Friday, September 23, 2011
Updated: September 24, 11:27 AM ET
Sooners must protect Landry Jones
By Jake Trotter
Oklahoma is coming off its biggest non-conference road win in almost 35 years, but there was little time to relish it with Missouri coming to Norman.
Here are five key storylines to follow in OU's third game of the season:
1. Reacting to last weekend
After such an emotional win in Tallahassee, will the Sooners endure any hangover? Probably not, considering the leadership and maturity of this team on both sides of the ball.
The Sooners also haven't forgotten what happened to them in Columbia last season. In fact, earlier this week the coaching staff showed the players a clip of Missouri's fans storming the field. OU should be ready to play.
2. Protecting QB Landry Jones
OU's national title hopes rest on keeping their Heisman contender upright.
The Sooners offensive line did a tremendous job protecting Jones last weekend against the Seminoles. But the Tigers possess a pair of formidable defensive ends in Jacquies Smith and Brad Madison.
Getting Jarvis Jones, perhaps OU's top tackle, back from injury this week should be a boost to a group that has been impressive through two games.
3. Keeping James Franklin in the pocket
Franklin has proven he can make plays on the road, just like Florida State's E.J. Manuel. It's critical for the Sooners defense to keep Franklin "in a well" as ends coach Bobby Jack Wright puts it, and not allow him to get out of the pocket and make plays.
Athletic ends Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander have been outstanding so far and should be able to keep Franklin relatively bottled up.
4. Searching for a third wideout
Bob Stoops wasn't shy about declaring that receiver Trey Franks would be suspended for the next two games, at least, for violating multiple team rules.
Dating back to 2010, Franks had started the last six games as OU's third receiver alongside Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills.
With Franks out for the foreseeable future, the Sooners need someone to step up. Senior Dejuan Miller seems like the most likely candidate and will get the start, but keep an eye out for true freshman Kameel Jackson, who is loaded with potential and could get his first meaningful snaps.
5. Field-goal kicking
The never-ending saga continues. Jimmy Stevens did make all three field goal attempts at Florida State. But Stoops didn't exactly give him the vote of confidence this week after Stevens' fourth-quarter field goal barely made it to the uprights. Instead, Stoops said he plans to give Michael Hunnicutt more opportunities.
"I've been incredibly happy with what Michael has done the past two weeks," Stoops said. "We need to get him out there more."
|Landry Jones' poise under pressure pulled Oklahoma out of a jam.|
Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation.
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