Maybe it’s just having seen so many spring games, but the 2015 edition of the Red-White Game might have been the most uneventful that I can ever recall for Oklahoma. Bob Stoops came off about as eager to be there as a trip to the Citrus Bowl.
So allow me to share a few observations, bearing in mind that a watered-down scrimmage means precious little about what’s really going on with the team.
*The wide receivers left the greatest impression on me of any part of this game. Sterling Shepard aside, this unit stunk up the joint last year. On Saturday, the pass catchers played like the strongest position group on the field.
Junior college transfer Dede Westbrook looked the part an instant-impact addition to the passing game. Additionally, Mark Andrews showed flashes of being a beastly split tight end. Jeffrey Mead made arguably the best plays of the day, and Durron Neal even offered a glimpse of what he can do in the screen game.
When you factor in OU’s running backs, the Sooners could end up with a collection of skill players that rivals any group in the Big 12.
*Which ties into my thoughts on the next position group: Quarterback.
If the Sooners’ receivers and runners play that well in the fall, OU won’t need much more than a field general who pushes the right buttons. Baker Mayfield didn’t look like that guy on Saturday. It’s entirely possible that Mayfield was trying to put on a show for the crowd, but the two interceptions that he threw encapsulated everything from his Texas Tech days that made me hesitant to go all-in with him as OU’s starter. He didn’t have an open target on either long attempt, and even if he did, the throws weren’t particularly good.
Mayfield definitely had some nice tosses and appeared fairly comfortable with the offense, but I thought he was the second- or third-best QB out there on this particular day.
*The best? Cody Thomas.
He probably made the two or three best throws of the day. I also have an easier time with Thomas’ INT than the picks thrown by Mayfield and Trevor Knight.
The redshirt sophomore’s rep is in flames in Sooner Nation right now after how OU finished last season. However, if you asked me to pick the starter for the fall with nothing to go on but the spring game, I’d take No. 14 with a quickness. It doesn’t sound like the QB derby is trending in Thomas’ direction, but I can’t imagine he hurt his cause with how he played over the weekend.
*Steven Parker has true star potential at safety. Otherwise, I saw a whole lot more bad than good on the back end of OU’s defense. Much like a year ago, the Sooners will have to count on an incoming freshman to contribute there right away.
*I noticed the multiple fronts that Mike Stoops promised. OU appeared to go with two-gap, three-man fronts on first down before moving to four-man fronts as series progressed.
T*ay Evans had his moments filling in at linebacker next to Jordan Evans. (As an aside, when OU is running the 4-2-5, I don’t know if there will be a place on the field for Dom Alexander once he’s back and healthy.)
*Honestly, very little about the lines on either side of the ball stood out to me. Matt Romar looked somewhat disruptive when OU shifted into the four-man front.