College Football: OU Spring Preview
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
3/05/13 at 5:22 AM
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College Football: OSU Spring Preview
The spring is important for ...
WR Trey Metoyer: After blowing up in the 2012 spring football game, Metoyer didn't produce as expected in his freshman season. The wide receiver averaged less than two catches a game (17 total for 148 yards) with his longest reception being 27 yards. With Kenny Stills and Justin Brown gone, OU will need him to help anchor the position.
LB Frank Shannon: The sophomore showed his potential with big games against Texas Tech and Baylor. The Sooners will need linebackers to make more plays and stops at the point of contact. If Shannon uses the spring to his advantage, he could be that player.
DT Jordan Phillips: When you are the only player with significant playing time at a position with two other players, it is very important to make progress in the spring. Phillips made a dozen tackles in the 2012 season, his redshirt freshman campaign.
LB D.J. Ward: Is this placing too much pressure on a true freshman? Perhaps. But Ward's athletic ability and the possible switch to a 3-4 defense could play into his strengths coming off of the edge. Ward is extremely talented and his early enrollment during the spring should pay dividends this fall.
Three spring questions
Who will be the Sooners' next quarterback?
For the first time since Sam Bradford beat out Joey Halzle and Keith Nichol in 2007, the Sooners are searching for a new starting quarterback. Blake Bell is the only quarterback in camp that has taken a snap in a game and has 24 rushing touchdowns to his credit. But he has only thrown 19 passes during his career. The job basically appears to be his to lose, but it's important not to overlook redshirt freshman Trevor Knight. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder threw for 2,092 yards and added 943 rushing yards as a high school senior. He also earned kudos for commanding the offense's scout team last fall. Kendal Thompson will also try to break into the mix.
Will Oklahoma start putting a 3-4 defense into place?
The biggest hint may have come last week, when a source told The Oklahoman that Mike Onuoha was moving from defensive end to outside linebacker. The 3-4 scheme emphasizes athleticism at linebacker - in particular on the edges - and large defensive linemen. With only three true defensive tackles on the roster and four joining the team this fall, the foundation can be set but true implementation wouldn't come until August's camp. Dallas Skyline products Frank Shannon and Corey Nelson are naturals at the inside linebacker position.
Could Oklahoma's new assistant coaches inject enthusiasm into the players?
It may not only help the players, but the coaching staff. It's always hard to cut ties with colleagues, especially some that you've had success and won championships with over the years. But it appears it was time to shake things up. Bill Bedenbaugh (defensive line) and Jerry Montgomery (offensive line) take over important positions this season, while Jay Boulware will upgrade the special teams. The next six weeks will be important to not only teach schemes but build relationships with new players.
Spring dates to watch
March 9: Opening day of spring practice
March 13: Pro day
April 13: Oklahoma spring game, 2 p.m.
Oklahoma's Trey Metoyer fights for the ball with Florida A&M's Devan Roberts last season. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World file