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Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sooner's hopes dealt blow with Gresham news

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The announcement that Jermaine Gresham will miss the rest of the season caps a miserable seven-day period for Oklahoma.

A black cloud has seemingly hovered around the Oklahoma program since Gresham was hurt in practice last week. It got worse when Sam Bradford sprained his AC shoulder joint shortly before halftime Saturday night against BYU. The bad news intensified when the Sooners lost that game, failing to mount a late drive behind backup quarterback Landry Jones.

The Sooners' coaches seemed to expect the bad news from Gresham after deciding earlier this week to work Brody Eldridge at tight end. Despite having an exemplary game at his new position of center against BYU, the coaches seem to believe Eldridge will be more valuable to the team by moving him back to tight end.

The Sooners will spend the next several weeks working with a run-heavy offense that likely will feature a lot of DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. That offense should be enough to get the Sooners past Idaho State on Saturday and Tulsa next week. Oklahoma then has an open week -- allowing Bradford another week to get ready.

But it's likely that the Sooners will struggle with that simplistic attack against rejuvenated Miami. And after watching Jacory Harris engineer a dramatic comeback at Florida State Monday night, the Hurricanes will be a tough match-up for the Sooners, even if Bradford plays.

As Bob Stoops stated earlier today, Gresham's loss hurts the Sooners in many ways.

First he was the Sooners' check-down receiver and the ultimate security blanket for the quarterback. The Sooners were already inexperienced at wide receiver and Gresham likely would have emerged as the Sooners' go-to receiver, producing 80 or 90 receptions for the Sooners if he was healthy.

The Sooners have to account for that loss. Somebody has to step up to fill that void.

And they'll have to account for Bradford missing the next several weeks.

The Sooners' national title hopes aren't dead. They could still win an outrageous fourth-straight Big 12 title -- a dynasty like we've never seen in the conference's brief history.

But without Gresham, it's going to be very hard.