OU football: Oklahoma will audition new punt returners this spring

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Oklahoma's Drake Stoops runs with the ball during the Sooners' game against LSU in December.

NORMAN — OU’s kicking situation seems under control, with a special leg in Gabe Brkic.

What does the punt return position hold? Who’s coaching who after Jay Boulware’s departure?

Here’s a look at where things stand for OU going into the spring. Players’ listed years of eligibility reflect the upcoming season:

Returning names to know

• Kicker: Gabe Brkic (R-So.)

• Punter: Reeves Mundschau (R-Jr.)

• Kick returner: Tre Brown (Sr.); Charleston Rambo (R-Jr.); T.J. Pledger (Jr.)

• Punt returner: Drake Stoops (R-So.)

Biggest issue

CeeDee Lamb wasn’t exactly known as a touchdown threat every time he touched the ball in the return game. In fact, he might have been returning punts for OU simply because he was so sure-handed on the catch.

There’s no clear-cut backup for him. Drake Stoops fielded a punt in Lamb’s absence last year.

Biggest strength

Brkic is a weapon. He made all 17 of his field goal attempts last season, his first as a starter. That’s also an OU record for consecutive made kicks.

The kicking game isn’t much of a worry, which is one less thing on Lincoln Riley’s mind.

Telling numbers

OU hasn’t returned a punt or a kickoff for a touchdown since 2016. Dede Westbrook returned the punt, Joe Mixon returned the kick.

Quotable

Brkic, about what hitting the game-winning field goal at Baylor felt like: “It felt good to hit it. It felt good after, celebrated and everything, just it's a good confidence booster mid-season, close to the end of the season. Knew I could do it, know I could do more.”

Question moving forward

How will the special teams approach change, if at all, with Shane Beamer taking a larger role in that area? Beamer’s father, Frank, was a special teams master at Virginia Tech.

Riley described special teams as a collaborative effort moving forward, but Beamer’s input figures to be heavily considered.

Tyler Palmateer

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tpalmateer@normantarnscript.com

Editor's note: The Transcript is examining areas of Oklahoma’s offense and defense with spring practice set to begin March 10.

Tuesday: Secondary

Wednesday: Linebackers

Thursday: Defensive line

Friday: Offensive line

Saturday: Running backs

Sunday: Receivers/H-backs

Monday: Quarterbacks/special teams

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