What did we think/hope would happen?
JUCO transfer Brannon Green and freshman Taylor McNamara would provide enough of a threat to keep a tight end on the field.
For the fullback position, OU would finally use Trey Millard consistently as a weapon in the running and passing games.
What did happen?
Well, the tight end position disappeared after the Kansas State game. McNamara got hurt, and Green only saw the field during Belldozer formations.
OU finally got Millard involved. For the season, he posted more than 330 yards receiving, nearly doubling his total from 2011. His rushing performance was about the same as last year. Still, Millard's had a great game against UT and contributed all year long.
In addition, OU used multiple FB formations to great success. Millard and Aaron Ripkowski would line up along with a running back behind the quarterback in the shotgun. Jaydan Bird also provided some FB depth and blocking help.
What went right?
OU correctly figured out that Millard was a better weapon to have on the field than Green. The Sooners figured out Ripkowksi was a better blocking option.
OU's offense operated at its best when Damien Williams and Trey Millard served as dual threats.
What went wrong?
It took too long to get Millard involved. Landry Jones often missed Millard wide open in the flat for big passing plays.
The lack of a TE option in the passing game hurt against teams like Notre Dame that played a Cover 2 scheme where the best passing gaps were over the linebackers between the two high safeties.
OU had to settle for going with four wide receivers far too often, which limited the offense's ability to threaten with the run and pass.
Where do we go from here?
Assuming Millard does not leave for the NFL (I'm guessing there's a chance with the right NFL grade he could leave early), he should be poised to have a big senior year both running and catching the ball, especially if OU has more of a balance on offense in terms of running the ball. Millard as a one back with Bell could get more running reps. Ripkowski should continue to provide extra blocking punch in the short-yardage situtations.
Tight end? Ideally, having been rehabbed from his shoulder surgery, Taylor McNamara seizes the position in the spring and is up to 245 lbs. He is able to be a big-time receiving threat while providing some run blocking.
Is Sam Grant ready to help after his redshirt year?
Is there at JUCO TE in play? OU lost out on Beau Sandland but is still chasing Emmanuel Bibbs, who could enroll in time for spring practice.