NCF Nation: Manuel Johnson

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

NORMAN, Okla. -- Considering all of the key receivers that left Oklahoma's team after last season, it's understandable why some aren't sold on the Sooners' returning talent at the position.

Leading returning receiver Ryan Broyles doesn't mind that at all. In fact, Broyles actually likes that many are considering his receiving corps as one of the Sooners' biggest positional question marks.

 
  Stephen Brashear/Icon SMI
  Ryan Broyles will be one of quarterback Sam Bradford's go-to guys in 2009.

"We've all been doubted around here before," Broyles said. "We just want to rise to the occasion and show what we can do when we get the chance."

The Sooners must replace playmakers Manuel Johnson, Juaquin Iglesias and Quentin Chaney from last season. That trio combined to produce 145 receptions, 2,368 yards and 21 touchdowns to spark an explosive passing game that catapulted Sam Bradford to the Heisman Trophy.

Their departure is expected to hamstring the Sooners' vertical passing game in Bradford's third season as a starter. But it's also bolstered the confidence of several players who are figuring that it's now their time to shine.

No player has been more vociferous this spring as 6-foot-4 senior wide receiver Adron Tennell, a senior who is poised to emerge as one of the Sooners' likely deep threats.

"I feel like I'm back in high school. I'm unstoppable and nobody can touch me," said Tennell, who has produced only 16 catches in the first three seasons at Oklahoma after struggling with a knee injury and talented teammates in front of him.

Tennell, known as "Pooh" by his relatives since childhood, arrived at Oklahoma as the most-heralded receiving recruit in recent history. One scouting service had him ranked as the third-highest recruit in the 2006 recruiting class, behind only Florida's Percy Harvin and USC's Vidal Hazelton.

But Tennell's development was stunted after he injured his knee on special teams late in his sophomore season against Texas Tech. The injury caused him to miss all of winter conditioning and spring practice before last season.

As the other players developed, Tennell's playing time diminished. He produced only nine catches for 68 yards last season.

"Being behind all of those guys who were here before me, I was hoping I'd get to play," Tennell said. "But when I didn't, I got anxious about having to sit and watch. Now, I'm trying to shine when I get my chance."

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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

NORMAN, Okla. -- Any offensive hangover resulting from last week's loss against Texas appears to have been flushed away.

The Sooners put together their most balanced offensive outing of the season to streak to an early 14-7 lead over Kansas one play into the second quarter.

The biggest reason is the return of a sputtering OU running game that had produced less than 50 rushing yards in two of the Sooners' last three games. The Sooners are already at 69 yards rushing as they've dominated the line of scrimmage.

The Jayhawks have had big trouble covering Oklahoma's downfield passing. Quarterback Sam Bradford has taken advantage by torching Kansas for 189 yards by completing 16 of 22 passes.

But Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing has also been effective, taking advantage of a 40-yard kickoff return by Jocques Crawford to stake a 57-yard drive capped by Crawford's own 2-yard touchdown plunge.

The Sooners lost productive wide receiver Manuel Johnson, who appeared to hyperextend his left elbow on the first drive. His return is questionable.

And Kansas nose tackle Caleb Blakesley limped off the field with an injury to his left leg midway through the first quarter.

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