Jake Trotter on Ryan BroylesNo team in college football uses the tight ends as much or as well as Oklahoma. But OU won’t just be using Jermaine Gresham, the nation’s No. 1 tight end, as a pass-catcher. He’ll be a blocker, too. In reality, the Sooners will have two go-to guys in 2009 in Gresham and Ryan Broyles. But because he’ll be playing in the slot and at wideout, Broyles will be the go-to guy more often. Make no mistake, Gresham will obviously be a big part of the offense. And in red-zone situations, he’ll be the first player Bradford looks to. But last season, Gresham caught more than five passes in a game during the regular season only twice. It’s hard to envision Broyles, who won’t be coming off the field no matter the situation, not reeling in at least 7-8 passes a game because of his ability to get open and the uncertainty at the other receiving spots. After all, last year Broyles averaged almost four catches per game as OU’s third or fourth option and set several OU freshman receiving records. Count on that production to increase significantly next season.
John Helsley on Jermaine GreshamThe Sooners featured tight end Jermaine Gresham throughout 2008, making him a feared threat in the passing game. Nobody caught more touchdown tosses for OU and only Juaquin Iglesias caught more passes. Still, it’s time to take it to another level. The Sooners have shown they’ll go to Gresham. Now they should make him the go-to guy. Gresham is the college version of Antonio Gates, the NFL tight end who regularly wreaks havoc on enemy secondaries for the San Diego Chargers. Only Gresham is bigger – 6-foot-6 and 261 pounds to Gates’ 6-4 and 260. Someday, Gresham may even rival Gates at the next level. For now, Gresham has no rival in college. And the Sooners should treat Gresham like Gates, which means make him Option A in the passing game. OU has questions at the wideout spots, where Iglesias and Manny Johnson have moved on. Ryan Broyles offers speed and big-play ability, but at 5-11 and 175 could run into some bad matchups opposite bigger, physical defensive backs. Gresham can’t be matched. Not by a linebacker or a safety or even a corner. So go to Gresham, Sooners. Often.