Sooner fans are looking forward to getting a better idea of what Taylor McNamara can do in pads. (Photo courtesy: ESPN.com)
One of the most exciting parts of starting a new college football season is the anticipation of finding out what the newcomers have to offer.
Upper-tier programs like Oklahoma always tend to have a couple fresh faces who can't be kept off the field. This season should prove to be no exception.
We'll start with the redshirts and follow up tomorrow with the true freshmen. OU played a host of true freshmen in 2012, so today's list is pretty small.
Tyler McNamara/Sam Grant: Let’s start with the most obvious – the dynamic freshman tight end duo who can hopefully restore the position at OU, or at least get the TE back on the field this year.
McNamara had a good spring, but the lingering memory from him was a bad drop off a beautiful seam route pass by Bell in the spring game. It was exactly the kind of deep throw to the TE that has been missing from the offense.
Grant seemed to have a good spring, doing a good job blocking. He also showed off some nice receiving skills.
Jordan Wade: Panic at defensive tackle. Pretty much a rampant disease for OU fans since the top – and I use that term loosely – four DTs from last year all graduated.
Wade (6-4, 300) could be a huge piece of the puzzle in the DT two-deep. Can Jerry Montgomery get quality reps out of him year one after his redshirt year? Athletically, the talent is there, and Wade has better physical stature than any of the DTs from last year.
David Smith/Alex Ross: OU has four senior running backs who should be getting the bulk of the carries. However, no position can have depth disappear faster than RB. Remember 2011? An injury to Brennan Clay or Damien Williams puts Smith or Ross right in the playing rotation as the second “big” running back.
Smith looked very good in the spring game. If Ross can ever stay healthy, his abundant physical gifts could really help OU’s running game.
Derrick Woods: Woods may have the hardest time making any noise this fall. Wide receiver is probably the deepest, most talented position group on the roster. However, just like at RB in 2011, OU can never have too many talented WRs on the roster.
Woods can play both outside big spots, so he’s competing against Trey Metoyer, LaColtan Bester, Durron Neal and Dannon Cavil. Woods' ability to make an impact might depend upon how often OU is in three- and four-wide looks.
Harbinger of Doom
Kyle Marrs: If OU has to rely upon significant minutes from Marrs, then the OU offensive line has suffered injuries that would make 2009 look like a picnic.
That's no knock on Marrs, who had a good spring and is progressing as well as anyone could expect at guard. He could factor into the two-deep in 2014. If he’s playing starter minutes in 2013 after the addition of JUCO offensive linemen Andrew Feo and Dionte Savage, the shit has hit the fan.