Chat with Jake Trotter
Welcome to SoonerNation! On Monday, writer Jake Trotter stops by to chat about everything Oklahoma.
Trotter joined ESPN.com in 2011 after four years with The Oklahoman covering OU and Big 12 football. Before that, he worked at the Austin American-Statesman and Middletown (Ohio) Journal. Trotter grew up in Oklahoma City and graduated from Washington & Lee (Va.) University.
Send your questions now and join Trotter Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Jake Trotter (4:01 PM)
Keep sending in those questions... we'll get rolling in a sec.
Who's going to be the 3rd starting WR on the team to start the season behind Stills and Metoyer?
Jake Trotter (4:03 PM)
Courtney Gardner has a great chance to be that guy, but he has to get his classwork done first. If it's not Gardner, I think it will be Durron Neal.
Sean (Saint Louis)
How will OU get LBs in this class and what linebacker they need to get. what do you think Durron Neal with be used now with all the problems that has been faced at the WR postion
Jake Trotter (4:04 PM)
I'm assuming OU will get LBs by recruiting them... As for Neal, I could see them using in both the slot and at wideout. It kinda depends what happens with Gardner. If Gardner isn't around, OU will need help out wide.
It sounds like Courtney Gardner and Gary Simon have some academic problems that must be resolved before joining the team. Are there any other players in the 2012 class facing a similar situation?
Jake Trotter (4:05 PM)
JUCO OT Will Latu still has some classwork to get done, but from everything I've been told, he should be good to go to graduate this month, and should be on campus for summer workouts.
Can you give us an injury update? Who will not participate in summer workouts? Who is expected to miss the opening of fall camp?
Jake Trotter (4:07 PM)
I don't expect Ben Habern or Dom Whaley to be fully cleared. Their injuries, obviously, were a little more serious. Everyone else that plays should be fine by the summer, or not too long into it.
Big Pay Check Bob (Oklahoma )
Just want to let everybody know that I will be reinstating all suspended players the week of the K-State game.
Jake Trotter (4:08 PM)
That didn't take long.
What was it like a being from okc working in Austin and did they give you grief?What do you see realisticially OU's record this year and what bowl?
Jake Trotter (4:09 PM)
OU fans might not like to hear this, but Austin in a great place to live. Other than NYC, it's about the best place in the country to go out and eat. I caught a little flack, but all in good fun. Love all those guys at the Statesman -- still play cards with them every night before the OU-Texas game... Too early for predictions. As last week showed, a lot can happen between now and August.
Can Stills be the clutch receiver we'll need next year to fill the gap left by Broyles?
Jake Trotter (4:11 PM)
For OU to make any kind of title run, he'll have to be. The young WRs are talented, but they are inexperienced. Stills has the talent (See FSU TD catch), and he's saying the right things at the moment. But I guess we'll have to wait until the fall to see if it happens.
Thunder or Lakers?How do you explain the baseball team's season and then go and do what they did to Baylor when no one else in the big 12 has?
Jake Trotter (4:12 PM)
It's bizarre how up-and-down this team has been. That said, they've always had as much talent as anyone else in the league. It's a play here, a play there. They didn't make those plays against OSU. They did against Baylor. I'm picking the Thunder. Too much Kendrick Perkins defense for Bynum/Gasol inside.
Regan Huffman (Vienna, Virginia)
Are OU & the Big 12 diminished by no longer having 12 members and a title game?
Jake Trotter (4:14 PM)
It hurts. Look at OSU last year. Imagine they had beaten OU, then a Nebraska in the Big 12 championship the last week of the season. That might have been enough to put them over the top. Considering every other conference is playing title games now, the Big 12 is always going to be at a disadvantge, until it adds a title game.
Mike (Washington, DC)
Do you think OU could find a capable wide receiver that's graduated, the way Wisconsin landed Russell Wilson? Would the OU staff have any interest in doing it?
Jake Trotter (4:15 PM)
I've heard that possibility mentioned, but haven't heard of any specific names that would work or fit. My guess is that it doesn't happen, but who knows, it's something OU may rethink.
Jose Cuervo (California )
How much yards and td will Landry have this season?
Jake Trotter (4:17 PM)
With OU likely to rely on a younger corps, I think the numbers will be about the same at last year. 4,500 yards, 30 TDs.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Their appears to be some legs to the FSU-Big 12 story. Do you think the new commisioner will close the deal? If so, does the conference add another team, and bring back the Championship Game within the next 3 years?
Jake Trotter (4:19 PM)
Florida State has to figure out what it wants to do first, but if I'm Bob Bowlsby I'm making overtures this week. If Florida State, and whoever else (Miami? Clemson? Va. Tech? Louisville?) joined the Big 12, the title game would be added the year they arrived. So yes, if it happened, it could easily happen in three years.
DTG (Defending Big12 champs)
Is OU still the favorite to win the big12, even though they lost 3 WR's?
