Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Some notes, thoughts from visit to OU
By David Ubben
NORMAN, Okla. -- Expect plenty from Oklahoma in the days and weeks to come, but here's a few spare notes and thoughts from my time on campus Tuesday.
- The hype machine shows no signs of slowing around incoming receiver Trey Metoyer. Coach Bob Stoops said the incoming freshman "absolutely" could start for the Sooners; co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, who coaches receivers, laughed when he was asked if Metoyer could start. Look for more on him from SoonerNation soon. Metoyer will be a big piece for the Sooners. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder is speedy with great hands and jumping ability, a rare combo. Oklahoma needs a big, productive receiver, and Metoyer's proving early on that he could have the same kind of impact as a freshman that Kenny Stills did in 2010, when he broke the school's freshman record for receiving yards, with 786.
- Trey Millard's best known for his work at fullback, but he's earned the nickname "Slash" from Stoops for his work at tight end, H-back and tailback, too. "I don't even know how he remembers it all, but he does," Stoops said. New defensive coaches Mike Stoops and Tim Kish have told stoops on multiple occasions that Millard "may be the best player on the team." His role reminds me a bit of Brody Eldridge's during the injury-plagued 2009 season. Eldridge was mostly a tight end, but played some fullback and about every position on the offensive line -- despite being just 260 pounds -- for the Sooners. You heard similar praise thrown his way.
- Dominique Whaley was the team's top rusher a year ago before his season ended with a fractured ankle. Stoops called Whaley's progress to this point "very encouraging," adding he didn't know how exactly to quantify the senior-to-be's healing process from the injury.
- What does Norvell think about younger receivers having to compete with a possible impact player in Metoyer? "That's Oklahoma," he said. Despite having four inches on the elder receiver Trey Franks, it's Metoyer who's earned the nickname "Little Trey." Such is life as a young gun. "That's how it goes," laughed fellow receiver Stills.
- Stills also opened up about life after losing team leader Ryan Broyles, the FBS career leader in receptions. Stills' production slowed and the whole receiving corps suddenly started dropping passes as the Sooners lost two of their final three regular-season games. "Everything without Ryan was hard. I feel like everybody saw that," Stills said. "I hope that I can go in and step up and make the plays Ryan did."
- Coverage wasn't different on Stills, but he was playing an unfamiliar slot position and struggled to maintain his production, much less fill the void Broyles left behind. "I was in a position I'd never played and then it was like, 'Kenny didn't step up,' which was true," he said. "I've got to make the plays when the ball comes to me."