QB Sam Bradford

2007 Statistics

Coach: Bob Stoops
97-22, 9 years
2007 Record: 11-3
at Tulsa WON 62-21
at Colorado LOST 24-27
vs. Texas WON 28-21
at Iowa State WON 17-7
at Texas Tech LOST 27-34
vs. Missouri WON 38-17
West Virginia LOST 28-48

2007 Final Rankings
AP-8, Coaches-8, BCS-4

2008 Outlook

Those who have studied this game and its grand history know Oklahoma is a fixture at the highest levels of college football. The eighth-winningest program of all-time, the near misses recently have been agonizing to fans. Last year saw their BCS title hopes again dashed when Colorado and Texas Tech, two teams not their equal on paper beforehand, broke through. Then it happened again, for the fourth time in five years - the Sooners lost their bowl game. Winners in six of the last eight Big 12 championship games (90-17 over that span), there have been two complete four-year cycles now since their last BCS Championship (finished in the top 11 every year since but one, 2005, when they were No.22). Parity in the conference has yet to take OU from its top spot, and they will have to be vigilant again to keep all of the upstarts from their conference crown. This is the favorite team to take the Big 12 and represent the conference with an automatic BCS bid, but only their best effort will get all of this to happen again.

Sam Bradford was one of the biggest surprises in one of the biggest years of college football surprises ever. His 36-to-8 TD-to-INT ratio is amazing for a freshman (I-A record for freshman TD passes in a season), signaling a soon-to-be stellar era in Norman. The right guy to bring that next national championship is only a sophomore, but one who has maturity beyond his years. Head coach Bob Stoops is eager to exploit all of his potential. The consensus amongst the brain trust at OU is to implement a no-huddle wrinkle that will allow OU to check out how another team lines up (and with whom) and then audible into the best possible call. Bradford should be able to handle this with little trouble (except at first and/or in their first big/tough game). The first returns on what this has looked like in practice shows they still stress two-TE sets, a good package to accentuate if the running game is to remain a popular option. The receivers go deep (both down field and throughout this roster) and the RBs are ready to go, as are the tight ends. An all-senior OL means nothing should stop the offense. That is good, for Stoops & Co. may have to win with offense instead of their usual signature D. That has some question marks concerning the back seven. Nic Harris has to come back in full force (shoulder surgery) for the secondary to gel, and foes will use the (underneath) pass until the Sooners prove they can stop it. The line should be able to do its job and get to the QB quickly with just four hats, aiding the pass defense's ability to get it together.

Unlike some top teams, OU still goes on the road for half of the season. Cincinnati will not be easy to beat, nor will Washington...both are obviously games they should win, though. A&M and Kansas State on the road will force Oklahoma to dig deep, and Kansas, Nebraska and Texas Tech at home will all challenge this team to the point that they prove enough to pollsters to break any tie-breakers against teams that have a similar record. The League Championship game may be the first time they see Missouri again; whoever it is, the North rep won't be a pushover. This team can match up with many/most of the top foes, but a foe’s superior passing game could be 2008's bane. Bradford should reach a level where little will be able to stop his will to score, making OU’s possible defensive troubles mean little as they outscore anyone who dares to keep up. (Bennie) Owen Field turns 85 this year, a great time to bring home some hardware and keep Stoops' momentum chugging along.

Projected 2008 record: 11-1
QB - 5 DL - 4.5
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 5 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Sam Bradford, 237-341-8, 3121 yds., 36 TD

Rushing: DeMarco Murray, 127 att., 764 yds., 13 TD

Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 68 rec., 907 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: DeMarco Murray, 15 TD, 90 pts.

Punting: Mike Knall, 24 punts, 43.7 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Nic Harris, 74 tot., 50 solo

Sacks: Auston English, 9.5 sacks

Interceptions: Lendy Holmes, 3 for 70 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns: Juaquin Iglesias, 29 ret., 28.5 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Dominique Franks, 12 ret., 10.3 avg., 0 TD


DB Nic Harris
OFFENSE: Dane Zaslaw-FB, Allen Patrick-RB, Joe Jon Finley-TE, Garrett Hartley-K, Malcolm Kelly-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Alonzo Dotson-DE, Lewis Baker-LB, Marcus Walker-CB, D.J. Wolfe-SS, Michael Cohen-P, Curtis Lofton-LB (NFL), Reggie Smith-CB (NFL)

