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August 25, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #10 Oklahoma Sooners


2009 Record – 8-5, 5-3 Big 12
Bowl Game – Sun Bowl – Beat Stanford 31-27
Letterman Returning: 47
Stadium – Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (82,112)
College Location – Norman, OK
Coach – Bob Stoops, 117-29 (12th year)


Key Returnees – RB DeMarco Murray (below), WR Ryan Broyles, QB Landry Jones, G Stephen Good

Key Losses – QB Sam Bradford, T Trent Williams, RB Chris Brown, TE Jermaine Gresham, TE Brody Eldridge

- Head coach Bob Stoops offense has revolved around one key position – the quarterback. Having a successful and poised quarterback in Stoops system is about as important as an applause sign for the audience on George Lopez’s, Lopez Tonight. And successful quarterbacks the Sooners have had; Josh Heupel, Jason White, Paul Thompson, Sam Bradford and now Landry Jones. Jones’s success was more of a mistake more than anything. He wasn’t supposed to be the guy last season with former No.1 draft choice Sam Bradford still around. Bradford went down, however, and the red-shirt freshman, wide-eyed and all, stepped up. Jones, a highly touted recruit two years previous out of New Mexico, started 10 games last season throwing for 3,198 yards with a 58.1 completion percentage. His 26-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio was better than Heupel’s National Championship 2000 season, 20-14 ratio. Around Norman, however, wins are how a quarterback is ranked, and those are sure to come with age for Jones. The receiving core for the Sooners is experienced and talented, led by All-American candidate, Ryan Broyles. Broyles busted onto the Sooner scene last year as a sophomore catching 89 passes for 1,120 yards and 15 scores. His 5’11’’ 180 pound frame and tremendous separation speed reminds a lot of country folk around Norman of pass wideout Mark Clayton. Junior, DeJuan Miller and senior Brandon Caleb are experienced players, both of which brought in over 400 yards last season. The running game features a pair of exciting running backs that may not possess Adrian Peterson’s power or Quinton Griffin’s shiftiness, but manage to get the job done for Boomer Sooner. Senior, DeMarco Murray and sophomore, Jermie Calhoun, give the OK offense a balanced attack. Murray rushed for 705 yards last season with eight touchdowns. One thing Murray may have on both Griffin and Peterson at this stage in their careers is his ability to catch the football, finishing second on the team with 41 catches for 522 yards and four scores last season.


Key Returnees – OLB Travis Lewis (below), DE Jeremy Beal, S Quinton Carter, DT Adrian Taylor

Key Losses – DT Gerald McCoy, CB Dominique Franks, MLB Keenan Clayton, OLB Ryan Reynolds, CB Brian Jackson

- Judging the Sooner defense last season simply by looking at the wins in the win column and losses in the loss column is a lot like writing a movie review by watching only the trailer. When the defense was on last season it was good, real good. Think Russell Crowe, Gladiator good. When the defense seemed to struggle, it was like an immovable force from the screen. Think Paul Walker, Fast and the Furious 2 bad. Enough with the movies though. Statistically, the Boomer Sooner defense had its best season since 2003. The wagon bearers gave up an average of just 14.5 points a game and only 273 total yards. Its 93 yards and 2.8 average given up in the rush game was best since the ’05 campaign. In four games the defense held opponents to a 1.6 or lower yards per rush. Idaho State rushed 32 times for -22 yards, you do the math. Returning to the defense, however, are just five starters. Top NFL talent Gerald McCoy and Dominique Franks depart, but two remain with equally impressive resumes. Along the defensive line, senior end Jeremy Beal returns as the Sooners top pass rusher from last season. Beal brought in 11 sacks to go with 19 tackles for a loss and 70 total tackles. Beal was overshadowed last season by McCoy and is in store for a stellar senior campaign. Senior tackle, Adrian Taylor, also returns. Taylor had seven tackles for a loss, to go with 3.5 sacks. Filling the departed should be sophomore tackle, Jamarkus McFarland and junior end, Frank Alexander. At linebacker, junior All-American, Travis Lewis anchors a tough unit. Lewis, a previous freshman of the year in the Big 12, led the Sooners with 109 stops last season. Redshirt freshman, Tom Wort, fills the void in the middle. Wort, who tore his ACL and was forced to take the redshirt, was one of the top prep linebackers and was known throughout the web for his highlight tapes hits. Ronnell Lewis, a sophomore, takes the starting spot over at the other outside position and may be an even harder hitter than Wort. In the secondary, the Sooners return two starters in senior Quinton Carter and junior Sam Proctor. Carter finished second on the team with 88 tackles last season and found a nose for the ball with 9 passes defended and four interceptions. More is expected of Proctor in 2010 after a un- sensational sophomore season. Corners Jonathan Nelson and Demontre Lewis are expected to step into starting positions at corner. Nelson, as a reserve last season, still garnered honorable mention all-conference honors.


- In this decade, losses aren’t something the Sooner fans have come to deal with quite often. Last season’s 8-5 record was just the second time in 10 years Oklahoma finished below 11 wins. BCS bowls under Stoops have been as common as morning rain in Seattle. Wins in those bowl games are kind of like a morning shower in Tempe however. Last season, the Sooners took on a set of out of conference schools in BYU and Miami, with the outcome in favor of the opponent - one point losses in each game. This season the out of conference list gets maybe a big less challenging, however, just as taxing, to the season. Three straight home games kick off the Sooners schedule in visits from Utah State, Florida State and Air Force. The Florida State matchup may stick out the most, but the Sooners should be wearier of the Falcons, Sept. 18. A two week grind at the end of September and begining of October starts in games at Cincinnati, Sep. 25, and against Texas in Dallas, Oct. 2. The Sooners are 1-4 in the last five meetings against the Longhorns. A home and away, back and forth battle, begins Oct. 16 with a home visit from Iowa State, trip to Missouri, Oct. 23, home visit from Colorado, Oct. 30, trip to Texas A&M, Nov. 6, home visit from Texas Tech, Nov. 13, and trip to Baylor, Nov. 20. Looks like someone had an up and down day in the Sooner athletics department. A trip to Stillwater ends the season against Oklahoma State, Nov. 27. The Sooners have owned the Cowboys as of late, with an impressive 5-0 mark to their record, including last season’s 27-0 shutout.

Schedule rating: B

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Blake Bell (left), *#4 QB, 6-6 215, Wichita, KS

Bell is a tall and skilled pocket passer who fills the mold of a typical Sooner quarterback.

2.) Brennan Clay, #6 RB, 5-11 190, San Diego, CA

A sprinting champion in high school, Clay has tremendous open field running ability and shiftiness.

3.) Kenny Stills, #9 WR, 6-1 175, Encinitas, CA

Another California product heading to Norman, Stills was an early graduate and impressed coaches in spring football. He may see the field real soon.

4.) Corey Nelson, #4 OLB, 6-1 200, Dallas, TX

It may take some time before Nelson plays because of his size, but his instincts and speed are parts of his game that can’t be taught.

5.) Justin McCray, #10 WR, 6-4 200, Shawnee Mission, KS

Along with Stills, McCray brings a lot of optimism to the future of the wideout position for the Sooners.

*Rankings according to


Bell: William Purrell

Lewis: WD/Icon SMI

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