NORMAN — What was looking like a team in rebuilding mode now looks like one ready to make another run at the national championship. That’s what bringing back a Heisman Trophy winner can do.
Quarterback Sam Bradford announced Wednesday that he’ll be returning to Oklahoma for his junior season, putting off entering the NFL Draft for at least another year. That — combined with the news Wednesday that tight end Jermaine Gresham and offensive tackle Trent Williams would also be returning — means the 2009 Sooner offense will be reloading instead of rebuilding despite losing six starters to graduation. "I’m very confident and the people that we have returning... I feel like we’re going to be very solid on offense again,” Bradford said. "I think that one of the strong points of this program is that we’re able to replace players every year.” In 2008, OU became the first team in 104 years to total more than 700 points in a season, and led the nation in scoring, averaging more than 51 points a game. Though the Sooners graduated starting wide receivers Juaquin Iglesias and Manny Johnson, as well as four all-conference offensive linemen, OU should be explosive again on offense with Bradford, Gresham, slot receiver Ryan Broyles and running backs Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray.
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Box to miss springOklahoma linebacker Austin Box is expected to miss spring practice due to elbow surgery, coach Bob Stoops said Wednesday. Box dislocated the elbow as a senior at Enid High School, and injured it again last year causing him to miss most of spring practice. Box, a rising sophomore, has battled several injuries since coming to Norman. He had to undergo arthroscopic surgery last August to repair cartilage damage in his knee, which sidelined him for almost a month. Then, he suffered a knee sprain at Oklahoma State that caused him to miss the Big 12 Championship against Missouri. Box returned for the BCS National Championship but played sparingly as a backup to Mike Balogun. Box is expected to recover by the end of the spring and participate in summer workouts. Stoops said he wasn’t sure yet if any other Sooner would have to undergo off-season surgery. BY JAKE TROTTER