To lead the nation in passing (efficiency) as a freshman gives you a gauge for the expectations heaped upon Sam Bradford as he enters his second season. He stands 6'4 in the pocket, remaining there when needed with a great sense of when to throw it away and when to thread it into his guy. Coordinator Kevin Wilson and coach Stoops are impressed enough to begin training this year's offense to run a no-huddle variation. New co-coordinator Jay Norvell is a big reason this should work. Really, it's Bradford who proved this can work - he has the offense down, so why not just shift it up a gear or two. It will likely be the team approaching the line of scrimmage ASAP once the last play is over, forcing the opponent to show its matchups/scheme/alignment/personnel, thus allowing a play to be called from the sideline (booth more like it) and optimizing its potential impact. The ball is hiked around 15-to-10 seconds prior to the play-clock running out, so it isn't a two-minute drill type of lightning attack. This is more of a conceptual no-huddle tact that takes strategic advantage in sequencing the simple events between the time that the ball placed and the time it is hiked a certain way. It is a smart move many are now doing, taking full advantage of the Oklahoma City product's (Norvell’s) advanced knowledge of the game. Senior Joey Halzle and soph Keith Nicol are not going to be able to pull this approach off, but either is capable of leading this offense with all of the weapons it has aligned. Former JUCO-transfer Halzle will again get the nod first, but don't be surprised if newcomer Landry Jones loses his redshirt for this year since he is a drop-back guy, too, and has enrolled early (Jan '08). Like in years past, OU is stacked at quarterback.

The same can be said for RB, and DeMarco Murray is the next big name in line for the starting tailback slot. The No.2 prospect in '06, he has bulked up around 200lbs and not lost a step...we'll see if this is true after he returns from dislocating his kneecap trying to recover an onside kick. That has given Chris Brown a huge amount of face time, which will continue into the fall since he is the No.2 guy now, and Wilson's RB-by-committee won't likely change. Mossis Madu is a similarly sized back (like Murray and Brown), big enough to produce between the tackles and fast enough to get outside effectively. Jermie Calhoun is this year's No.2 RB prospect and is ready to get in line for carries; he is a size up from the others, at that. The holes come via ex-TE/DE Brody Eldridge - foes don't have to mark him for carries, but he will leave his mark on each of them individually as he works his way down opposing rosters looking for guys to bury as he plows with vengeance. Eldridge was honored as a 2007 All-Big 12 First Team member, the only FB found on any post-season All-Conference list. Matt Clapp is another oft-seen FB option so Eldridge seeing reps at TE still works.

The other big surprise last year was finding TE Germaine Gresham, a former prep First Team All-American who is huge for blocking and fast for opening up the deep middle. The receiving corps looks strong, even without Kelly's superior abilities. The two senior starters mean Bradford has targets he knows and trusts. Iglesias is a sure All-Big 12 selection, and Johnson is ready to emerge after doing more than enough as a third option. The sizable backups are all upperclassmen too, giving Wilson options out the yin-yang for rotating fresh legs in at will in the new no-huddle looks.

The ground production increased by 13 yards per game from the prior year, so what kind of increase should we predict knowing all five starters on the line are back? It looks pretty good for the Sooners, especially with two All-Americans leading the way. Brandon Walker and Duke Robinson guarantee that inside ground production will occur. Jon Cooper is the shizz at center (team high 455lb bench max). Cooper’s backup, Noah Hughey, is not coming back, but there are guys like athletic Trent Williams and Brian Simmons who can work well from any position. Ben Habern is due by summer - the No.3 center prospect is supposed to be good enough to bypass a redshirt this year, so we will see how things pan out and keep you in touch. The tackles are appropriately named and placed, with the Branndon & Brandon show on the right side and Loadholt causing an overload on the left with the hefty Robinson.

Scary is the only way to describe the soon-to-be Oklahoma offensive machine...only an injury rash can keep them from carrying the Sooners through if the defense ever fails.


OG Duke Robinson


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Sam Bradford-So (6-4, 208) Joey Halzle-Sr (6-3, 199)
FB Brody Eldridge-Jr (6-4, 260) Matt Clapp-Jr (6-2, 231)
RB DeMarco Murray-So (6-0, 198) Chris Brown-Jr (5-10, 196)
WR Juaquin Iglesias-Sr (6-0, 204) Brandon Caleb-Jr (6-1, 191)
WR Manuel Johnson-Sr (5-11, 174) Ryan Broyles-Fr (5-11, 175)
WR Quentin Chaney-Sr (6-5, 203) Adron Tennell-Jr (6-4, 191)
TE Jermaine Gresham-Jr (6-5, 264) Brody Eldridge-Jr (6-4, 260)
OT Phil Loadholt-Sr (6-8, 351) Corey Brandon-So (6-7, 308)
OG Duke Robinson-Sr (6-5, 346) Brian Simmons-Jr (6-4, 297)
C Jon Cooper-Sr (6-2, 289) Jason Hannan-Fr (6-3, 283)
OG Brandon Walker-Sr (6-3, 309) Alex Williams-Fr (6-6, 300)
OT Branndon Braxton-Sr (6-5, 318) Trent Williams-Jr (6-4, 309)
K Jimmy Stevens (5-5, 157) Matthew Moreland-Fr (6-1, 209)



The DL loses only Dotson. Alan Davis broke through his junior year, and gives confidence for the open end slot, as does designated starter Jeremy Beal, a converted LB who rushes nicely and can drop back when multiple-WR sets demand a 3-4 alignment. Frank Alexander was last year's Sooner prize at end, but this year sees the No.1 weakside DE prospect in the country, R.J. Washington, press for time. It's a good problem to have. Ex-RB Auston English will have plenty of help after he demands double-teams. Also demanding two hats to control his super-human efforts are tackles Granger and McCoy. These were the back-to-back No.1 tackle prospects 2005-06...oh my!!! This is possibly the top starting pair of inside bigmen in the FSB. Backups Bennett and Taylor know the ropes, too, so the full rotation is definitely the best in the Big 12 for '08. It is just a matter of time before we see a swarming group that is rarely found out of position and/or missing on plays.

