Raise your hand if you thought redshirt freshman Sam Bradford was going to lead the country in pass efficiency in 2007.
Bradford was a revelation in 2007. Many Sooner fans would have been satisfied with the Oklahoma City native just acting as a caretaker for the offense, but he ended up taking the OU offense to heights it hasn't reached since Heisman winner Jason White left town. Now, he returns to lead offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson’s high-octane attack, which supposedly will feature a touch of no huddle in 2008.
OU doesn't really need Bradford to put up the same kind of numbers this year that he did in 2007 to be successful. But the Sooners will need Bradford to be better on the road.
The dirty little secret of Bradford's debut season was that he rolled up his big numbers in Oklahoma, while he struggled at times outside the state. In an upset loss to Colorado, for example, Bradford completed just eight of 19 passes for a measly 112 yards, along with a touchdown and two interceptions. Bradford threw for 183 yards and an interception in a bizarre win over conference patsy Iowa St. in Ames. In contrast, the quarterback had three games in Norman with at least four touchdown passes, and he only threw three INTs in seven home games.
Let's be real about Bradford, though. Complaining about his composure on the road is nit-picking at its finest. With plenty of talent at receiver, a stable of playmakers in the backfield and an imposing line up front, there's no reason to think Bradford won't be even better in 2008.
While OU’s past success with quarterback transition is notable, senior Joey Halzle
has the pedigree of a career college backup. Halzle did a laudable job keeping the Sooners competitive after Bradford was knocked out of the Texas Tech game. Still, with just true freshman Landry Jones
behind Halzle, keeping Bradford healthy could be the difference between a national championship berth and a pre-New Year’s trip to the Alamo Bowl.
(This Weekend: Linebackers)