led tribute to Austin Box and the start of two Heisman campaigns set the grading curve in Oklahoma's 47-14 season-opening victory over Tulsa.
BY BERRY TRAMEL Staff Writer btramel@opubco.com Published: September 3, 2011
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RUNNING GAME: A

OU's much-discussed 3.3 yards-per-carry last season was a distant memory. Sooner tailbacks averaged 5.4 yards per carry against Tulsa, led by Dominique Whaley's 7.3, and the discounting fourth-teamer Jonathan Miller, that number rises to 5.9.

CONFERENCE SENSITIVITY: C

Player introductions on the video board were really cool looking, but the background was a mesa/desert motif. Maybe Arizona, maybe Utah. Hey, Sooners. You don't have to rub it in. You're not in the Pac-12 yet.

QUARTERBACK CONTAINMENT: B

G.J. Kinne rushed for 190 yards last season against Houston. But the Sooners mostly held Kinne in check. Kinne got free on two scrambles that produced first downs on third-and-longs. The Sooners had three sacks, one each by d-ends Frank Alexander, Ronnell Lewis and R.J. Washington.

KICKOFF COVERAGE: A

Tulsa was missing Damaris Johnson, the NCAA career leader in kickoff return yardage, who was suspended after being involved in an embezzlement case. But still, the Sooners were superb at what has been sorely lacking in recent years. OU kicked off nine times, and Tulsa never advanced the ball past its 30-yard line.