Ah, the Red-White Game – our annual excuse to jump to wildly premature conclusions about the Sooners' upcoming season based on the most scaled-down scrimmage conditions that Bob Stoops can devise.
Case in point: Someone you all know and love declared Blake Bell the clear-cut winner of OU's starting quarterback competition following last year's spring fling. (Thankfully, I wasn't alone on that one.)
And remember that one April when we all just knew Trey Metoyer would turn into the best wideout in OU history?
But it is OU football, and the vast majority of Sooner fans across the country should be able to watch if so inclined.
What should you watch on Saturday afternoon and try your damnedest not to freak out about? Glad you asked.
Who's doing what on D?
Supposedly the Stoops brothers have used the spring to experiment with high-profile players in new roles on defense. A couple definitely deserve your attention:
What few whispers there are coming out of camp all indicate that Grissom is lighting it up as an outside linebacker. With his size and athleticism, Grissom may have a brighter future as a 3-4 SAM in the NFL than as a true defensive end. Whatever the case may be, showing off that kind of versatility would be a win-win for his draft stock and the defense. Let's see how things are progressing.
Using Striker as a nickelback seems like a bigger ask than Grissom's move. Watch what happens if Striker gets matched up in one-on-one coverage versus a slot receiver – assuming the Sooners are still trying to make this a thing.
Walker slipped through the cracks right into OU's 2013 recruiting class. Since then, the Stoopses and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery have heaped praise on the redshirt freshman, who did some bulking up during his season in mothballs.
Watch to see how Mike Stoops deploys Walker depending on the situation. He sounds like a candidate to flex between a 4i technique at defensive end and the interior.
The deep ball
So... Who's the vertical threat in OU's receiving corps? All the downfield receivers from a year ago are gone.
Past spring flings have hinted that young receivers such as Kenny Stills and Trey Metoyer could stretch the field. With Durron Neal sidelined, Derrick Woods and Dannon Cavil bear watching this time around.
Unlike a year ago, no one is questioning who will take the first snap under center against Louisiana Tech. The backup spot is where things get tricky this year.
With Blake Bell now at tight end, Cody Thomas ostensibly has the understudy position locked up. And, yet, we don't really know if Thomas will be ready to rock should he get called into action in the fall. This will be John Q. Sooner's first real look at him in the context of OU's offense.
I imagine that the coaching staff would prefer to avoid a scenario in which Bell has to move back to quarterback.
How safe are the safeties?
Aside from depth at inside linebacker, safety is the one area of the defense that could cause a little heartburn. Talented sophomores Hatari Byrd and Ahmad Thomas are jockeying for position along with returning starter Quentin Hayes.
Receivers running free down the field? Bad sign. In that case, watch to see who gets chewed out by Mike Stoops.