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New QB And Improved Defense Keys For Oklahoma
May 12, 2013
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent


2012 record: 10-3, 8-1 in Big 12, lost Cotton Bowl.

Returning starters: Offense: 7; defense: 4; kicker/punter: 1

Top players returning: RB Damien Williams, FB Trey Millard, WR Jalen Saunders, WR Sterling Shepard, C Gabe Ikard, DE/DT Chuka Ndulue, LB Corey Nelson, CB Aaron Colvin, QB Blake Bell, WR Trey Metoyer.

Need replacing: QB Landry Jones, WR Justin Brown, WR Kenny Stills, OT Lane Johnson, DE David King, CB Demontre Hurst, FS Tony Jefferson, SS Javon Harris.

In Review
Stable. Productive. Successful.

Those are three of the words that can be used to describe Oklahoma with Bob Stoops as the school's football coach. Even though the Sooners won eight consecutive Big 12 games to finish tied for first with Kansas State, they again fell short of being in the run for the national championship.

That led to some rare changes on the coaching staff. Spring football involved not only finding some new play makers on offense and improving the defense, OU also was breaking in three new assistant coaches.

With record-setting Landry Jones moving to the NFL, the Sooners will have a new quarterback next season. Junior Blake Bell appears to be the front runner, but Stoops has yet to name a starter. Whoever takes over at QB, it appears he'll have a number of talented receivers and running backs at his disposal.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops tried to counter the Big 12's pass-happy attacks by loading up in the secondary at the expense of keeping linebackers on the bench. That strategy didn't work. Oklahoma worked on a more traditional alignment but the emphasis is to get more negative plays from the front four while finding linebackers that can stop the run while helping in pass coverage.

Quick Slants
Oklahoma hopes that fans will quickly learn the name of Cortez Johnson. A transfer from Arizona (where he played for current OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops), Johnson took over the cornerback spot that was vacant opposite All-American candidate Aaron Colvin. That duo could be among the Big 12's best.

A year ago, the spring practice buzz revolved around freshman wide receiver Trey Metoyer. While he failed to have an impact during his first season, word is that promise could be fulfilled this season. And this spring, another early enrollee freshman wowed the OU coaches. Dannon Cavil, a 6-5, 205-pound receiver, could add another dimension to an already talented group of receivers.

Trey Franks was suspended last season. He returned to this field this spring playing a new position. He has moved from receiver to safety and during the spring game he made seven tackles and was credited with two pass breakups. If he continues to adjust to playing defense, Franks could help at a position where there's not much depth.

Coach Bob Stoops on ...
OU fans unhappy with not contending for the national title:
"Our people here are bored with winning the Big 12 championship. But ask the other (nine) teams if they wouldn't like to have eight of them. I'm not complaining. I get it. I expect more. I want the national championship. In the years we don't, I don't like it either. Realistically, too, the other parts of it are pretty solid and good. Not many other people are doing it."

Having three mobile quarterbacks competing for the starting job:
"I'm pleased with it. That's something that always can help you. It adds a dimension to your passing game. It adds a dimension to your run game. It's definitely something all these guys can run, that will give us a few wrinkles and will give us a different dimension we haven't had a lot of."

Sophomore receiver Trey Metoyer:

"I see a guy that's more sure of himself, that has been more consistent in practice and in everything that we're doing," he said. "I just feel like he has a better grasp of everything we're asking him to do now than he had then."

2013 Schedule
Aug. 31 Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 7 West Virginia*
Sept. 14 Tulsa
Sept. 28 at Notre Dame*
Oct. 5 TCU*
Oct. 12 Texas* (Dallas)
Oct. 19 at Kansas*
Oct. 26 Texas Tech*
Nov. 7 at Baylor*
Nov. 16 Iowa State*
Nov. 23 at Kansas State*
Dec. 7 at Oklahoma State*
* - Conference game.
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