Sooners look to climb back on top

The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off a cotton bowl thrashing at the hands of Texas A&M and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, which I am sure everyone from Norman would rather soon forget. But with a new season come new challenges and new expectations. This year Oklahoma has been pushed into the underdog role with experts focusing on Oklahoma State as the top dog in the Big XII. But don’t count the Sooners out; they are looking to regain their stranglehold on the Big XII.

This year the Sooners will be breaking in a new starting quarterback, but of the four quarterbacks on the roster each of them has seen some playing time. Junior Blake Bell looks to be the starter favored this season, which most will know him as the short yardage guy from last year. It will be interesting to see if he can live up to the shoes left by Sam Bradford and Landry Jones.

Also this year they will be showing some “new blood” at the running back position, but returning senior Damien Williams will be the main guy and looks to crest 1,000 yards after falling about 60 yards shy last season. The one big question mark for the Sooners offense will be their Receiving corps, but they do have two returning seniors in Jalen Saunders and Jaz Reynolds. If those two can carry the brunt and get help, then the Sooners may be able to match last year’s production. Protecting Bell won’t be much of an issue because the Sooners return one of the best o-lines in the country this season, which should also help Williams get near that 1,000 yard mark.

The last taste of the Sooners defense was being shredded by the Aggies and this year they are hoping to fix that and keep other teams from hanging points on them with ease. Last year three of the last four games they played, the opponent scored over 40 points. They are going to have trouble keeping that down this year because they have a less experienced defensive line. They will rely mostly on their linebackers who return a little more experienced and hope to have better defensive stats than they did last season.

Much like the rest of the defense, the secondary is noticeably weaker and less experienced this season. But under Stoops, the Sooners have had luck turning a weak secondary into strength. Their best Cover corner, Senior Aaron Colvin returns this year and will look to be a shut down guy so the rest of the secondary can platoon the receivers and keep them from running free.

Overall I think the Sooners will be in the top of the Big XII again this year, but they have their work cut out for them with five or six potential games against ranked opponents away from home this year. Not to mention their final game of the year is Bedlam at Stillwater. This could be a rough year for the Sooners, or it could be a surprising year where they achieve greatness. Just know the Sooners will be in contention for the Big XII until the very end and could possibly be a quiet National Championship contender if things go their way. But unfortunately for the Sooners, the ranked teams and tough road games may prevent that this year.

8/31-Louisiana Monroe-W
9/7-West Virginia-W
9/28-At Notre Dame-L
10/19-At Kansas-W
10/26-Texas Tech-W
11/7-At Baylor-W
11/16-Iowa St.-W
11/23-At Kansas St.-L
12/7-At Oklahoma St.-L
2013 Record: 8-4


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