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Monday, January 30, 2012
Offseason to-do list: Oklahoma

By David Ubben

We're taking a look at what each program in the Big 12 needs to deal with during the offseason, whether it be in the spring, summer or fall preseason camp. Maybe all three! Who knows?

Next up: The Oklahoma Sooners.

1. Fix the secondary. Losses to Texas Tech and especially Baylor and Oklahoma State exposed a weakness in the secondary: giving up big plays. The man who'll be charged with fixing that problem is new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, who led some of the best defenses in Oklahoma history, including one that gave the Sooners their last national title in 2000. Cornerback Jamell Fleming is gone, but the rest of the secondary returns, and Oklahoma has the talent to fill Fleming's absence. Keep an eye on what happens to Tony Jefferson, too. He's a big weapon at nickelback, but played some traditional safety after Javon Harris struggled against Baylor. Where will Jefferson play?

2. Mature the receiving corps. The struggles after Ryan Broyles' injury were clear, but Landry Jones was only part of it. Oklahoma was deceptively shallow beyond Broyles, and Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills just weren't good enough late in the season. They'll have to figure out how to consistently produce without Broyles on the field, and this offseason is the time to do it. Blue-chip recruits Trey Metoyer, Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard should join them next year, and Kameel Jackson showed some decent potential.

3. Sort out the running backs. Dominique Whaley will be healthy next year, and a slew of transfers has thinned the corps, but Brennan Clay and Roy Finch are more than serviceable. Finch emerged as the team's top back late when Whaley was sidelined with a fractured ankle, but Alex Ross should join the team, too. Will Trey Millard get a few carries, too? This situation's pretty unpredictable for now. You'd figure Whaley grabs the starting job back when he gets healthy, but there's no guarantee there. Hence, on the to-do list it lands.