Oklahoma 2011

Oklahoma 2010 Statistics
(Big 12) The Sooners play on a grass field at Memorial Stadium (seats 82,112)

  • Head coach Bob Stoops is in his 13th year at Oklahoma and has made four appearances in the BCS Championship Game, but only has one title to show for it (2000, 2003, 2004, 2008).
  • Josh Heupel joins Jay Norvell as co-offensive coordinator in place of Kevin Wilson, who departs for the Indiana head coaching position.  Heupel will be calling plays and because he has been the quarterback coach at Oklahoma for the last six years, things will probably not change that much.  As a reminder, the last time Oklahoma won a national championship in 2000, Heupel was their quarterback.
  • 2010 was a year for the Sooners to get back on track after a disappointing 2009 outing.  Even though the Sooners finished the 2008 season with a loss to Florida in the BCS Championship game in January 2009, there were still high expectations for them entering the 2009 season, especially with Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Sam Bradford returning for his junior year.  This was probably a naïve view at the time considering that they had to replace four multiyear starters on their offensive line.  Rushing numbers plummeted and Sam Bradford suffered an injury and re-injury that forced him out for the season with a total of just 69 attempts.  Considering Bradford was last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, losing him was a pretty big blow.  But redshirt freshman Landry Jones came in and somehow carried Oklahoma to an 8-5 season.
  • From back-up Quarterback to arguably the best in the FBS. As Sam Bradord’s unexpected replacement, Quarterback Landry Jones wasn’t very accurate and his interceptions ended up being costly.  But last year in his first full season as a starter, Jones made quite an impression and led the Sooners to win the Big 12 Championship and defeat UConn in the Fiesta Bowl.  After losing their last five BCS Bowl games (including three championship games), this win for Oklahoma was critical for their mental state entering 2011.  And Jones is coming off of an incredible season where he completed 65.6% of his passes for 4718 yards and threw 38 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions.  His passing yards were the 2nd most in the nation and his 405 completions broke the Oklahoma single season record.
  • The next most significant piece for this offense is the Offensive Line, which returns 8 starters and didn’t lose any players to the NFL this year. Last year they were expected to improve following a 2009 campaign that required 10 different combinations of offensive linemen as a result of injuries and ineffectiveness.  And while their passing numbers were back to what they were during 2008 when their quarterback won the Heisman and they played for the national title, their rushing numbers continued to decline.  One slight wrinkle so far is that right tackle Jarvis Jones may have to miss some games as a result of a torn patella tendon he suffered in spring practice, which could be an issue with two huge challenges in their schedule in September (at Florida State and vs Missouri).  But the hope is that the line’s experience will help turnaround the poor rushing offense this team has had for the past two years.
  • Otherwise, this offense is in good shape as it returns Oklahoma’s career leading receiver in Ryan Broyles (who turned down a chance at the NFL). And even though DeMarco Murray departs at running back, they have Roy Finch who was limited last year as a true freshman due to injuries, but did get valuable playing experience.  They also have an incoming freshman Brandon Williams who looked great in spring.  The key will be to find a back who can also replace Murray’s receiving production as well—he led all running backs in the FBS last year in receptions.
  • Now for the big question mark:  Defense.  This unit will be the key to determining the success of the 2011 Sooners. Their strength last year was in turnovers and sacks—meaning they did a fine job of getting to the quarterback and disrupting plays.  However, they allowed teams to really move the ball against them and their defense, both against the run and the pass, was average at best.  The team’s leading tackler returns this year in Linebacker Travis Lewis.  And while they do lose some key players, the defense overall is more experienced.  But the biggest loss of all comes from the absence of linebacker Austin Box.  Box took his own life this spring and emotionally this team will either fall apart or rise up to the occasion and play with passion in the name of their lost teammate.
  • Rushing is a question not only on offense but on defense as well. With the prolific passing in the Big 12, the numbers can look rather poor in comparison to other conferences against the pass.  But the expectation is that they should be strong against the run.  Last year’s rushing defense ranked 58th in the nation—a significant decline by comparison to their 2008 season when it ranked 16th.
  • The good news for Oklahoma this year is that due to the musical chairs amongst conferences, the Big 12 is down to 9 teams and will NOT be playing a conference championship game. Which must be a relief for Bob Stoops as in recent years, it’s been almost pointless to play that game with the South division dominating.  That leaves just four big hurdles on the schedule this year with games against Florida State, Missouri, Texas A&M and finally on December 3rd, Oklahoma State (this game is referred to as Bedlam).

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