ANALYSIS: Red-White spring game sheds light on question mark positions
Evin Morrison, The Oklahoma Daily
The annual Red-White Game — which the White team won, 28-24 — is the only chance fans get to see the progress the Sooners have made in the offseason. The quarterbacks put their talents on full display as a crowd of more than 20,000 watched the battle that has been going on all spring.
Some question marks were filled, and some only raised more questions. In reality, this is only one scrimmage, but here’s a breakdown of what we learned from the spring game:
Quarterback: While coaches remain tight-lipped about the quarterbacks’ progress, it seemed junior Blake Bell emerged from the Spring Game as a front-runner. There were concerns that his arm was not as strong as his legs, but he dispelled any of those fears. Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight made the only fumble of the afternoon, which sophomore linebacker Frank Shannon took in for a touchdown. But Knight quickly recovered and settled down on his next possession. Sophomore Kendal Thompson impressed with his legs — all three did, really — but Thompson did nothing to separate himself from the pack. Bell’s game time experience may help him eliminate costly mistakes, and, in turn, eventually name him the starter.
Running Back: Roy Finch had another impressive spring game, and coaches remain hopeful he has matured enough to get serious playing time this season. Redshirt freshman David Smith also played significant minutes and should enter the running back committee in August. Seniors Damien Williams and Brennan Clay saw few snaps Saturday and will get serious minutes this season.
Receiver: A year ago, sophomore Trey Metoyer lit up the field during the Spring Game. Once the season came along, those expectations took a toll on him and he didn’t produce at a high level — he was lost his starting position after four games. Saturday, Metoyer looked like he could have a productive season in front of him — if he stays focused. Coach Bob Stoops also said Lacoltan Bester has had an impressive spring and was able to show off his skills. Senior Jaz Reynolds saw some playing time as well and could be an excellent weapon on the outside. These guys all have a chance to join sophomore Sterling Shepard and senior Jalen Saunders this season.
Defensive Line: Junior Chuka Ndulue has added some weight and moved over to defensive end to help fill the hole David King left when he graduated. So far, Ndulue has had an excellent spring, and the move seems to be a fit. Overall, the line held up well, and Stoops seemed pleased with the pressure it got on the quarterbacks.
Secondary: This offseason saw the departures of Tony Jefferson and Demontre Hurst, and the secondary looked to fill a lot of question marks. Senior Aaron Colvin didn’t play, but Arizona transfer Cortez Johnson played well. Both Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops said Johnson has had a strong spring and are excited about what his career here could hold. In addition, senior Gabe Lynn and junior Julian Wilson have proven themselves already, and junior Quentin Hayes could fill in the secondary nicely.
Linebackers: Shannon has had an impressive spring, Bob Stoops said, and he had several opportunities to show his growth. Most impressively, he returned a fumble by Knight two yards for a touchdown. However, Mike Stoops said he expected more from his linebackers in regards to the run game. He added in another linebacker this offseason to help. That will be something to work on once summer practice rolls around.