2008 Oklahoma Sooners Football Preview
Oklahoma 2007 Record: (11-3, 6-2 Big 12)
2007 Bowl: Fiesta Bowl vs. West Virginia (L 28-48)
Oklahoma Head Coach: Bob Stoops (97-22 at Oklahoma, 97-22 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Wilson
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Venables
Returning Leaders for Oklahoma
Other Key Returnees: OT Branndon Braxton, DT DeMarcus Granger, DT Gerald McCoy, LB Ryan Reynolds, G Duke Robinson
Key Losses: LB Lewis Baker, TE Joe Jon Finley, WR Malcolm Kelly, LB Curtis Lofton, RB Allen Patrick, CB Reggie Smith, S D.J. Wolfe
The big story surrounding the Oklahoma football team is their inability to win the big bowl game. During the 2006 season the Sooners lost in the Fiesta Bowl to Boise State. Last season it was not even close when the team got handled by West Virginia. This is a team that does not just expect to reach a BCS Bowl…they expect to win. However, a more pressing matter in Norman heading into the 2008 campaign is how they will manage to replace three key players who left early for the NFL.
The offense will be unstoppable. Sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford has a year of experience under his belt and it is scary to think that he should improve on his 3,121 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, eight interceptions and nation high passing efficiency. The entire offensive line returns and running back DeMarco Murray is healthy for now. Even without Malcolm Kelly, who left early to play professionally, the receiving threats are numerous led by Juauin Iglesias and tight end Jermaine Gresham. Oklahoma scored over 42 points per game last year and they could very well eclipse that mark this season, especially now that the conference should be even more pass happy this season than they were last.
Linebacker Curtis Lofton and corner Reggie Smith both left early for the NFL and that will cause a little concern on the defensive side of the ball…at least for a little while. The loss of fellow starting linebacker Lewis Baker to graduation makes the situation more volatile. Ryan Reynolds will return as a starter and could take over the middle spot after playing on the weakside last season. A handful of redshirt freshmen, junior college transfers and untested special team players will battle for the starting positions. In the secondary, the loss of Smith will be less of a concern. Safety Nic Harris and cornerback Lendy Holmes have plenty of experience and sophomore Dominique Franks is ready to explode into a superstar. Even with all the talent ready to step in, the OU defense might need a little time to work out the kinks.
The Bottom Line for the Sooners:
The Sooners have all the tools to make a run at a national championship. But in order to do that Coach Bob Stoops will have to get his team past the new found perception that Oklahoma cannot win the big bowl games. This is a team that struggled on the road last season losing at Colorado and Texas Tech and the biggest hurdle standing in the way of greatness will be mental, not physical.
2007 Oklahoma Sooners Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 190.71 (30th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 258.21 (36, 7)
Total Offense: 448.93 (19, 7)
Scoring Offense: 42.29 (5, 2)
Rushing Defense: 110.29 (17, 3)
Pass Defense: 228.07 (59, 3)
Total Defense: 338.36 (26, 2)
Scoring Defense: 20.29 (19, 2)
Turnover Margin: .57 (25, 3)
Sacks: 2.36 (37, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (5, 2)
By Joel Welser
Check out all of the 2008 college football previews online through College Sports Fans.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.