Jake Trotter (4:20 PM)
OU is still the favorite, but only a slight favorite. Never before have so many teams been capable of winning the Big 12. TCU, West Virginia, Texas, K-State and OSU are all contenders. It's wide open.
I know this is random, but what Artest (I refuse to call him Metta World Peace, my intelligence won't allow me to recognise someone who legally changes their name to that) said he refuses to shake hands with a "substitution". This guy is beyond classless. Anyway...I'd also like to comment that I love Stoops for still having his no-nonsense attitude when it comes to team violators. /Rant
Jake Trotter (4:22 PM)
Yeah, that's why I hope Harden drops off 30 in game 1. We could see some fireworks tonight. I could see Perkins getting in Metta's face in the first couple of minutes... Don't assume every one of these latest suspensions came via Stoops.
Christopher (Kalamazoo, MI)
Jake, a lot of uproar came out of the OU waiting to offer Justing Manning - not only from Manning, but fans as well. Have OUs coaches been doing more to keep contact with Manning since the offer?
Jake Trotter (4:24 PM)
In the end I don't think it will matter. I'd be surprised if Manning didn't end up in Norman.
Jswaggert (Laguna Beach)
Running game or passing game? Which do you think will take be they key to OU wins?
Jake Trotter (4:25 PM)
Passing game. The Belldozer is great, but the Sooners will win or lose with the pass again.
Do you think Sterling will be able to have much impact this year?
Jake Trotter (4:26 PM)
Yes, but maybe more on special teams than WR. Sterling has potential to become an excellent returner, and Kenny Stills returning punts doesn't really fire me up (or scare the opposition). With Franks' status up in the air, the opportunity is there for time in the slot, but I see OU using Stills and maybe Durron Neal there a good amount, too.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do the recent suspensions of the OU wide receivers open the door for Durron Neal to make an impact in 2012?
Jake Trotter (4:27 PM)
At this rate, Neal may be the No. 1 WR by July. Seriously, the opportunity is there for him to have a big year. He's the kind of kid, too, I could see seizing it.
James Baker (Gonzalez, California )
Can Oklahoma have a really good passing offense if they were to be forced to use Kenny Stills and two TFr WR?
Jake Trotter (4:29 PM)
A really good one? Yes, at least eventually. A great one? Probably not, at least not right away. It's going to take awhile for this offense to get going. Good thing OU doesn't see TCU, West Virginia, OSU until late in the season. All three of those games could be shootouts.
T.Boone Pickers (The Bank)
Will Wes Lunt make good use of my money this year? Or will the Cowboys suffer a significant dropoff from last year's conference championsip season?
Jake Trotter (4:32 PM)
Everyone assumed OSU was going to fall off after Dez Bryant/Kendall Hunter/Zac Robinson, and the Pokes were a couple of minutes away from winning the South. Will OSU win the Big 12 and go to the Fiesta Bowl again? I doubt it. But I think that program is on solid enough footing that it won't be suffering significant dropoffs (and btw, that's a good thing for OU with Nebraska no longer in the picture).
DTG (don't worry about it)
Does Trey Metoyer go for over 1,000yds now that all that experience and competition is gone?
Jake Trotter (4:35 PM)
There have been, what, 3-4 WRs to break the 1,000-yard barrier in OU history? I don't see a true freshman joining the club, even though he's really good already.
What kind of backs are Bryant and Ford?
Jake Trotter (4:36 PM)
They are more in the mold of Whaley than the all-purpose backs of Clay/Finch/Danzel Williams.
J.C.Watts (Norman, OK)
Will Landry Jones exude the same type of leadership and toughness I did as a Sooner, and Congressman, for OU to regain conference supremacy this season?
Jake Trotter (4:38 PM)
That's one thing last year's team really missed: leadership. One of the most under-addressed story lines of last season was the leadership void that struck the team after Austin Box's passing. That void was never filled, and it ended up crippling the team the second half of the season. Whether it's Landry or somebody else, somebody needs to fill that void.
Toughest environment OU will likely have to play in this year?
Jake Trotter (4:38 PM)
Morgantown, the couch-burning capital of the world.
If you had to guess, which, if any, of the suspended players will play next year?
Jake Trotter (4:39 PM)
I feel reasonably confident Quentin Hayes will be with the team, and he could eventually be part of the DB rotation again. I'm not confident about anyone else.
Alex (Washington, D.C.)
Big 12 game of the year looks like OU versus WVU in Morgantown, doesn't it?
Jake Trotter (4:40 PM)
It's looking that way, though OU at TCU the last week of the season could be for the conference title.
TF (The 70's)
So when LJ has a good season with a new WR corp, how high does his draft stock go?
Jake Trotter (4:42 PM)
His ceiling is the No. 2 QB off the board, behind Matt Barkley. Jones potentially could be a Top 5 pick. He could also fall to the second round. A lot of money on the line this season for the Joneses.
Stephen (St. Louis, MO)
What did you mean when you said, "don't assume all suspensions came from Bob?"
Jake Trotter (4:42 PM)
I mean, don't assume that Bob was the one who suspended them.
