Thursday, August 30, 2007

2007 Season Preview: Oklahoma Sooners

In preparation for the 2007 College Football season, Drinking the Forty will look at every team in the Big XII, sizing up the conference for the 2007 season.

2006 proved to be one of the most impressive coaching jobs by head coach Bob Stoops. After the Rhett Bomar scandal, Oklahoma was forced to enter the season without a true quarterback, in Paul Thompson. After losing the Red River Shootout, Oklahoma fell to 3-2, and things looked bleak. However, Stoops was able to lead the Sooners to eight straight victories, a Big XII Championship, and a BCS bowl appearance.

This season, redshirt freshman Sam Bradford takes over the offense that must reestablish themselves as a potent offense in the Big XII. With the injury in 2006 to Adrian Peterson, the Sooners were able to see the talents of senior Allen Patrick (761 yds/4 TD). With Patrick taking over on the ground, it should take a lot of the pressure to carry the team off Bradford. Bradford will also benefit from returning all of his receivers from a year ago, in juniors Malcom Kelly (62 rec/993 yds), Juaquin Iglesias (41 rec/514 yds), and Manuel Johnson (36 rec/378 yds). If Bradford can come in and perform well, he very well could put up the kind of numbers that Colt McCoy put up his first season with the Longhorns. However, all eyes will be on freshman tailback DeMarco Murray, out of Las Vegas. He is being touted as possibly the top freshman running back in the country, and could be a major contributor this season if not the starter by the end of the season. Whether he is or not, this Sooners offense could potentially be a top unit this year. It all depends how Sam Bradford handles the spotlight and uses the weapons he has at his disposal.

Last season the Sooners defense was one of the top units in the country, giving up under 100 yards a game on the ground and under 200 yards a game through the air. However, Oklahoma will have to fill some holes off that defense as they lost their entire linebacking corps as well has half their defensive line. They will rely heavily on their secondary where they return three of four starters from a year ago. Regardless, this is a good defensive system, with an abundance of talent, and Oklahoma's defense should once again be one of the top units in the country.

Like every season, Oklahoma's true test will be the Red River Shootout against #4 Texas. However, they will be tested early as Miami will come to town in week 2. However, they should be able to handle Missouri, #25 Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State at home, and should have too much talent for Miami or Texas Tech. This season will come down to October 6th against the Longhorns in Dallas, TX. If they can come out of Dallas with a victory they will have their eyes set on a National Championship, and if they don't, they will still be in play for a BCS birth.

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