The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

OU Football

October 3, 2013

Receivers earn high praise for blocking against Irish

NORMAN — Early Monday afternoon, Oklahoma’s players gathered in their meeting room to watch the tape of the Notre Dame game. The final result was still fresh in their minds. Every player remembered what he’d done.

But the coaching staff wanted everyone to fully understand how well the Sooners’ receivers had played. Everybody remembered Sterling Shepard’s and Lacoltan Bester’s touchdown catches. They wanted every single player in the room to see the blocks they had all afternoon.

“They were killing ’em,” OU safety Gabe Lynn said. “You saw it. They were killing guys on the outside.”

Blocks like those are essential in the 11th-ranked Sooners’ offense. They turn the short swing passes into big gains and toss sweeps into scoring threats. It all comes down to whether a receiver is willing to do something without the ball.

“(Receivers coach Jay) Norvell is usually on us about blocking. He talks about the early 2000 receivers, how they used to block, take control of the defensive backs,” wide receiver Jalen Saunders said. “We’re just trying to bring that style of play back into our offense.”

The offensive style is different than in previous years. OU only had 238 receiving yards in the Notre Dame victory, but OU coach Bob Stoops called the performance by the receivers the best he can recall in a decade.

When OU is getting that kind of play from its receivers, it elevates the running game and can be inspiring.

Neither Saunders nor Shepard, who combined for 12 of OU’s 23 receptions last Saturday and 132 of the receiving yards, are physically imposing. Both are shorter than 6-foot tall. Neither weighs more than 190 pounds.

“Those are our chicken fighters out there — Sterling and Jalen. They’re not very big, but when they lock in and play hard, they can get the job done,” Norvell said. “That was a big difference in the game from a year ago. We were more physical on the perimeter. We were more physical inside with our linemen. And we ran the ball more physically on our pass routes as well as our running plays.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
OU Football
  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • OU looking into sexual assault complaint against linebacker

    The “personal issues” that kept Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon out of last Saturday’s Red-White Game are serious.
    The Oklahoman reported Wednesday night that Shannon has been accused of violating the University of Oklahoma’s Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

    April 16, 2014

  • Red White Transfer QB Baker Mayfield shows promise in Red-White Game

    Individual awards were not handed out after Saturday’s Red-White Game. If they had, quarterback Baker Mayfield wouldn’t have left Owen Field empty handed. He only played against defensive backups, but going 9 for 9 for 125 yards and two ...

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Red-White Game more of a treat for the fans

    Oklahoma didn’t play a game as much as it put on a show Saturday at Owen Field. At least, that was the intent....

    April 14, 2014

  • Red White Defense rules the day at spring game

    Fans want to see offense in spring games, and there were a lot of devotees at Oklahoma’s Red-White Game on Saturday. If 43,500 in attendance were hoping for a big day from quarterback Trevor Knight, they walked out of Owen Field ...

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooner faithful best barometer for progress

    The headline, already up at Oklahoma’s athletic website by 6 p.m. Saturday, read “White Team Prevails in Annual Spring Game,” and if there’s a more meaningless summary of Sooner fortunes, in any sport, before next year’s spring game, I ...

    April 13, 2014

  • A couple of scares

    By his own estimation, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops thought 16 returning or projected starters were not in uniform for Saturday’s Red-White Game....

    April 13, 2014

  • Red-White Game won’t showcase all the starters

    It has been a bit over four months since Oklahoma played in front of a real audience. That will change at 2 p.m. today when the Sooners take the field for the Red-White game....

    April 12, 2014

  • Grissom trying to make move to linebacker

    The next evolution for Oklahoma’s defense is under way. It’s spent two seasons tinkering to get as much speed on the field as possible....

    April 10, 2014

  • Golden Eagles top scoreless Sooners

    The feast-or-famine affliction Oklahoma’s developed when it comes to scoring runs was alive and well Tuesday night against Oral Roberts....

    April 9, 2014