Date: April 16
Time: 3 pm EST
Venue: Owen Field
Vegas Line: Red -10
We know, we know - the big question on every Sooner fan's mind leading up to this weekend's Red-White Game: Will Red finally get its revenge?
We'll get to that. First, though, the fine scribes of Blatant Homerism share what they want to see out of the Sooners on Saturday.
I don't know how much the coaches will show, but I think there are three things I'm most interested in:
1. Running Backs
It sounds like there have been some surprising names other than Roy Finch and Brandon Williams who have had strong springs. Jonathon Miller and Brennan Clay have received pretty solid reviews. I don't think Finch plays much coming off injury, so we'll get to see what everyone else has.
2. Wide Receivers
From Jake Trotter: "What receivers are the Sooners going to throw to? Doesn't look like Ryan Broyles is going to participate. Kenny Stills (hamstring), Trey Franks (foot), Justin McCay (knee), Sheldon McClain (clavicle) are all banged up and Dejuan Miller just recently was cleared coming off season-ending knee surgery. Jaz Reynolds and walk-ons Ryan Caro, Derrick Bradley and Nyko Symonds should get plenty of opportunities to shine. The Red team could also line up any 3 of their RBs in the slot, too, another advantage."
3. Corey Nelson
He played sparingly last year as a true freshman. Nelson looks like he is an impressive talent, but he isn't going to unseat 12th year starter Travis Lewis at weakside linebacker. Will the coaches try him in different spots to get him on the field at LB or a backup Roy-back to Tony Jefferson?
I, too, am very interested in how the running game will look. It appears as though Jonathon Miller will be behind the better of the two offensive lines. This is his chance to show us something. On the other side, it will be interesting to see the reps and combinations that the new "big three" - Brennan Clay, Williams and Finch - get. I also want to see how much they throw to Clay out of the backfield.
Also, very interested to find out what freshman quarterback Kendal Thompson's got.
With all the receivers out, I fully expect the defensive backs to lock down the passing game. If they don't, then I have big concerns about the secondary.
When it comes to spring games, I always tend to look at how individuals perform. (See: Stills, Kenny.) Seeing as you're playing against yourself, I just don't put much stock in making hard-and-fast judgments about the overall state of a team based on a quasi-scrimmage. A few guys to watch:
1. Right Tackles
Jarvis Jones' potentially season-ending injury has set up a two-man race for the starting spot at right tackle between Josh Aladenoye and Daryl Williams. With spring practices being closed off to the public, it's almost impossible to know who will get the nod. The Red-White Game could offer some hints, although both are playing on the same team.
2. Jaydan Bird
Rumblings out of spring camp have the Kansan pushing for time in the rotation at linebacker. Given OU's depth there, that is saying something. Let's see what he's got.
3. Brandon Williams
A five-star freshman running back? And he's on campus early? Yeah, that's something I want to see.
We all remember how White, led by outspoken linebacker Travis "Labor Day in the Hamptons" Lewis, thrashed Red last spring, 23-0. With the sting of that embarrassing whitewashing still burning, it's an angry Red squad that enters the 2011 as the prohibitive favorite. In a heel turn that would make Hollywood Hogan jealous, Lewis has even defected over to Red.
For White, I don't think we'll see much of quarterback Landry Jones. Instead, redshirt freshman Blake Bell will be throwing to some people named Nyko Symonds and Derrick Bradley. Henceforth, I just don't see White putting up a ton of points. The best hope is to let the front four ugly things up and hope for a couple cheap scores on short fields.
At the end of the day, I doubt White has the horses to keep up with a stacked Red roster. The Red defense will have its way with White's undermanned O, keying a win and some sweet, sweet payback for Red.
Red covers the 10, 27-13.