2012 Program Preview - Oklahoma

Boomer. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

John Blake used to be the head coach of Oklahoma.

Ok. Stinging jokes aside, OU's a program in fine standing. Sure, they fell from first overall in the preseason rankings to the mid-teens by season's end last year. But consider that they were ranked first to begin with. Consider that they've won three bowl games in a row. Consider that the last bowl game they lost was the BCS Championship.

OU hopes to grow on those past three bowl wins this year. QB Landry Jones opted to return to Norman. WR Kenny Stills joins him along with unit-mate (I can say that, right?) Trey Metoyer. The defense is stout. The question is if they can win the tough games to set them up for the late season run they haven't gotten to in recent years.

In 2009, QB Sam Bradford injured his shoulder against BYU and didn't recover by the final whistle. They wandered through that season with close losses to Miami, Nebraska and most notably Texas (to say nothing of the Texas Tech beatdown). A year later, midseason losses to Missouri and Texas A&M derailed any national hopes. Of course last year, it was the shock loss to Texas Tech, the RGIII-fueled loss to Baylor and an, "Oh, jeez, I'm really tired. You guys take this one," loss in the Bedlam game to close the regular season. It was the first time OSU had beaten the Sooners in nine years.

So what? So OU is good. They're always good. And they're good this year.

After the jump, the prospects worth noting as well as some games and matchups to pencil into your calendar.

References

Crimson and Cream Machine (SB Nation Oklahoma community), SB Nation team page, official team site, Bill Connelly's preview for SBN, CBS Sports preview

Notable offensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
Landry Jones
QB
RS Sr.
2
Tyler Evans G
Sr.
7 (injured - will miss the season due to ACL tear)
Dominique Whaley
RB
Sr.
UD (coming off serious ankle injury in 2011)
Kenny Stills
WR
Jr.
2
Gabe Ikard
G
RS Jr.
4
Roy Finch
RB
Jr.
UD
Gabe Lynn
CB
RS Jr.
UD


Notable defensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
Demontre Hurst
CB
Sr.
5
Javon Harris
S
Sr. 7
Jamarkus McFarland
DT
Sr. UD
Stacy McGee
DT
RS Sr. UD
R.J. Washington
DE
RS Sr. UD
David King DE
RS Sr. UD
Casey Walker DT
RS Sr. UD
Tony Jefferson
FS
Jr.
2
Tom Wort
MLB
RS Jr.
3
Corey Nelson
OLB
Jr.
5
Aaron Colvin
CB
Jr.
6
Lane Johnson
OT
RS Jr.
UD


Summary

It's Oklahoma. No matter what NFL team you're following, you want to keep an eye on the Sooners all year. It's that simple.

Key games

Texas (home*) - Week 7 (Sat., Oct. 13 - TBD)

Still the Red River Shootout to me. College football at its best.

Oklahoma St. (home) - Week 13 (Sat., Nov. 24 - TBD)

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE BEDLAM WHEEEEEEEEEEEE. Oh, I need to say something insightful here? Uh, OU lost by 34 last year. They will likely be interested in not doing that this year. Does that count? No? Oh well. Let's just move along.

Key matchups

WR Kenny Stills v. Texas CB Carrington Byndom, Week 7 - Sat., Oct. 13

I seem to be a bit higher on Stills than most and a bit lower on Byndom. Regardless, most would agree that if they declare (both still have a year of eligibility), they'll be drafted. This game will help clarify when.

CB Demontre Hurst v. TCU WR Josh Boyce, Week 14 - Sat., Dec. 1

Similarly, Hurst and Boyce are NFL-bound themselves. Hurst makes sense as a matchup on Boyce with Aaron Colvin and Lamar Harris available to cover TCU's taller receivers.

I'm sure this will be a very friendly game as OU heads to Ft. Worth to lovingly accept the Horned Frogs into the warmth and comfort of the Big XII. BFFs, and all that.

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