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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Sooners Through September

We can put a bow on the first month of the season for the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners. Let's take a quick look back at some of the highs and lows, as well as what we've learned about this team through the first three games.

Biggest Story: OU's Composure

When Florida State scored a fluky touchdown in the fourth quarter to tie the game up two weeks ago, how many of y'all figured we were about to see another "Chokelahoma" collapse? No need to raise hands.

This time, however, the Sooners went right back down the field, snatching back the lead and momentum with an 83-yard touchdown drive. OU never looked back.

Similarly, Missouri got off to a hot start against OU Saturday night, racing out to a 14-3 lead and putting the Sooners in the rare position of playing from behind at home. OU righted the game pretty quickly, though, and made quick work of Mizzou before letting up again late.

Sure, Sooner Nation would feel better if OU was serving up blowouts. On the other hand, it's fair to say this team has demonstrated its testicular fortitude. 

Much of the credit here should go to junior quarterback Landry Jones. His experience in late-game pressure situations has shown through.

Best Moment: Kenny Stills' Tribute

All-American linebacker Travis Lewis' Willis Reed impersonation against Florida State definitely rocked. It can't beat Kenny Stills' heartfelt tribute to fallen teammate Austin Box after scoring the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of that same game.

I don't care how much of a hard-hearted bastard you are, Stills flashing "12" to the TV cameras had to get to you.

Offensive MVP: Dominique Whaley

How many other teams in the country can say their best offensive player this year has been a walk-on? We're not talking about Memphis or the MAC all-stars, either. This is the top-ranked team in the country.

Honestly, I scoffed back in the spring when Roy Williams told me that Whaley would make some waves in OU's backfield this season. Man, was I ever wrong.

Sure, we may be overhyping Whaley's performance a tad because it's such a great story. So what? The fact that he has been the Sooners' strongest runner through the first three games of the season is nothing short of miraculous.

Whaley's not showing any signs of slowing down, either.

Defensive MVP: Frank Alexander

Tough call here between Alexander and rock-solid cornerback Demontre Hurst. Big Frank gets the nod in this case due in large part to the importance of edge rushers in today's game, especially in the pass-happy Big 12.

If the first three games are any indication, Alexander has grown into the kind of every-down defensive end that the OU coaching staff envisioned when he was recruited. Especially with Travis Lewis overcoming his preseason injury, Alexander has been the dominant presence on the Sooner D this season.

Get Well Soon: Ben Habern

I'd rank Habern third in terms of players that OU could least afford to have miss significant time, behind Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles. The shift in the Sooners' blocking scheme has put more of an onus on the center position to coordinate the rest of the line. Now, that all rests on Gabe Ikard for the next six weeks or so.

Get Well Soon, Part II: Kenny Stills

Granted, Stills missed the first game as part of a suspension. After sitting out against Missouri with a head injury, however, getting Stills back up to speed for the Texas game should be a primary goal for the OU coaching staff over the next two weeks.

Together, Stills and Broyles should have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of UT's inexperienced cornerbacks.

Pleasant Surprise, Offense: Jaz Reynolds

OK, this one really should go to Whaley, but he's got his hardware.

Reynolds damn near got booted from the team a year ago. Last weekend, he was instrumental in OU's win over Mizzou.

With Trey Franks still on ice for the dreaded "unspecified violation of team rules," Reynolds' development has become even more important.

Pleasant Surprise, Defense: Javon Harris

Even though Harris has had his moments where he has struggled in coverage with busted assignments, he has played extremely well in run support, ranking third on the team in tackles with 20. His athleticism and decisiveness at the safety position have enabled him to make things happen, too, as he hauled in two critical intercerptions against Florida State.

Whatever Happened to?: Roy Finch

The numbers through three games: 6 carries for 24 yards; 2 receptions for 13 yards.

A year ago, the electric true freshman was splitting carries with one of the most productive running backs OU has ever had. This season, Finch has turned into an afterthought. TV announcers act like they've seen a ghost when he hits the field.

Whaley's emergence and Brennan Clay's development have clearly cut into Finch's touches. But this much?

Cause for Concern: Offensive Line

So far, the OL has acquitted itself fairly well. The change in scheme has helped the unit with its drive blocking in the running game, opening some holes that simply haven't been there the last few years.

On the other hand, watching the FSU defensive line in action, it became clear that OU's o-line simply hasn't reached the point everyone has been hoping for. It remains closer on the whole to "average" than "elite," and Habern's loss could further hinder the group's development.

Reason for Optimism: Swagger

Whether it's Travis Lewis taunting the Seminole crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium or Tony Jefferson beefing with Kevin Durant on Twitter, this group is having fun and playing with an attitude that has been missing in recent years. That loose confidence should continue to benefit the Sooners in remaining games against the likes of Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M.