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Thursday, May 14, 2009
Oklahoma spring wrap

By staff

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma Sooners
2008 overall record: 12-2

2008 conference record: 7-1

Returning starters

Offense: 5, defense: 9, kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

QB Sam Bradford, RB DeMarco Murray, RB Chris Brown, TE Jermaine Gresham, T Trent Williams, DT Gerald McCoy, LB Travis Lewis, CB Dominique Franks

Key losses

WR Juaquin Iglesias, WR Manny Johnson, T Phil Loadholt, G Duke Robinson, S Nic Harris, S Lendy Holmes

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Chris Brown* (1,220 yards)
Passing: Sam Bradford* (4,720 yards)
Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias (1,150 yards)
Tackles: Travis Lewis* (144)
Sacks: Jeremy Beal* (8 1/2)
Interceptions: Lendy Holmes (5)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 BYU (at Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 12 Idaho State
Sept. 19 Tulsa
Oct. 3 at Miami
Oct. 10 Baylor
Oct. 17 Texas (at Dallas)
Oct. 24 at Kansas
Oct. 31 Kansas State
Nov. 7 at Nebraska
Nov. 14 Texas A&M
Nov. 21 at Texas Tech
Nov. 28 Oklahoma State

1. Defensive line: All-American candidate Gerald McCoy has talked about the Sooners having the best defense in the nation. And they might be able to live up to McCoy's boasts if they continue their strong spring play, particularly in the trenches. Defensive ends Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander will be helped out when Auston English returns to practice this summer. And McCoy, Adrian Taylor and DeMarcus Granger will be a fearsome rotation at tackle. That depth doesn't even include redshirt freshman defensive ends David King and R.J. Washington and redshirt defensive tackles Casey Walker and Stacy McGee. No wonder the Sooners' offensive line struggled at times this spring.

2. Dominique Franks: One of the Big 12's most underrated defensive players had another strong spring, capping his efforts with two interceptions in the spring game including a 42-yard return for a touchdown. He'll be one of the leaders in the Sooners' defensive backfield again this season.

3. Adron Tennell: Injuries and a deep collection of talent in front of him has kept Tennell on the bench most of his career at Oklahoma. But the 6-foot-4. 191-pounder appears ready to blossom as one of Sam Bradford's top deep threats as a senior. He's been waiting a long time for this chance.

Fall questions

1. Offensive line: The Sooners lost four starters from last season's offensive juggernaut and return only Trent Williams, who was moved to left tackle to protect Bradford's blind side. The unit was called out before spring practice by coach Bob Stoops because of their lack of diligence in training during the winter. Stephen Good got the start at left guard and Ben Habern flourished at center after highly regard recruit Jason Hannan quit the team. Cory Brandon and LSU transfer Jarvis Jones also showed some development, although the line will have to work on its cohesiveness during the summer.

2. Slot receiver: Tennell and Ryan Broyles served as the primary outside receivers. The lack of depth at the position led to the move of running back Mossis Madu to the position for most of the spring.

3. Safeties: Starters Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes are gone from last season -- the only departing starters from the defense. Quinton Carter likely has nailed down one starting position. And a deep rotation of players will be tried with Sam Proctor or Joseph Ibiloye likely to start beside him. Desmond Jackson and Emmanuel Jones both looked good during the spring, but don't be surprised if the Sooners' coaches might consider a talent boost from a talented freshman class at the position that includes Javon Harris and Kevin Brent. The Sooners will need talent there to combat the pass-heavy offenses in the South Division.