Sooners aren't ready to yield
September, 6, 2009
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The prognosis appears dim for Oklahoma's national title hopes on the day after Sam Bradford's shoulder injury.
The loss of the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner was the major reason BYU was able to stun the No. 3 Sooners Saturday night.
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said Sunday that additional evaluation will be needed before the playing status is known for either Bradford or preseason All-American tight end Jermaine Gresham.
"Our medical staff -- I think he and Jermaine's are the same deal -- they're looking at both of those guys this weekend and the first of this week, gathering as much resources as we can to look at options of rehab and things, what their timeline is," Wilson said. "Right now, all those guys -- from [what] we've been told -- we're pursuing every option of rehab timelines and the best estimates of what's in their best interests."
Wilson said the Sooners' medical staff, cognizant of the future pro potential of both players, is being careful with their injury diagnosis and upcoming rehabilitation.
"Those are not just necessarily for our team but those are two players who have great futures and we want to make sure their best interests is taken into consideration in what's being done," Wilson said. "So there's no rush, there's no judgments. We're pursuing every resource that [Oklahoma head athletic trainer] Scott Anderson and our medical staff can present to those kids, their families and to Coach [Bob] Stoops."
Bradford was injured late in the first half when he was hit by blitzing BYU linebacker Coleby Clawson as he was throwing. The BYU player landed on Bradford and then buried the quarterback's right shoulder deep into the artificial turf at Cowboys Stadium.
Wilson said that after watching replays of Bradford's injury that the Oklahoma quarterback was trying to hold the ball until the last second on the play where he was injured.
He spoke briefly with him after the game, expressing his sorrow about the devastating injury, which has been termed as a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder -- his throwing arm.
"I wouldn’t say he was bummed out and much as frustrated," Wilson said. "I told him I wish we had tried to get better protection and he said he was just trying to make a play."
Graham missed the game after sustaining a knee injury in practice early last week. The injury has been reported as cartilage damage, although the school has not provided more details.
The Sooners struggled with an assortment of mistakes even when Bradford was in the game. Wilson said in the first half on 35 Oklahoma offensive snaps, there were eight penalties with two lost fumbles -- after losing two fumbles all last season. The Sooners got the ball to midfield on seven different possessions with no points.
Wilson was blunt in his assessment of his team's efforts against BYU, calling it a "comedy of errors."
"We're not gonna throw anyone under the bus, but we cannot play like we played," Wilson said. "We played as sloppy a game as I've been a part of here. We do think we have a chance to have a tremendous football team and we're gonna get it fixed and move in a positive fashion as fast as we can."
Backup quarterback Landry Jones took over in the second half and the Sooners' offense struggled. With the redshirt freshman in control, the Sooners produced three points, 101 yards and six first downs on 28 plays in the second half.
"I thought he did a nice job," Wilson said. "He had energy and confidence about him. He had a lot more bounce than everybody else had and he handled things in a positive way."
It will be interesting to see what the Sooners do with Bradford. They likely don't have an immediate need for him until the Oct. 3 game at Miami. But they might be willing to wait until conference play begins the following week against Baylor to have the Oklahoma offense ready for the pivotal game against Texas on Oct. 17.
And will lingering concerns about his injuries cause his NFL draft stock to plummet?
Bradford was likely the No. 1 pick if he would have declared for the draft this year. Will his injury cause that status to dip? Or would he be willing to return to Oklahoma for a senior season next year if his draft status would be adversely affected?