Spring practice for Oklahoma is winding down. Usually, the Sooners practice just once more following their annual spring Red and White game. However, Oklahoma took time off in protest of the racial remarks made by members of the SAE fraternity in March, so they have a few practices to make up. It’s a good thing too, because the spring game last Saturday may have raised more questions than it answered. So, as they continue to move closer towards their allotted practice number, here’s what we know going into next fall (or what we don’t).
OU Still Doesn’t Have A Clear Favorite At QB
While it has been speculated that Baker Mayfield will win the job due to the nature of Lincoln Riley’s newly installed air-raid offense, the position still very much remains up in the air. There are currently four quarterbacks vying for the starting position. Three of which have seen game experience, in Trevor Knight, Mayfield, and Cody Thomas.
Mayfield, the former Big 12 offensive Freshman of the Year, strung together a nice first half of the season at Texas Tech in 2013. Struggles in the second half of the season however, saw him moved to third on the depth chart. After transferring to OU before the 2014 season as a walk on, he was still forced to sit out last season to satisfy NCAA rules.
Knight is the incumbent starter, but last season he struggled for consistency before missing time to injury.
Both Knight and Mayfield have had flashes of brilliance showing what they are ultimately capable of, but neither one has shown that they can maintain that level of play on a regular basis.
The spring game did little to ease those concerns. All of the quarterbacks struggled at times during the game. Both Knight and Mayfield threw interceptions in the game that left fans scratching their heads.
Still there’s lot’s of potential at the position. Knight has noticeably gotten bigger from last season, and his mobility makes him a real weapon. Mayfield has everything you want in a QB, he just needs to make better decisions. Something you would expect to keep improving with experience and maturity. Mayfield may be newer to Oklahoma, but both are new to first-year Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley’s system.
Fans want an answer now, but this is a battle that could go deep into fall camp, and possibly even into the season.
Cody Thomas is considered the dark-horse for the position because of his game managing ability. However, he doesn’t seem likely to win the job as of now due to his supposed lack of play-making ability.
Hansen, the redshirt freshman, comes in as the least likely to win the position this season. Though the young quarterback shows promise in the little that we have seen him, his lack of experience sets him far behind the other quarterbacks.
Dede Westbrook And WR Position Looks Promising
Last season, Oklahoma struggled getting production out of their young wide receivers, especially in the absence of Sterling Shepard, who also missed time due to injury. Dede Westbrook, the JUCO transfer looks to give OU a little more of a spark on the outside. He’s big, and he’s fast. Two very good things. The other name to watch will be Michia Quick, who gives OU a look in the slot with his shifty nature. It’s safe to say the wide out position looks to be better this season.
Too Soon To Weigh In On The Defense
There are those homers in Sooner Nation who will tell you that the defense looked great, or they’re much improved, but the harsh reality is that we won’t know that until OU travels to Knoxville for the second game of the season for their first true test. Say what you want, but the spring game provided no insight as to how this defense will look next season. The biggest question still remains; how the secondary will perform?
There does appear to be improvement from the likes of Steven Parker, and Hatari Byrd, and the defense came up with a few turnovers. So that’s good, but it doesn’t provide any real answers. Getting turnovers was never the issue last season. Getting burnt in coverage was, and frankly, the depth just isn’t there as of right now.
While Mike Stoops moves up to the press box, your guess is as good as mine as to what they will look like next year.
Young Offensive Line
Again, we don’t get to see anything, but OU PR keeps spitting out things like the O-Line is just as beefy as ever, and they will reload this year. Take that with a grain of salt, folks. We have no idea how this offensive line will be. OU’s most successful seasons under Bob Stoops have, and this might come as a surprise to you, been in years in which he has returned an experienced offensive line. That just isn’t the case this year.
Did they look bad in the spring game? No. Did they look good in the spring game? I have no honest clue. They looked like an offensive line that was going up against its own defense who knew what was coming.
Lincoln Riley Is… Interesting
There’s a lot of excitement around the offensive system Lincoln Riley brings with him, but the jury will remain at deliberation until the second or third week or so; when OU fans will be either anointing him for sainthood, or burning him at the stake. The only thing that is worth taking away at this point is that he told fans following the spring game.
“We probably didn’t put as much effort into this practice as we have our others.” Lincoln Riley said in reference to the spring game.