NORMAN — Oklahoma played a number of freshmen last season, including eight true freshmen in significant roles. The high number had a lot to do with injuries that depleted the Sooners’ depth early on.
On the other hand, having those young players in the mix has had a positive impact this spring.
“Hopefully that pays off with these guys being more experienced and more comfortable with themselves,” Stoops said. “That’s a lot of practice time or game experience that should benefit us.”
The depth chart released prior to start of spring practice featured 12 players in the two-deep that played as either true freshmen or redshirt freshmen last season. Seven were listed as starters.
The most obvious bonus should come with quarterback Landry Jones. He was thrust into the starting job after Sam Bradford was hurt. But the lumps he took last season provided experience that should pay off.
“He’s so much further along because of that experience that it’s not even comparable to where he was last year,” Stoops said. “It should help.”
No huddle will stay
Stoops was asked this week if the Sooners were thinking about doing away with the no-huddle offense they’ve used since the 2008 season.
Stoops said the huddle won’t be coming back anytime soon.
“As long as it continues to work well. But we believe it will,” he said.
Many suggested that junking it would have helped the Sooners while injuries were piling up at the quarterback, offensive line and receiver positions. OU stuck with it throughout last season.
Stoops pointed to the 31.1 points the Sooners averaged last season as vindication.
“If you look at the last two games of the year with all of those young guys in there, we still put up numbers in the bowl game,” he said. “And against two ranked teams (Oklahoma State and Stanford) we moved the ball pretty well.”
OU’s been able to go through spring practice with just about all of its offensive linemen healthy. Center Ben Habern said that’s led to better cohesion than last season.
“We’re blocking together, we’re learning each other’s tendencies and stuff like that. That’s a huge plus because as an offensive line you have to have one unit, you can’t have five guys blocking all different ways,” Habern said. “That’s where you get all of your rushing yards. That’s where you don’t have any sacks or things like that. That’s where I feel like we’re headed right now. So it’s going good.”
The Sooners will hold the second of the three scrimmages scheduled for the spring Saturday. It is closed to the public. OU’s only open scrimmage of the spring is the Red/White Game April 17.
John Shinn 366-3536 email@example.com