Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Midseason analysis: Oklahoma
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Record: 3-3, 1-1 in Big 12 play
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was positively giddy earlier this season when he learned that Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams all would return to college for another season. The four players said they returned to have a chance to turn around the Sooners’ recent BCS problems and blot away bad feelings about last season’s BCS title game. Unfortunately for Stoops and his team, the quartet never got to play together this season. Gresham was lost with a season-ending knee injury before the first game and Bradford was felled by a shoulder injury in the first game. Those absences help explain a 3-3 record that includes losses to Texas, Miami and BYU by a combined five points. Oklahoma's national title hopes are gone, and their chances at an unprecedented four consecutive Big 12 titles now are a long shot. The Sooners will have to pick up the pieces with Landry Jones at quarterback, Bradford's heir apparent at the position. They desperately need more production from an offensive line that struggled against Texas, producing the lowest rushing total in more than seven years.
Offensive MVP, WR Ryan Broyles: Before he was injured against Miami, Broyles was the most explosive player in Oklahoma’s battered offensive arsenal. In his first game back after fracturing his scapula against Miami, he produced a 35-yard TD catch against Texas. Broyles leads the Sooners with 25 receptions and eight touchdown grabs, despite missing the Baylor game and most of the Miami game with his injury. His performance against Texas is a testament to how important he is to the Sooners’ offense.
Defensive MVP, DE Jeremy Beal: The Sooners' defense has remained stout throughout the injury woes, and the biggest reason has been Beal. He has produced 6.5 sacks and nine tackles for losses. His biggest game came last week against Texas, where he produced a career-high 12 tackles, including 11 solo stops. He’s been involved in 30 tackles, which leads all Sooner linemen. And his production has gotten better as the season has continued.