Who is the next player to commit in your opinion going to be?
Jake Trotter (4:43 PM)
I get this question every week, and every week I answer it wrong.
Is the Big 12 actually talking to these other schools about joining the Big 12 and do you feel like there will be changes coming soon?
Jake Trotter (4:44 PM)
I would hope the Big 12 gets aggressive. It's time. Then again, we're talking about the Big 12, which is capable of screwing up virtually anything. It looks like Florida State will be the next domino in conference realignment. If that domino falls, we could see a third flurry of realignment.
Jswaggert (Laguna Beach)
Everyone is talking about the passing game (Landry Jones). Do you think the running game will or should take precedence over the passing game?
Jake Trotter (4:45 PM)
This team is built to pass.
What are the odds the d line shocks everyone n dominates? or do we just not have the talent?
Jake Trotter (4:46 PM)
I'd say it's a long-shot, unless somebody like Jordan Phillips turns into the next coming of Gerald McCoy. The d-line will be solid and it's experienced. But do you see any all-conference performers there?
Killian Red (Alva)
The Mont, O'Connells or Vans
Jake Trotter (4:47 PM)
1. The Mont, 2. O'Connells, 3. Vans
How does the D line look for next year? do you think they have the depth to get them to a BCS game?
Jake Trotter (4:49 PM)
It's not going to be the strength of the defense like it was last season. But the unit could make up for what it lacks in talent with what it can offer in experience. The top 5 in the rotation (RJ, King, Walker, McGee, McFarland) will all be seniors. You have to like that.
Greg Jones (Tulsa)
Are the coaches to blame for the d lines struggles? We havent really had a dominate d line n what seems like forever..maybe when gerald mccoy was around?..either they arent motivating guys,not evaluating them well enough or not developing them enough..when do we start to talking about replacing someone?
Jake Trotter (4:51 PM)
In forever? OU had a DT drafted in the Top 5 two years ago, and a d-end that was the conference player of the year last year. Stoops has had a first-team all-big 12 d-lineman every year since 1999.
Joe (Killeen TX)
I think McFarland could be that surprise.
Jake Trotter (4:51 PM)
It's possible. R.J. Washington, too.
If you had you're choose out to these two who would you like to see the Big XII add with FSU, Clemson or Louisville?
Jake Trotter (4:52 PM)
I'd like to see the Big 12 add Florida State and Miami.
Mitt Romeny (Campaign Trail)
Will my beloved alma mater be the second domino to fall if the Big XII expands?
Jake Trotter (4:54 PM)
It's hard to see the Big 12 adding Florida State then go the other direction with Brigham Young. If it's Florida State, then it will be someone out east, like Clemson, UL, Miami, etc... Btw, Mitt, you might want to spell your last name right from now on.
Jake, I'd say it's safe to say OU's offense will get off to a slow start due to the inexperience at wideout and the uncertainty surrounding Whaley. I think OU is in for a 4 loss year. Thoughts?
Jake Trotter (4:55 PM)
If OU loses four games, it would be a disaster. There's a lot to like about this team. 4-yr starter at QB. Ton of experience/talent on the OL. Three potential stars in the secondary with Jefferson/Colvin/Hurst. OU might struggle out of the gate, but the schedule is light early.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Should Louisville be the second school the Big XII goes after if Bowlsby is able to lure FSU away from the ACC?
Jake Trotter (4:57 PM)
I would shoot hire initially. You have to believe that FSU could convince somebody to come with them, like a Miami or a Va. Tech. If FSU leaves, the ACC would become a lackluster football conference overnight. I doubt FSU would need to do much convincing.
Ok dream scenario, if the Big XII (since they already own the rights to Big XIV) goes to 14, you already said Miami and FSU. Who would be the next two? ND, UL, BYU, Clemson, or GT. Sorry it just feels so good to be receiving teams instead of fearing the loss of some.
Jake Trotter (4:58 PM)
Florida State, and whoever is a dream scenario. Who would have thought last fall anyone of that caliber would ever consider joining the Big 12. I thought Arkansas was a pipe dream, so adding FSU would be a home run.
When you say that you hope the Big XII "gets aggressive", do you mean that they should expand in the next year, almost without regard for quality? Obviously Florida State, Notre Dame, or BYU would be potential homeruns. But do you really think Louisville and their plus-one will bring the 20% increase in TV money that would be needed just to break even on the deal? Obviously the conference title game would matter a lot, but without a homerun, I think instability continues and money doesn't really improve that much.
Jake Trotter (5:00 PM)
What I mean is this: Some of the leadership in Tallahassee clearly wants to give the Big 12 a look. Why not go after them? The only way the Big 12 will ever return to its former self is if it adds a flagship program to replace Nebraska. There aren't many of those out there, so when one shows interest, you have to make a move.
Jake Trotter (5:01 PM)
Guys, that's all the time we have for the chat this week. We'll do it again next Monday, same time, same place. Until then, have a great week, and Thunder it up.
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