First Practice: March 9th
Spring Game: April 13th
Life around Norman is sure to be different this spring for Bob Stoops and Co. It's safe to say you could even call it a bit of a getting to know you kind of spring. Gone is Landry Jones - just another in a long line of productive, if not spectacular signal callers for the Sooners. Gone are seven defensive starters from a season ago and in are three new assistant coaches.
So, ya things are a changing for Boomer Sooner to say the least. The one thing that hasn't changed though are the expected results. OU has been at or near the top of the Big 12 for the vast majority of Bob Stoops' time in Norman and they'll be looking to build on that tradition anew this spring.
Can they find the answers they are looking for in just 15 practices, or will they head into fall camp with more questions than answers when the dust settles on the spring game? Let's explore those questions and more as we dive into the Oklahoma program for the spring.
Stability Factor: (1= chaos, 5= rock solid) 3.25
Bob Stoops is about as entrenched a head coach as there is in the country, unless he starts losing games he has no business ever losing again... Then it could be rocky times for the veteran ball coach. Add in quite a few unknown variables along the coaching staff, at quarterback, and all over the defense and you've got the recipe for quite an interesting spring.
One that could go great or could leave us all with more questions and for that we can't see this program as being quite on solid footing at the moment, but it could be when it's all said and done.
Under the Microscope: Defensive Tackle
LB's may get all the glory and all the ladies, but the interior of the defensive line does a lot of the dirty work to make the rest of the D look good and at OU this is the position (outside of QB, but more on that later) that will be the most watched.
Luckily for the players on hand there aren't many guys to compete with as the Sooners will only be able to line up three DT's this spring. Those are redshirt freshman Jordan Wade, sophomore Jordan Phillips, and junior Torrea Peterson - not exactly a who's who of defensive tackles that come to mind and that's because Peterson and Wade didn't see the field last season and Phillips only managed to play in five games last season. Talk about baptism by fire, huh?
Locke and Loaded: Wide Receiver
Now, of course this is predicated on the Sooners finding a replacement for Landry Jones, but whomever fills that role will have a plethora of options on hand and will have a returning Jaz Reynolds available to them as well. Reynolds had 41 catches in just 9 games back in 2011, but was suspended for the entire 2012 season and must abide by the rules to get back on the field. He's not the only one with a history of good play as Jalen Saunders, who had 62 receptions in 2012, is back as well.
Overall there are 4 receivers who have caught passes on the roster and there is a lot of talent at this group in general. This is the last place the Sooners need to be looking at on a roster full of bigger holes to fill.
Jockeying for Position: Quarterback
Replacing a four year starter at QB is never easy no matter what school you are at and how "loaded" your roster looks to be. However, this is one of the nation's more intriguing battles at the QB spot because of the emphasis OU puts on passing the ball.
There are two names to really watch for and one of them is a name we should all know in Blake "Belldozer" Bell. He's a mammoth of a QB as his nickname would spell out, but he's also got an arm on him. Can he, as the most experienced player, grab the reigns and hold on? Or will it be someone like Trevor Knight, who people I've talked to think has the best arm of the bunch. It's a classic case of youth, but potential vs. experience, but with question marks.
Don't expect the battle to be won in spring alone, however expect at least one or two to emerge as frontrunners coming out of the spring.
Name to Know: Trey Metoyer, WR
This should be a name somewhat familiar to those folks who can remember all the way back to spring football of 2012. He was the star of the Oklahoma camp and vaulted himself into a spot as a starting wide receiver as a freshman on the OU team.
However, not everything ended up rosy for him as he went from the penthouse to the outhouse as the season went on, amassing only 17 catches for 148 yards and 1 touchdown. His longest reception only went for 27 yards and as an outside wide receiver in this system he's got to be better.
Can Metoyer become the star he was last spring and vault himself back into the conversation as a potential play maker in his sophomore campaign? Having a new QB and a new attitude about it all certainly can't hurt his chances.
Spring Will be a Success If.... Leaders emerge.
Oklahoma is going to be a vastly different team in 2013 and that could be a good thing for a team that has lost 15 games over the past five seasons. That's wholly unlike the OU teams of the early 2000's and perhaps this turn to a younger team will allow them a fresh start and a chance this spring to allow new leaders to come forward. Not only leaders for this team, but leaders across a team that will have 11 new starters on this team as a whole. OU doesn't need to have winners come forward all over the place, but it sure would be nice to see some clear frontrunners emerge from some key position groups heading into the fall.