Losing Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Curtis Lofton as well as fellow-OLB Lewis Baker is sure to impact the initial quality of this stopping unit. Stoops admitted this spring that his corps is marginally thin (Mike Reed, the five-star JUCO recruit from '07, is gone). Most think reloading will only take as long as developments take over those first few games, but we will see how the new faces do knowing the secondary also lost major contributors. The first in the depth chart is Ryan Reynolds, a MLB monster who came back after knee troubles two years ago to thrive last year in his six starts. He has speed, but not as much as Keenan Clayton, a junior backup who graded highest of all LBs in off-season speed drills. Austin Box looks like the guy at the other outside slot, but word is he has been a bit behind on the learning curve so far, making room for the four big recruits (two JUCO’s) who highlight the latest incoming class. We think super-quick Travis Lewis will be the next household name in Norman, since he runs a 4.34 second 40 and weighs enough to effectively take on those big beefy OLmen found all over this league. It’s simple…how long the corps takes to gel will dictate whether OU can make a serious run for the national title game.

The secondary is the other area needing restructuring. Alexandria (LA) native Nic Harris is their sizable free safety who hits as hard as any front seven member. This All-American is a worthwhile start to build around, but he won't be back until just before fall after shoulder surgery held him out this spring. Red-shirted last year, Quinton Carter has the most experience in this system, a tough one for safeties since blitz compensation assignments are complicated. Many around Norman think he can be the latest "Roy-back", a huge compliment that conjures the great Roy Williams's legacy/impact. But Desmond Jackson has been seeing lots of first-string reps at SS, while Sam Proctor looks like a backup for '08. The nation's No.4 safety prospect, Joseph Ibiloye, should make this area well covered, if not a strength by October. Like the LB developments, the safeties will only be as good as their corner counterparts. The only cover guy back is nickel Lendy Holmes, an all-around talent who can be left alone in one-on-one situations. Holmes is able to jump to safety, where he subbed for Harris much of this spring. CB newbie Franks looks like a true Dominique (Wilkins, that is...) - tall, fast and able to win jump balls once given the starting assignment. But Franks will have to hold off athletic freak Jonathan Nelson (42" vertical leap) and powerful Brian Jackson (purported 5% body fat best on OU). Again, this talent is ample, but untested and in need of some trial-by-fire knowledge. Though we stress this point, never discount the ability of a strong pass offense like the Sooners have to give a young secondary tough, but valuable, lessons in practice(s).

OU has produced the last two Big 12 Defensive Players of the Year, and coordinator Brent Venables is the reason for this and for Oklahoma's commanding defenses for the past nine years. Expect similar commanding results this time, too.


DE Auston English


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Auston English-Jr (6-3, 241) Jeremy Beal-So (6-3, 253)
DT DeMarcus Granger-Jr (6-2, 315) Adrian Taylor-So (6-4, 295)
DT Gerald McCoy-So (6-4, 288) Cory Bennett-Sr (6-3, 276)
DE Alan Davis-Sr (6-3, 255) Frank Alexander-Fr (6-4, 259)
SLB Kennan Clayton-Jr (6-1, 220) J.R. Bryant-Jr (6-3, 230)
MLB Ryan Reynolds-Jr (6-2, 236) Lamont Robinson-Jr (6-1, 226)
WLB Austin Box-Fr (6-1, 237) Travis Lewis-Fr (6-2, 240)
CB Dominque Franks-So (5-11, 190) Jonathan Nelson-So (5-11, 177)
CB Brian Jackson-Jr (6-1, 202) Jamell Fleming-Fr (5-11, 185)
SS Nic Harris-Sr (6-3, 230) Sam Proctor-Fr (6-0, 208)
FS Lendy Holmes-Sr (6-1, 201) Quinton Carter-So (6-2, 192)
P Mike Knall-Sr (5-9, 187) ..




Mike Knall has one of the biggest right feet in the punting game today. He stepped in last year and took over nicely, helping OU to the 24th-ranked result (Knall's efforts would have been good for a 15th ranking if he has qualified.) Jimmy Stevens finally gets his chance after riding the pine since the beginning. He is the top prep kicker ever (50 total FGs). His speed would be good for tackling if he weren’t 5'5 and 157lbs, but will work in fakes. The return game is solidified with Iglesias and Granger for KRs and Dominique Franks the heir-apparent for PRs. This should be a strength for the Sooners, even if they have to dip deeper for that speed they have at most positions.