Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oklahoma Sooners 2010 Review

2010 Record: 12-2 (6-2), Tied 1st Big 12 south
2010 Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl, Defeated UConn 48-20
2010 Schedule/Results: Utah State, W 31-24, Florida State, W 47-17, Air Force, W 27-24, @ Cincinnati, W 31-29, Texas, W 28-20, Iowa State, W 52-0, @ Missouri, L 36-27, Colorado, W 43-10, @ Texas A&M, L 33-19, Texas Tech, W 45-7, @ Baylor, W 53-24, @ Oklahoma State, W 47-41, Nebraska, W 23-20, UConn, W 48-20


     If you composed a list of the nations best QBs, it would not be complete without Landry Jones being very much near the top. Jones came on the scene to take over for an injured Sam Bradford two season ago, and he has done nothing but win and succeed ever since. 2010 was no different for Jones, as he actually got better. Jones completed over 65% of his passes for 4718 yards and 38 TDs to just 12 picks in 405 attempts. He is a smart passer in a smart system, and is the perfect QB for what the Sooners do on offense. Jones ended the season by passing for 331 yards per game for the Sooners in a Big 12 title winning 12 win season.
     The Sooners will surely miss DeMarco Murray after the season that he had as a senior, but Oklahoma always reloads at the RB position. Murray was a beast in 2010, having rushed for a line of 282-1224-15. Murray's 15 TDs are an amazing feat when you consider how much Jones threw the football. Roy Finch and Brennan Clay will likely get their shots at taking over in 2011, as both recevied solid time as freshmen in 2010.
     When a receiver like Ryan Broyles says that he is returning for his senior season, as a fan, you get down on your knees and thank whatever God that you pray to. Broyles is one of the very best receivers in America, and if not for the exploits of one Justin Blackmon, may very well have been our Receiver of the Year. Broyles is simply off the hook as a receiver, as you cannot stop him, you can only hope to contain him. Most teams fail at that task. Broyles ran through everyone on the way to a line of 131-1622-14. With another season of Jones to Broyles, you will see nothing but more monster numbers in 2011.
     Kenny Stills was just a freshman in 2010, but you never would have guessed. Stills had a very strong first effort as a Sooner, having composed a line of 61-786-5. With number like these, one would have to think that when Broyles does move on, the Sooners will be just fine.
     James Hanna was a very nice safety outlet in the passing game at TE. Hanna only caught 18 passes all season, but 7 of those came for TDs on the year. I'll take that ratio any day. In all, 8 different Sooners caught TD passes in 2010.
     The line, rife with youth and inexperience two years ago, is now full of experience and talent. Both tackles (Donald Stephenson, Jarvis Jones) will be seniors in 2011, giving Jones experience and strong leadership at both of his bookends. There will be some competition at the guard spots, but again, there is depth, and so the line should be in prime shape to both block for Jones, and also to open some very nice holes for what will be a young stable of RBs.
     On defense, the Sooners certainly gave up some yardage in 2010 (363.9 yards per game). The Sooners gave up 151 yards per game on the ground, something that will have to be fixed if they want to be the Sooners of old once again. The Sooners also allowed 212.2 yards passing per game.
     The Sooners did boast two 100 tackle performers in 2010, with Travis Lewis (109) and Jonathon Nelson (101) hitting the mark. Nelson will be moving on now, so the Sooners will be working on finding a respectable replacement for him in the secondary. DB Quinton Carter just missed the mark, as he finished the season with an outstanding 97 tackles on the season.
     As is usually the case, the Sooners always find guys who are capable of making plays behind the line, and 2010 was no exception to the rule. Jeremy Beal was a regular visitor, with 19 TFLs on the season. Frank Alexander, who'll be back in 2011, was second on the team with 13.5, and Pryce Macon finished with 10. Macon and Beal are moving on, so the Sooners will have to find replacements for two highly productive D linemen in 2011. There are players on the roster capable, who have experience in the rotation, so that should not be problematic. Beal, Macon, and Alexander also led the team in sacks, with a total of 22 amongst the three.
     If there is one thing that you can say about the secondary, despite the yardage that they gave up, is that they are aggressive on the ball. Jamell Fleming and Demontre Hurst both finished with double digits in pass breakups in 2010. Fleming had 14 and Hurst had 11 on the season. Jeremy Beal, a lineman, had 7! Incredible! Tony Jefferson, a freshman, also contributed with 7 on the year. Fleming also led the team with 5 picks, one of which he took to the house. The freshman Jefferson and LB Ronnell Lewis, a sophomore, also each returned one for a score. If that tells you anything, it should tell you that the future is bright when you have youngsters getting it done like that.
     Jimmy Stevens and Patrick O'Hara both attempted FGs on the season, and Sooner fan has to be happy with what they got, and has to be even happier that both PKs return in 2011. Stevens was money on the season, as he nailed 19 of his 23 attempts. O'Hara hit 4 of 6 for a total of 23 of 29 on the season. Automatic points are guaranteed when the Sooners hit the redzone.
     Tress Way was a banger at punter. Way, a sophomore, was incredible, having averaged 44 yards per punt on the seasno. May I remind you that Way was only a sophomore. That means that he can actually get better. Think about it.
     When you think about how damn good Broyles is as a receiver, remember that he racked up a 7.88 yard average on punt returns, good for another 268 yards added to his already crazy totals. The Sooners will have to find replacements as KRs in 2011, as Mossis Madu and Murray are both moving on. Maybe another opportunity for Broyles, but he only returned two kicks in 2010, and you don't want to overly risk him to injury.


Oklahoma is more than a rival to Oklahoma State, they are a roadblock to winning the Big 12. OU will be one of the best teams in America in 2011. I don't put together a pre-season poll, but if I did, Oklahoma would be a very nice choice for #1 in the nation to start the 2011 season. Most of the key components are in place for a title run next season, and if replacement parts are found on the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners could dominate. 2010 had a couple of blips that ruined what could have been a masterful season, but 12 wins and a major bowl, with a Big 12 title to boot, are never bad things. Another fantastic season in Sooner history.

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